Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 6

Making Better Magic Systems

Get Real One essential part of making better magic systems is giving real imagery to the reader without telling them what to see. Very often I will read stories where the author describes a magic spell like this: “As soon as he entered the room, Kyla felt the powerful magic. She reached out with her […]

Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 5

Making Better Magic Systems Lesson 5

Spellcasting Catastrophes When you create a magic system, you want it to be clean and concise, right? You want it to be simple and foolproof. That’s human nature. It’s also 100 percent wrong! Making better magic systems requires more rules. Many new authors forget to establish rules about how magic spells are cast. In developing […]

Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 4

Making Better Magic Systems

The Wellspring of Magic When you create a magic system, you have to consider the source of your magic. Very often, the source of the magic and the price of the magic are bound together, but not necessarily. Making better magic systems requires sources. In looking at magic systems around the globe, you will start […]

Making Magic Systems Better, Lesson 3

Making Magic Systems Better

The High Price of Magic Everything in life carries a price. It’s a law so universally understood that we feel it in our bones. Yet when we deal with fiction, some writers forget to consider the high price of magic and magic systems. The renowned author Nancy Kress has pointed out that a defining moment […]

Making Magic Systems Better, Lesson 2

making better magic systems lesson 2

View previous lesson In the last lesson, I pointed out that most magic systems tend to be rather stale, that they don’t create a sense of wonder. We typically only encounter a strong sense of wonder when we come upon something new. In fact, wonder comes when we find ourselves in a strange situation and […]

Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 1

making better magic systems lesson 1

The most popular books and movies of all time all have one thing in common: They transport audiences better than other books and movies in their genre. Usually, as in films like Avatar or books like Lord of the Rings or Dune, the tale transports you into another time and place. But the tale also transports its audience emotionally. In short, whatever emotion […]

Appealing to the Senses, Part 3

appeal to the senses writing book

Click here for part 1 and here for part 2. For the last couple of articles I’ve been talking about how to make your story come alive by appealing to the reader’s senses, by “showing, not telling.” I pointed out that the human body has several different ways of sensing and reacting to the world. We’re […]

Creating Likeable Protagonists

Developing a Story's Protagonist

In Hollywood, it is said that “There are only two ways to make a likeable character.” Here are those two ways to help you with creating likable protagonists, plus a few more.

How to Start Off a Story

The first scene can be anything—a funny incident that introduces one of your protagonists, or perhaps an argument that leaves your reader shocked.  Maybe you’ll write a scene that will leave your reader admiring your protagonist and cheering for her, or perhaps you’ll introduce your tale with a gruesome murder that will leave the reader horrified but burning with intrigue. 

10 Tips for Bringing a Scene to Life (2020 update)

Years ago, I wrote an article on bringing a scene to life—and then I did an exercise based upon my own article.  Here are the bare bones of that article. These are techniques and 10 “Tips for Bringing a Scene to Life”   1. Use “Resonators” Especially at the beginning of a tale, use “resonators” […]