Questions to Ask When Creating Magical Worlds

    I am a total lover of fantasy. There are so many takes on it, from the more hard-core, almost 'traditional' fantasy, to the weird and wonderful. Some love it for great adventures or crazy animals. Personally, I adore it because of the world-building; because I can create communities and entire worlds and craft them to my own liking.

   Sometimes fantasy worlds have magic in them, sometimes they don't. In today's post I'll talk about the ones that do. In the past I covered three aspects of how to create a magic system, but today I'll be compiling a list of questions I ask myself when creating worlds with magic in them!   



1) Who has magic? What terminology is used to refer to them (eg. magician, wizard, witch)?

2) Are magical powers gained, are people born with them, or can it be both? If gained, how so? If they are born with them, is it their bloodline or something else?

    Drawing from my WIP, Golden Revenge, one of the types of magicians are called Stormdancers. They are able to control rain, lightning, and thunder. The powers are only granted to babies, however, who are born during storms. Another kind of magician is called a Soulstreamer, and it is passed down through their blood.

3) Where does magic come from? (eg. the world, an object, within the magician)


4) How are magicians viewed by those without magic? Are they hated? Feared? Revered? And how do magicians view those without?

5) Are there any religious groups against magic? Why or why not?

6) Does magic play a part in the political system, or is it completely separate? If separate, are there any policies in place to enforce rules regarding magic use? What is the magical community's response to this?

    Again from Golden Revenge (as will all the later examples), in one of the countries, any magic that is not performed by a certain organisation is considered illegal. As an act of defiance, magicians not in the organisation set up illegal magic markets underneath its cities. 

7) What kind of form does magic take? Is it visible?

8) What effect does magic have on the magician? Are there immediate effects or do they apply gradually over time?

9) Are there any places of education where those with magic are trained? If so, are they being trained for careers in the future, or are their powers being purposefully subdued?

    The organisation mentioned before is called the Scholarly, where those who suspect they have magical powers may attend to learn how to heal the body and mind. When they have finished training they are granted jobs, but they're never allowed to practice illegal magic.


10) What are the limits/rules of magic? What can it do, and not do?

11) Are there different levels of skill magicians can fall under? Can they move between levels? Are there different kinds with different powers?

12) Do certain locations within the world give a magician more power than others? Are there places that magic cannot touch or be used in?

13) Do magicians have a code of behavior between them? What does it entail? Have/do any magicians refuse to follow this code?

    The magicians in the illegal magic markets have no code other than don't get caught. As they're not under the watch of the law, they grant themselves freedom to do whatever they wish, from creating monsters of talons and scales to crafting flowers made of tiny eyes.


14) Why is magic a part of your world? Was it given by a god, or has it been around since the beginning of time? What is its history?

15) Do any other people groups or species have magic? How is it different or similar?

16) Are there any identifiers of those with magic? (eg. robes, pins, a certain tattoo)

17) How does magic influence wars and conflict? Are magicians brought in to fight, or to bring peace?


    And that brings me to the end of my list! I really hope it can help you out in your world-building and fleshing out the magical presence in your world!


Do you have any questions to add to my list? How do you develop the magical presence in your world? What magical power do you wish you had? Are you a great lover of fantasy like me?
Let me know in the comments below, and have a magical day! <3

Comments

  1. This is a really helpful list of questions! Personally in the story I'm working on at the moment the magic grew of itself - I didn't mean for it to turn up but then it did and well, I couldn't really say no :D AND fantasy is the best! It always makes me sad when people think that magic in books is sinful etc etc :(

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad they're helpful. :) Haha I totally get what you mean; I have the same problem with a lot of my characters who just show up and expect to rule the story. XD Very true, it also makes me sad. For me it's really about how you represent magic and its effects; I don't commend praising evil magic, but I also think kinds of magic can be portrayed in a Godly way. :D Thanks so much for commenting Emmeline Annie! <3

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    2. e x a c t l y. So well put! So many of my friends think that magic in books is inherently evil, and I'm always like - um ... not necessarily ... and then they look at me like I'm crazy XD And no problem!! :D

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    3. Thank you! Yup, it's not always evil, and we would all do well to remember that whenever we come across magic in fiction. Don't worry, you're not crazy! XD

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  2. Excellent post, Melissa!

    I do have one question to add: Is the magic good, bad/evil? Do both exist in the world or only one kind?

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Catherine! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :) Yes, that's a great question! It also opens up questions to the author about what they define as good and evil. :D Thank you so much for commenting! XD

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  3. Great post and it's very helpful! I am the worst at building worlds, so it's always good to read things like this!!

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    1. Thanks Gray! I'm very happy it'll be helpful for your world-building. XD Thank you for commenting! :)

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  4. Great post and so helpful. I'll be coming back to this when I write fantasy :) Thanks, Melissa!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. No, thank you Amy! Yay! I'm super glad it will be of help to you and your writing. XD Thanks so much for commenting!

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  5. This post is a huge hunk-a genius, my friend! <3 You are a pro world builder (I should know *wink wink*) and I can see why! You put so much thought into it. Definitely taking notes from this post! I like the "is magic visible?" question too. It's not something I've thought too much about and gives me cool plot bunnies :D

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    1. Awww thanks Hannah! <3 (I should know you're a pro world-builder too. *double wink*) Awesome, that's great that it gave you some plot bunnies. Cool ones are far better than the annoying ones haha. XP Thank you so much for commenting!

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  6. This was a really helpful post! I shall definitely be using this list when I start rewrites of Gearbound! :D

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    1. Yay, I'm glad! How is Gearbound going? XD Thank you so much for commenting! :)

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  7. Wow. *bookmarks for future reference* There are some amazing questions here that provoke deeper thought into not only magic systems, but the entire society we're creating (values, politics, consequences, the [literal] underground... ) Thanks for a great post, Melissa!

    Jem Jones

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    1. Aw thank you Jem! I'm super happy you enjoyed it and thought it thought-provoking. XD Thanks so much for commenting! <3

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  8. These are great questions to consider when creating magical worlds! =D I do love a good fantasy, like you. =) C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are probably my favorite fantasy writers.

    New follower. =)

    Micaiah @ <a href="https://notebooksandnovels.com”/>Notebooks and Novels</a>

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    1. Eep, that link thingy didn't work. xD

      Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

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    2. Thank you Micaiah; I'm glad you think so! Yesss fantasy books are excellent. Yay! Thanks so much for following and commenting! <3

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  9. Awesome post! This is so helpful :)
    I'm currently just starting the world-building process for my second book, so I'll definitely be referring back to these questions!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I'm super happy you think it'll be able to help you out with your world-building. :D Thanks so much for commenting, and good luck with your writing! XD

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