Thursday, February 23, 2012

Abracadabra!!!

This picture is so pretty AND cool --- I just had to use it. Awesome right?

And I wanted to give you a few notes that I got from the LTUE Conference. This was a class I went to on "Magical Systems," which I found very helpful and interesting, especially since my current WIP is a YA fantasy with magical elements. 

Here are some of the tips they gave us:
  • Magic needs to have a purpose & drive the storyline. (that should be obvious, right?)
  • Consistent. Don't just pull things out of the blue. Build up. Lead. Earn them.
  • Have Rules. Simple cause and effect matters work great with magical systems.
  • Magic is a tool. Make sure your character uses it as a tool and it isn't the only thing that defines them.
  • Even magical characters need flaws and weaknesses. 
The one thing I love about magic is that you can do with it whatever you want. The magical system you create can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. They would suggest (and I agree) not to make it TOO complex. It bogs the reader down. Let them enjoy the magic with simple cause and effect. There are so many opportunities with magic and it's all at your fingertips. Let your imagination lead the way!

And if you're stuck on how to use magic for your book, here's a fun idea: Take something simple and make it extraordinary! Give it a little twist or a tweak and you'll see amazing things happen.

Also - if you've missed out on the awesome sauce movies floating around Facebook - here you go!
This one features Chantele Sedgwick, David Powers King, Cassie Mae & Me! Don't worry - there are MORE! So stay tuned!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Do you have magic in your book? What are some of your favorite books with magic?

34 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

LOL at that video!

I used to use magic in my work more when I was younger, I think my imagination was better back then!

Tobi Summers said...

Video = win

I like to think I arrived late (post-Harry Potter) to the magic scene, but actually the first book I wrote had kids with superpowers, so maybe I wasn't quite as removed from it as I think. Now, pretty much everything I write has some kind of magic, be it supernatural creatures or actual spellcraft, etc. My current WIP is the first I've written that takes place in a world other than our modern one, however.

Shell Flower said...

Thanks for sharing what you learned at the conference. I just read The Night Circus and the magic in that book is freaking amazing,especially Marco's particular style. He used symbols and complex journals to do his magic in a way I've never seen in a book. It was super cool and now I find myself power-doodling and hoping it works...LOL.

L.G.Smith said...

Love those JibJab videos. :D

I don't have magic in my current novel, but I've written other stories that use it, and the story I'm dying to get to is about a witch who can create havoc with her abilities. BUT I always find the most interesting aspect of using magic in a story is how it is restricted. There have to be limits placed on it or else the magic would win in every scenario. That, for me, is what makes it compelling to read about.

Carol Kilgore said...

Love the video!

I've never written anything with magic, but I love reading books like that.

Mark Koopmans said...

Do you know what?

*what?*

I love Star Wars...

*You do??*

Yes, it's full of magic and that Omnibus One Kaneohe dude is a handsome fellow...

*He is?>?????*

Aye, lad... you need to listen to the Force...

*The bloody farce you mean*

Luke, I am your Fa-...

Where's Cassie when I need her>>?>?

Chantele Sedgwick said...

LOL! Oh, that video. If only I could really dress like that with a body like that. ;) And I love magic. Love it. Pretty sure you already know that though. ;)

Donna K. Weaver said...

That was a good class. I attended because I need more structure for my magic in my YA fantasy. I think I need to sit my grown kids down and do a brainstorming session with questions. The what ifs.

Love JibJab. You're Mr. Smith? I'm sorry. You got hosed.

elizabeth seckman said...

No magic in any of mine, but I think the lesson can be applied to all aspects of plot. It needs to be necessary and even when it's make believe, it needs to be believable.

Katie Dodge said...

Ha ha ha! Your JibJAb is cracking me up! You took Chantele down in that video! And you know my book has magic in it. ;) Just a different kind.

Emily R. King said...

I don't read or write a lot of magic. I guess I'm too practical to think it up. But I do enjoy magic elements in movies. It makes for very cool special effects.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'm not the biggest fan of creative magic systems. I think they are a gimmick. I would rather have a strong story and not have you spend hours telling me about some magic system and how it is supposed to work. In other words...I think that grandiose magic systems are the author just being "clever". Look at how "clever" I am. "I am so clever!"

I just want to reach out and pinch the author's cheeks and say, "oooooh look at you big boy. You're so clever. You're the cleverest one in the bunch. Who knew how clever you could be..."

Kelley said...

As you know...yes I do :)

I think I follow these rules... I like the comment about making it simple. Simple is very important.

What a great video :)

Angela Cothran said...

Cassie looks way to happy in that video! And you are a total kick butt villain!

I love magic done well in books and I love when it is unique. I hate the same old same old.

Patricia T. said...

Leigh, enjoyed your sharing about writing fantasy. I love to read it, but have never thought about what guidelines there might be. Very informative post for me. And, I love the photo.

Janice said...

The video is hysterical.

I have an idea for using magic in one of my WiPs, it's a MG - thanks for the tips they'll come in handy.

Krista M said...

That's some great advice about magic! I have magic in my WIP and this is actually quite helpful. :)

Ruth Josse said...

I love the idea of cause and effect. That's great advice. And I think the second point applies to any genre.

And the video! Hilarious! You crack me up!

Morgan said...

LOL! Video is too funny ;)

And I love the freedom magic can give you, but it also brings on a whole new source of problems. World building is hard. Every detail matters--you're right, you can't just throw things in there because. Great post, Leigh! :D

J. A. Bennett said...

Thanks for sharing the thing about Magic, I really needed to hear that!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Love the point about not making it too complex.

Amanda said...

I'm in love with that picture! SO pretty! As for magic, I'm not really a big fan. If I do read a book with magic it has to play just a small part and not be the main focus.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Those are some great magic rules! I'll be keeping them in mind this weekend...

Sharron said...

I'm not sure I agree with the first premise. My characters drive the story. The magic is there - like a Star Trek tranporter. Sometimes the thing works fine; another time it's malfunctioning. I like my magic to be surprising.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

There is magic in my book, Seven Year Witch, that will be released soon from Angelic Knight Press. Up until I wrote that book, I'd done either romance or mystery novels. I love, love, love writing about my witch character and the magical, enchanting dilemmas she finds herself caught up in. It is awesome to be able to stretch my imagination to encompass fantasy worlds. In fact, it's downright liberating to use magic and mysticism vs. real world boundaries. I still enjoy writing novels set in the real world, but it's great to take a break from reality and have fun with fantasy.

Jolene Perry said...

In my paranormal, the girl does not like what she does AT ALL - it takes a while for her to grow into it.

All good stuff. I'm still sad I don't live in Utah, and wasn't there :-(

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Excellent tips on using magic and I agree - love that picture! :)

Ciara said...

Excellent tips on using magic. Oh, and that picture rocks.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Brandon Sanderson (who did the panel, right?) does a great 'call' on Magic Systems on Author Advisory Calls. It's mostly the things you say here but it's fun to listen to and remind yourself of.

Those videos are hysterical!

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! That video made my day. :)

Sarah Pearson said...

I love that video. That is all :-)

Jack said...

Great video & tips. I think magic is wonderful to use in a story if the writer shows the pro & cons of using magic. I love the movie The Craft, as it show what good intentions and bad magic can actually do!

Leslie Rose said...

That picture has me mesmerized. I agree that magic needs to exist within a framework and limitations to make it cool and not a fix for every issue.

eva fhadilah said...


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