In my current work in progress, The Fair Queen, I have created a system of magic based on the elements.
As always, spoilers abound, so if you want to read my book (when it’s finished) without any hints then don’t read on.
In the Fair Queen, there is another world within our own, called the Fair Realm, where magic exists and mythical creatures are real.
The Fair Realm and everything in it is based on British – mainly English – mythology and legends. The names of characters, towns, the creatures and their abilities – they’re all rooted in our history.
I read a few articles about creating magic systems, and there seem to be two distinct schools of thought. One prefers a very strict, rule-based magic system, and the other favours a looser, more ambiguous style. I have opted for the second one, as I think it lets the reader use their imagination more and allows a lot more flexibility for the writer.
I also think it gives the whole book a more mysterious feel, which is what I hope to do in The Fair Queen. Whilst some fantasy authors are looking to create a very fixed type of magic that readers can learn and understand, I think that fits in well in a book where the entire story takes place in a mythical land, so the two balance each other.
The Fair Queen is ultimately set in a rural town in England, and even though there is another realm within that, the majority of the elements in the story are very realistic. The only fantastical elements to the story are the magic and the mythical creatures that have come to exist as a result of it, so I felt that a loosely explained, mysterious magic system would be well anchored by the rest of the story world.
Does that make sense? I hope so!
Now that’s (somewhat) explained, I’ll tell you a bit about the actual magic…
The Fair are split into five kinds, each with a different elemental magic:
I won’t give too much away, but after a century of war, poverty and oppression, magic is actually very rare. That’s part of the mystery surrounding magic in the story, not many people even possess it. It’s become a sort of myth within itself.
There, now you know a little something about the magical people in The Fair Queen! Next time, I’ll introduce you to some of the mythical creatures that prowl the Fair Realm.
In the meantime, let me know what you think about magic systems in fantasy novels. Do you prefer your magic to have clear rules and restrictions, or do you like ambiguity so you can imagine your own limitations, if any?
Let’s chat in the comments.
Current word count: 57,364
Paperback – Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
I’m really enjoying Cecelia Ahern’s first foray into YA. I have read almost everything she has written and loved most of it, so I knew I had to read this as soon as I heard she was publishing a YA novel. It took a while to get into at first, but after the first hundred pages the intensity really ramps up and the story picks up pace.
I see it as a combination of 1984 by George Orwell and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s about a dystopian society where a secondary justice system has been set up to punish flawed citizens who are not quite criminals, but have committed some kind of immoral or flawed act. It’s quite scary to think about how realistic this premise is, and in some ways I think the punishment served to the Flawed is worse than that received by actual criminals.
Check it out if you like dystopian YA. I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel, Perfect, when it comes out next year.
Audiobook – The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I liked the first book in this series, but it was the second book that really got me hooked on this series and now I can’t wait to see how it concludes with The Fate of the Tearling. I won’t give too much away for those of you who haven’t read The Queen of the Tearling yet (go read it!), but basically it’s set in a sort of medieval fantasy world and centres around a young girl who was brought up in seclusion in a remote cottage, and finds out that she is the future queen of the Tearling.
The book charts her journey to the castle where she will reign, and her development from young girl to reigning monarch. It’s absolutely fascinating, and there is a host of fantastic characters as well as an intriguing magic element to the story.
Read it if you love historical fiction with a fantasy twist, but don’t expect much romance!