Writing Excuses Notes: Costs and Ramifications of Magic

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

It is an educational podcast that helps novelists/writers.

The topic is about the costs and ramifications of magic.

It comes from Season 1, Episode 15.

Writing Excuses Season One Episode Fifteen Costs and Ramifications of Magic

Costs and Ramifications of Magic


Make a cost for magic. It can’t be free.

The purpose of cost, at a basic level, is for conflict.

Weigh the decisions for amazing feats.

When you build limitations, it allows the world around it to make sense.


How can you make the ramifications feel real?

  1. Look at what your system does and figure out what it takes to break it.
  2. The system can’t be too quantifiable. If you’re thinking of numbers or dice, it isn’t there.
  3. Defeating a monster can turn the character into a monster. What is the effect?

Get inside the character’s head. Give emotions or thoughts other mediums can’t use.


How do you come up with interesting costs?

  • Remember: Fatigue is a tired trope.
  • Make your costs personal to the character.
  • Have costs tied to the ramifications

Magic doesn’t happen in a static white box. It happens in a world that ties together. Take it further.


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Writing Excuses Season One Notes

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