Writing Excuses Notes: Magic Systems and their Rules

Here are some notes I took after listening to Writing Excuses.

It is an educational podcast that helps novelists/writers.

The topic is about magic systems and their rules.

It comes from Season 1, Episode 14.

Writing Excuses Season One Episode Fourteen Magic Systems and their Rules

Magic Systems and their Rules


To use magic, the characters must understand it.

The ability of the protagonist to resolve conflict

Don’t cheat with ‘techno-babble’.

Your readers should believe in your magic.

  • They need to become excited and know it’s strength.


What do you gain when the reader doesn’t understand the rules?

A hero that doesn’t understand shouldn’t solve problems.
You tap into the collective unconsciousness.

  • You’re working toward a sense of mystery/wonder.


What do you gain from rule-based magic?

  • A set of tools that your characters can be shown as clever by using it.
  • It captures the reader’s imagination
  • Provides a stock of foreshadowing and story devices.

Surprising, but inevitable outcomes.


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