Writing Diversity

Hi, guys!

So, I read a book recently that was meant to feature an empowering female lead and be LGBT friendly and such.

But it was pretty mishandled.

The female lead did want equality for women, but she was also…a manipulative, scheming, murderous bitch. Not exactly a role model, by any means.

100% it was written through the perspective of a villain. Which is cool. It was interesting enough for me to finish it.

But in a Q&A, the author said she wanted it to empower women. Seducing a man with the intent to take everything he has…That’s no role model.

That’s a bitch.

And the LGBT aspect consisted of one side character with very few speaking parts, but every time he danced with a guy, it was pointed out as if to say, “Hey, look, I’m inclusive.”

And it kinda breaks the world a bit because it’s set in a society VERY similar to Victorian England.

Two dudes dancing probably wasn’t gonna happen.

Now, I’m all for writing diversity into your books. Characters with the goal of equality are great.

But DON’T shoehorn diversity in for the sake of patting yourself on the back for being inclusive.

That ain’t how it works, my dudes.

If you do that, it will be obvious, and it will not make you look like a hero.

You want to know how to properly write diversity?

Write people.

That’s it.

It’s that goddamn simple.

Look at the world you’ve built. Look at their individual backstories. Look at their cultures. Shape each character as an individual within that culture with those experiences.

Don’t rely on stereotypes. Just write people.

Diversity will come naturally if you do that.

Honor the setting if it’s historical.

If your story takes place in medieval Scotland, don’t drop one Asian guy in there with no reasonable explanation and call yourself inclusive. If it’s set in Victorian England, don’t drop one flamboyant gay guy in there and pat yourself on the back.

If it’s a fantasy setting wherein everyone is seen as equal, then those things that tend to divide us should hold no bearing over their personality, whatsoever. Their experiences would shape them far more than the color of their skin or who they go to bed with.

If it’s set in a place where there is a lot of division, still don’t go to stereotypes. Build a person.

Think about what you’re writing and the way those characters interact with the world you’ve built.

Maybe the division in their land made them more defiant or more repressed, more prideful or more self-conscious. It isn’t going to guarantee they act one specific way.

Just write people.

Period.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Why You Should Let Your Readers Use Their Imagination

Hi, guys!

I was talking with a friend a couple days ago about 2 sentence horror stories. I don’t know if you’ve looked any up, but there are some really good ones out there.

And they are absolutely beautiful in their simplicity.

Because sometimes, it isn’t so much what’s said as what isn’t said. It lets the reader’s mind fill in the gaps with all sorts of horrors, personalizing it to fit their individual fears.

But simplicity shouldn’t be reserved for 2 sentence horror stories.

We don’t live in the Edwardian times, anymore.

You can write like that if you want, of course, supplying the reader with literally every detail of every object within sight. You can use an absolutely overwhelming amount of descriptors to tell your readers the exact curvature of a sphere.

But do you have to?

No.

Should you always do that?

No.

Certain scenes demand a simpler, less detailed account. (Fight scenes, sex scenes, transitional scenes which just show the passage of time, etc.)

Personally, I prefer books that don’t beat me to death with the color of the throw pillows or the shape of each doily (complete with the pattern and the type of stitch most commonly used to attain that pattern).

I like fast-paced books that let me fill in the decorations with my own imagination. It’s certainly active enough to supply the details.

Character development and plot are far more important to me than the number of freckles on a person’s face.

Because that little bit of personalization, that little bit that’s different for every reader is part of the magic.

There’s the magic of sharing an entire world that you’ve created with other people. And there’s the magic of that world meaning something different to each person that enters it.

That makes it more real.

We don’t notice every detail of every object in our lives. Why the fuck would our characters?

Why should the reader?

Let them get tunnel vision when the book draws them in. Let them get so wrapped up in a climactic scene that the background becomes just that… background.

Now, as for my own work, I’ve been reading through what I have of The Regonia Chronicles to reacquaint myself with the characters. And it’s shown me just how much I’ve learned, even just in the last couple of years.

Don’t get me wrong, I still absolutely love the story and the characters.

But I’m gonna have a lot of editing to do. Lol.

I’ve also been prepping some cover reveal stuff for A Heart of Salt & Silver and finalizing the map. I’ll be moving on to formatting, soon.

Which means I’ll be announcing a release date, soon!

Subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the big announcements (or the upcoming giveaway).

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Rites and Rituals in Fiction

Hi, guys!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you likely saw my post about which rites or rituals are in my upcoming dark supernatural high fantasy romance, A Heart of Salt & Silver.

There are quite a few in there, and it was so much fun to write them.

But rites and rituals are more than just fun to write.

They’re major worldbuilding tools, and deserve proper attention from writers. You can’t just write a pretty ceremony or a dark, broody ritual and not pay attention to the context.

These things have bigger implications for the world, the characters, and the plot than just being some party they go to.

Rites and rituals say a lot about the culture they exist within. You can learn a lot about a group of people by studying how they mourn, how they celebrate, what they mourn, and what they celebrate. That shows you what that group of people values.

You should also pay attention to what kind of ceremony is held and how much of a commotion they make about it.

So, let’s say your book includes a wedding (or whatever you call it in your fictional universe). The level of pomp and circumstance put into that ceremony can show the role those domestic partnerships play in their society.

If it’s pivotal to their culture, the entire village might turn out for the big ceremony. If marriage is seen as more of a merger of power and wealth, the decorations and the food and the finery will likely take center stage.

In The Regonia Chronicles, Daen Tribe partnering ceremonies include a lot of singing. They honor their ancestors, the Drennar, with their voices. Singing pervades nearly every aspect of their life. So naturally, it’s part of every rite and ritual.

They wear special headdresses made with antlers and local flowers, showing reverence for nature.

They get new tattoos done in a vibrant shade of blue, the same shade of blue that decorated their ancestors’ skin (you know, before the last of the Drennar died out from a mysterious illness contracted while exploring the deep recesses of space, leaving Daen tribe to its own devices on Regonia).

Their relationships are very important to them, and divorce is not a thing for them. As such, the tattoo for their partnering ceremony is VERY large, so much so that the specific location where the tattoo is placed can only fit one.

So, just showing a partnering ceremony tells A LOT about their culture.

Now, you can get deep into the details during the planning stage (if you plan) or while writing. You can go into the symbolism behind each color and how those colors came to mean those things.

You can fill a summoning ceremony with lore, telling your reader which gods or demons or creatures are more receptive to the pleas of mortals.

You can plan out each and every possible symbolic meaning for each piece of plant or animal matter used in a ritual sacrifice, whether all that detail finds its way into the final draft or not.

But be careful, despite how important these rites and rituals are.

If you tend to procrastinate, this has the potential to swallow you. And at some point, you have to write the story.

And on that note…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

The Importance of Emotion: A Book Rant

Hi, guys!

It’s happened. I’ve fallen into a reading slump. It happens to every reader and writer at some point.

I’ve made it halfway into a book and just…lost interest.

But since I’ve been spending so much time analyzing my own writing lately, I was able to pinpoint exactly what made me lost interest.

Lack of emotion.

The book in particular (which I won’t name here) has tremendous world building, and a lot of it. But I’m not connecting with any of the characters on an emotional level, largely because the emotions aren’t the focus.

The author chose to focus more on showcasing the history of the world they built and the reason everything is the way it is and explanations of their gods and the pathways that characters walk and…all these other things that should take a back seat to the actual story.

It may very well build to something amazing, but if readers lose interest before they ever reach that amazing thing, then all the build up is for naught.

And don’t get me wrong. There were a couple really good, emotional scenes, but how far can just a couple of emotional scenes carry a reader?

For a story to be interesting, you need stakes. You need something on the line and a reason for the character to want it.

The overwhelming majority of the time, that means emotions are involved.

It doesn’t have to be some grand scale thing, some major adventure to be interesting. You don’t have to traverse multiple worlds to tell an interesting story. Hell, it can be the most basic premise in the world.

The thing that most often compels people to keep reading is emotion.

Okay, I’ll stop talking in circles and give you an example.

If I just say “Mary walked up the stairs in her Victorian home, old bones creaking as loudly as the wood she trod upon,” it might pique your interest.

But there’s nothing at stake. There’s no emotion to pull you in, just a potentially interesting setting.

She’s just some old biddy walking up the stairs.

But if i describe her desperation, describe the tears flooding the wrinkles on her face as she pushes herself up the stairs with all her might, if I show the pictures of her late husband on the wall, the husband she bought and remodeled that home with, if I tell you about the threat of the nursing home looming on the horizon, waiting for the day she can’t make it up those stairs to her bedroom…

If I show you the picture of her wedding day waiting for her on a little table on the landing to greet her, if she reaches out a hand and touches that picture and says, “I can stay with you one more day, love…”

That emotion MAKES the story.

It’s still just a story of one woman climbing the stairs.

But it has stakes. It hits you right in the feels.

And that is what keeps people reading.

At least, in my case.

That’s why my books are so emotional, because that’s what I look for in a book.

Yeah, they have adventure and usually magic and world building (I tend to write epic high fantasy romance, after all). But the emotion is what makes the story.

It’s that little thing that makes the characters, and thus the story, real.

Never underestimate the power of emotion in books. It can be the difference between a mediocre book and one that absolutely blows people away.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Writing self-sabotaging characters

Hi, guys!

Last week, I talked about writing believable romance and compelling chemistry, exploring the things that might draw two people together.

But if one of the people involved tends toward self-sabotage, the normal conventions no longer apply and relationships tend toward… dysfunctional.

If you’re writing a self-sabotaging character, it isn’t enough to just put them in a bad relationship. You need to understand why they’re there, so you can write them, and the ensuing relationship, accurately.

There are several types of people who do this. People who fear change and sabotage opportunities to prevent change. People who want to make others feel better about themselves.

And the most common, which is the one we’ll be talking about today, people with catastrophically low self-esteem.

People who genuinely hate themselves or feel intrinsically broken, perhaps due to trauma or a broken home or depression/anxiety, aren’t likely to look for someone who would be good for them. There’s a reason so many people end up in shitty, abusive relationships.

They don’t value themselves worth the effort of improvement or worth taking a good person off the market. They probably don’t even realize what they’re doing to themselves, but they’re seeking the shitty treatment they think they deserve.

At such a low point, something small might be enough to draw them in. Attention of any kind from someone who has even one quality they like, even something small like an outgoing nature, a cool tattoo, or good fashion sense, might be enough to draw them in.

Why?

Because they’re surprised they got attention or compassion from anyone.

And since they’re getting attention from someone, which is more than they think they deserve to begin with, they overlook glaring faults (drug abuse, cheating, domestic abuse, etc.) with ease. There’s a good chance they’ll internalize all of that, blaming themselves for their partner’s philandering or the abuse.

They’re likely to push good people away and seek out shitheads. Meeting someone good isn’t going to magically fix them or show them that they deserve happiness.

Until they learn to value themselves (which takes a hell of a lot of time and work), they won’t seek a functional relationship.

And that may very well be their downfall.

These characters can be absolutely heartbreaking to write, partly because it’s all too real. Far too many people destroy their own chances at happiness simply because they don’t believe themselves worthy of it.

So, if you decide to write one of these characters, keep these things in mind. It will be one hell of a journey, with a lot of time spent in darkness.

Now, on to the progress report. I’ve come to realize that Second to None may end up being a novella. I tend to write far shorter than the average length, regardless of genre. I write very punchy stories, sparing very little time for fluff.

I use my characters to build my world and vice versa, something I explained in a previous blog, which I’ll link below. (Ignore the progress report at the end of that one, because so much has happened since then that it’s irrelevant.)

Now, fantasy tends toward an average of 110,000 words (roughly), but mine lean toward an average of 70,000 or 80,000. Thrillers tend to be about 70,000 words.

So, with my writing style, I expect Second to None to total around 40,000 words. I’m currently sitting at about 7,500 words.

I’ve also made some strides toward releasing A Heart of Salt & Silver, and I’ve been reveling in the recent release of World for the Broken. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, it’s available wherever books are sold. (Amazon link: mybook.to/WorldForTheBroken )

For now, I’m going to keep working away on editing Allmother Rising and writing Second to None.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

P.S.- Here’s the link for the blog explaining the concept of using your world to build your characters and using characters to build the world.

Writing Compelling Chemistry

Hi, guys!

As you all likely know (since you’re here), I like writing romance into my books. It just makes a book feel more… well-rounded. After all, the vast majority of people want companionship, even in the most trying times.

Hell, especially in trying times.

But writing romance isn’t as simple as just throwing two attractive characters together and writing a scene with them kissing. That works for a one-off sex scene or a continuing, strictly sexual relationship.

But if you’re writing romance, chemistry is important.

There needs to be a reason for them to get together. Something has to draw them together.

So, today we’re discussing how to write good (aka believable) romance.

It all comes down to your characters and their personalities. (Yeah! More psych stuff!)

To write truly good chemistry, you have to know what your character is looking for in a partner.

And a lot of that comes down to what people think of themselves.

People have a tendency to seek out people who embody qualities they either like about themselves or wish they possessed.

An introvert who’s tired of always failing to reach out might like an extrovert because they admire that outgoing spirit and wish they could be more like them. Or if they’re sick of being pressured to go out and do more social things, they might like a fellow introvert because they understand the desire to stay in or the social anxiety and the overthinking that plagues them.

Extroverts might flock to other extroverts so they can go party all the time with a kindred spirit. Or if they’re starting to feel reckless and foolhardy, they might seek someone more reserved as a sort of balancing act. Maybe they admire the thoughtful nature of someone who spends all their time thinking through all the possible outcomes of every situation.

So, you’ll need to analyze the personalities of your characters. What do they like about themselves? What do they hate about themselves? Drop them in a room with someone who embodies the former and stands in contrast to the latter, and they’ll probably feel a spark.

But there’s more to it than that. That initial spark only goes so far. We’re capable of analyzing ourselves and our motives, as well as the motives of others.

Which complicates things.

To a degree, most people look for someone with similar values. At least, when it comes to the things that are most important to them.

The vast majority of people don’t want to spend all their time arguing with their partner.

If they’re a passionate rebel who genuinely hates the leaders of the realm, they probably won’t fall for the leader of the realm.

They might, but it’s going to come down to some SERIOUS character development, plot lines, and world building to overcome something like that. (Maybe the leader is being blackmailed, maybe they’re being controlled via magic, maybe they just don’t know the effects their actions are having on their people and come around to the cause after learning about it. Maybe the rebel learns that the leader is justified in their actions, sparing the people some greater hardship that they just aren’t aware of until they get close to the leader.)

Similarly, a devout, evangelical christian probably isn’t going to fall in love with an atheist who openly looks down on religious folks. They might. But it’s going to take some serious work on your part to write them together.

But all bets are off when it comes to self-sabotage.

And since that leaves the realm of chemistry and romance, I’ll leave that for next week.

Now, if you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been making shit tons of progress since getting laid off work.

A Heart of Salt & Silver is off for proofreading, and I been designing merch for it. I started another round of edits on Allmother Rising and started writing a dark romantic thriller this week. I have the prologue and a couple chapters written.

And even though I thought I knew the general premise of the entire story, the characters are developing a little differently than expected. As per usual.

But that just keeps it interesting.

Come back next week for another update and for some tidbits about writing a self-sabotaging character. Follow me on social media (links below) for more updates, memes, and cat pictures.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

How To Write Morally Grey Characters

Hi, guys!

Last week, we talked about unreliable narrators, which are an absolute joy to write. This week, we’re talking about another fun one. Morally grey characters.

People who do bad things for good reasons. People whose actions you might hate, but whose motives…you completely understand.

These characters might make you squirm a bit. They might show you a darker side of yourself. They show you things that you might have the potential to do if pushed just enough.

Vigilantes rank pretty fucking high on this list, as do angels of death (doctors or nurses killing patients that have no quality of life).

An angel of death might have heard her patients wishing for death. She might hate the constraints of their particular government holding those patients back from the euthanasia they wish for.

Eco terrorists fully believe in their cause when they blow up pipelines. They don’t want nature to take any more hits because of our burgeoning society.

Hell, one of the most recognizable characters in literature and theatre is a morally grey character. Ever heard of Robin Hood? I bet you have. He steals all the goddamn time, but because he’s stealing from corrupt, rich people and giving it to poor people, that makes us all see him as the hero.

But he’s still a thief. He’s just a thief with a code.

In my novella, Annabelle, I explore this exact thing, this criminal with a code. Annabelle is a vigilante, but her motives are pretty hard to argue with. The resulting novella is pure catharsis, because she does the terrible, terrible things so many of us have wished to do.

I mean, she kills rapists.

And while murder isn’t something we typically condone, that motive, that drive is hard to argue with.

It puts the reader into a morally grey area where they struggle to see someone who is obviously doing something bad…as a bad person.

And the biggest thing you need to remember to write that type of character successfully is that they do not see their actions as evil.

They one hundred percent believe in their cause.

If they’ve been pushed far enough to do something like this, there likely won’t be much doubt left in their mind that this is the right thing for them to do. Even if they fully acknowledge the fact that others might disagree. They likely think those who disagree are uninformed or blind. They may think their opposition terrible and evil.

But they don’t see themselves as bad.

They probably see themselves as a hero, as a person doing something that needs done.

That mindset will shape their life.

It will shape their relationships.

If they’re charismatic, they might pull people to their cause. If not, they might have a huge secret, something that keeps them slinking through shadows in the middle of the night and distancing themselves from others during the day. If they’re egotistical, they might look down on anyone who disagrees, which would put a LOT of strain on personal relationships with anyone who isn’t an absolute fanatic for their particular brand of morality.

But there will be decidedly little internal conflict over committing whatever terrible acts your particular morally grey character is into.

If you’re curious about Annabelle or just want an example, the novella is available on Amazon (free in Kindle Unlimited) at this link:

http://mybook.to/AnnabelleElexisBell

Now, to catch you up on my latest projects.

I’ve officially finished the first round of edits on Allmother Rising, and it’s now sitting on the back burner so I can come back for another round with fresh eyes. Then, it’ll be going to beta readers.

I also finished the last round of my edits on my dark supernatural high fantasy romance, A Heart of Salt & Silver! It goes off for proofreading this week, and then I’ll be moving forward to formatting.

All told, I’m looking to have this one out later this year, so I’ll begin introducing the characters soon. Which I’m fucking excited for. Ness, Nolan, and Elias make a fucking mess of themselves, despite the fact that two of three are total badasses. Lol.

But for now, it’s time to dive into writing another book. And this one’s going to be a thriller….

Mwahahahahahahaha.

But I’m torn. I have two story options. One is partially written from years ago, the other is brand new.

At any rate, I’ll dive into one of them tonight.

Now, go forth.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Writing an Unreliable Narrator

Hi, guys!

Today, we’re talking about something that can be really fun to write.

Unreliable narrators.

They can lead a reader down a pretty wild path, and they’re not terribly difficult to write as long as you stick to their personality. You can write them in just about any style, whether you write as if an outside source is telling the story or from the perspective of a character.

Personally, I prefer first person, present tense, which drops you right into the mind of the main character. Everything is seen through their eyes, experienced through the lens through which they view the world.

And if you strive for any level of realism, your characters, much like real people, will NOT see themselves 100% accurately. Whether they have low self-esteem or are overly cocky, whether they have body dysmorphia or Stockholm syndrome, depression or maybe they’re just your average Joe…

They almost certainly are not perfectly self-aware.

On average, people rank themselves as being above average. Which is statistically impossible.

And yet, we all have something, some little thing we hate about ourselves that we focus on way too much and try to overcompensate for.

We all have some strange little thing that we learned in childhood that we thought was just… how everyone did things. And we don’t even think twice about it until we meet someone who has no idea what the fuck we’re talking about.

And if your characters are realistic, they’ll have all these little quirks, too.

Much like real people, their perception of themselves colors how they see the world, making their view of the world rather skewed, as well.

Which is where we get unreliable narrators.

Some personal bias they hold casts shadows on certain things, painting them as terrible or perhaps ignoring them completely, while putting too much praise on other things.

Maybe the character is racist, and they describe people with negative or positive traits depending on their race, regardless of the truth.

Maybe your character grew up rich in a happy home, and now, they don’t see any of the problems in their world until some other character pulls the blinders off and forces them to see their actions and their world for what it is.

I won’t say what story this character is in because spoilers (hell, I’m not even going to tell you their gender), but I’ve written one with full-on Stockholm syndrome. It shapes their entire perception of themselves, their world, their religion, their peers. Literally everything is shaded by this veil over their eyes, and it takes the entire story for them to see the truth.

In order to pull off an unreliable narrator, you have to dive deep into their mind. You have to stick to your guns and write everything how they would see it, not how it actually is. You have to know how it actually is, as the writer, then write it how that character would see it.

Only when that “Ah-Ha” moment hits do you really show the world and the character for what it is. Then, the reader can think back over it, and see what actually happened and how things were actually going down.

You need to find a balance with the details you put in before that eureka moment, though. There needs to be enough accurate detail for the reader to see it properly later on, but not so much that it stands out like a sore thumb at the time.

Beta readers, critique partners, and editors can help with finding that perfect balance.

And so can studying psychology.

The mind is a maze laced with mines, dead ends, and trap doors. It holds pitfalls and skylights placed directly under the balcony of someone else’s apartment, blocking the light. Its full to the brim with steep descents and hairpin turns.

Memories, constantly relived or questioned by others, can be shifted and tweaked. Things lie forgotten in our past.

It’s a mess.

And it paints a mess across the entire world.

Personal bias makes us all a little unreliable, so it makes sense for a narrator to be unreliable, as well. And it can make for a hell of a twist in a book.

So, have fun with it. Write a character that doesn’t see the world accurately every now and then.

Now, as for what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been getting so much done while I’ve been laid off from work. I finished writing Allmother Rising, finished a round of edits on Where Darkness Leads, and did a complete round of edits on A Heart of Salt & Silver. I’m almost through the first round of edits for Allmother Rising, and I just started the last round of edits on A Heart of Salt & Silver this past weekend. It goes off for proofreading next month.

I also got a finalized design for the cover for A Heart of Salt & Silver, which is super exciting. I have to adjust the size of it after formatting the manuscript for trims sizes and all that, but the design is done.

And if you somehow didn’t see it, World for the Broken is officially out, now! As of last Tuesday, it’s out there for you all to read. You can order it wherever books are sold, but here’s the Amazon link:

mybook.to/WorldForTheBroken

Anyway, it’s time for even more editing. : )

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Treat yo’self

Hi, guys!

If you follow me on social media, you know that, as of a couple days ago, I finished writing Allmother Rising! This one took just under 4 and a half months (126 days, but short ass February fucked up the months.) It’s freaking amazing to have another book under my belt.

But the thing with finishing a first draft is that…there’s the initial lull of “what now?” that follows (quite similar to a book hangover when reading) and then there’s all the editing and the formatting and the cover design and then the metadata and the copyright and all that other stuff that needs done next.

But.

It’s important to take a second to appreciate the gravity of what’s just been accomplished, whether it’s your first book or your thirtieth book.

Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, still.

But people, events, worlds (if you write fantasy or science fiction) have just been created out of literal thin air. Synapses fired in your brain, and you moved your fingers over a keyboard, and magically, ideas and entire fictional lives exist.

And that is a magnificent thing deserving of celebration.

Normally, whenever I finish a book, my husband and I go out to eat to celebrate. I’m not sure if you’ve taken a look at the world lately, but that isn’t an option.

So, a massive, juicy grilled steak, grilled corn on the cob, and asparagus with a cold can of soda and Community playing on tv was the celebration this time around.

But that’s me.

I’m a major fan of red meat, specifically steak, so that’s a pretty special thing for me.

You can have cake or treat yourself to a new book. Buy yourself something special or take an extra long bubble bath (with salts and candles and bath bombs galore).

The point is, take a second to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Look at what you’ve done and give yourself credit for it.

Celebrate where you’re at and how far you’ve come, regardless of how far you still have to go.

Because you’re doing things. And, to paraphrase John Mulaney, it’s so much easier to not do things.

For all of you out there kicking ass during Camp NaNoWriMo, celebrate the fact that you’re doing something with your time that most people only ever talk about. Everyone says they want to write a book, many say they could write a book if they ever had the time (which frustrates me to no end, and I did a whole blog about having time, link below if you’re interested).

But you’re actually doing it.

You’re not just talk. You’re not a hack or a poser.

You’re writing a goddamn book.

Soak it in. Really appreciate that. Because it’s huge.

Celebrate this, you magnificent do-er of things.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

(Ignore the progress updates in the linked blog below, because both those books are already published. Lol.)

Making magic: Things to think about when building a magic system

Hi, guys!

Now, if you’ve been following along, you know I like fantasy books. Give me a book with very little tech and a shit ton of magic, and I’ll eat it up.

But writing them can be tough. Magic systems can be taxing to put together.

So, to help you build a complex, SOLID magic system, I have a few things for you to consider.

First and foremost, does it have limits? What can magic be used for…and what can it not be used for?

Can it heal? Can it kill? Do people use it to manipulate time or elements? Can they summon things or people? Can they teleport or raise the dead?

Can they do some other thing I haven’t listed? The world is vast, and magic pushes the boundaries even further. So, feel free to be as creative as you wish.

But there will be limits. You need to decide what your magic is able to do and where to draw the line.

Second, are there different types?

Maybe different types do different things. Maybe there’s elemental magic and healing magic.

Third, you need to decide what those results cost.

Blood sacrifices? Does it make them tired? Or…maybe it doesn’t cost them anything, at all, though that’s less likely. (That’s crossing into the realm of supernatural/paranormal stuff with innate abilities. Vampires, demi-demons, werewolves, etc.)

You need to figure out what they have to give up in order to get what they want.

Fourth, how do they use it?

A series of hand gestures or waves of a wand? A complicated ritual? Maybe it comes down to a specific string of words, chanted in just the right way. Do they simply have to ask their god for power or is the magic stored in plant and animal matter, and they just have to mix the right things together in a potion?

There has to be a method of harnessing the power you’ve given them access to.

Fifth, is it widely available?

If your magic system is based on asking a god for power, obviously someone who’s never heard of that god won’t have access. Maybe it’s widely available and anyone can practice magic, they just have to learn how to do it. Perhaps, it’s hoarded by the rich and powerful or handed down through bloodlines.

All of these things define your world. Magic is linked to the very fiber of the fantasy world you’re building.

You cannot just say, “Well, it’s fine. It works because it’s magic,” and expect your reader to accept that.

Because it’s bullshit.

I’ve said it so many times, and I’ll say it again. You’re already taking the time to write a book…You may as well do it well.

Don’t half-ass it. Think this shit through.

In the end, you’ll end up with a better book. (Just don’t info-dump your world building on your readers all at once.)

Now, as for my own projects, I’ve jumped up to 53,483 words on my current WIP (whose magic system is heavily dependent upon their god).

Where Darkness Leads features many types of magic, distributed amongst the populace through blood lines and the amount of elements used for their creation. And I got a decent amount of editing done on it this week.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.