Laura Howard: Writing Magic


Writing Magic

Today I'm in a blog hop at Tessas Blurb called The Nature of Magic. We're sharing our magic with the world, and checking out what others think of magic and giving them some comment love

Fantasy books, whether they be urban fantasy, science fiction or paranormal, involve different types of magic. It's always fun to learn how magic plays a part in different worlds, and it's usually vastly different from one story to the next. In many of the urban fantasy series I've read, magic is an energy source that offers the wielder a sort of give-and-take... using the magic has many advantages, but you must pay the price for it. I've seen insanity play a big part... ie if you use magic, the trade-off is to lose a little of your sanity with each spell. I've also seen magic described in one of my favorite fantasy series as a sort of layer around the atmosphere that you can gather to yourself and use at will.

In the manuscript I'm working on, which is an adult fantasy, magic is based in the mind or in the blood. I wanted to have a unique format because I feel like my story has a lot of unique characteristics and wanted it to stand out when it is published. Now, I have certainly heard of blood magic being done before- and I have no doubt mind magic exists in books. However, I have not read anything with it, so I'm hoping mine will be a unique twist... :)  Until I'm done writing the ms, I won't be reading either of these in hopes of avoiding any confusion.

OK, so on to the fun stuff. How MY magic works ;)

The supernatural or fantastical beings in my story have several abilities. As with humans, they all have some abilities that are stronger than others. Some are able to see the future, by focusing on threads of time they see in their mind's eye. Others have strong coercive talents. They are able to control those with weaker minds then theirs. This skill also allows them to change the way other's perceive them, which they refer to as "cloaking" themselves or some objects. My favorite talent is the ability to communicate mind to mind, as either mind-reading or mind-speaking. Imagine how handy that would be IRL!! It would be so easy to have an adult conversation with my husband if I could just talk straight into his mind... The last talent they possess is telekinesis, they are able to use their minds to move things without physically touching them. Another super-handy ability. I sometimes feel like I have this ability since I had kids... it's so nice to be able to say "Honey, would you mind running upstairs to get the baby wipes?" Haha, sometimes it works better than others.

In my world, blood magic is forbidden. It's considered "Old Magic" because it is no longer allowed. This type of magic is obtained by using the blood of another living creature to strengthen the mind magic the wielder already possesses. When my creatures use blood from humans it allows them to walk in this realm, which normally makes them sick and weak. There are definite disadvantages to blood magic, though. It corrupts their minds, like poison. But, like a drug addiction, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop.

I'm excited to check out everyone else's magic stories on this blog hop. If you're not in the hop, you should check it out here!


  1. It seems like an interesting arrangement, possibly closer to the kind of limited talent psychic powers you find in a lot of sci fi than the more common broad based magic of fantasy.

  2. It's nice to see you have a penalty for using the blood magic. Even in my world, where magic comes naturally to some, there are always payments required for the use of magic.

  3. Interesting discussion of magic and how you define it in your writing. It kind of opens up a whole different perspective that I've never really considered before.

  4. Intriguing, I like the limits you set for your characters and the description of how magic affects them. I hope you have great success.

    You asked about my excerpt and yes, it is from my published e-book, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. Now on sale for .99. links are on my blog.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  5. i've never heard of blood magic, but then even as a fantasy writer, i don't read a lot of fantasy. interesting concept.

  6. oooh fascinating! I'm big on world-building (I write mostly fantasy) so it's really interesting to see how people set up their worlds and the powers available in them.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!


    ps. don't forget to pop in on my blog on March 30th to vote on the finalists!

  7. Laura, thanks for sharing your magic secrets with us. It's nice to meet you and I'll certainly be back!

    ~ that rebel, Olivia

  8. I always hate stories where magic is just thrown around as if it has no impact or consequences. I agree on the blood magic!

  9. The way you use blood for magic is very unique, I think. Interesting post!

    My first middle grade talked about energy going through their blood and showing in their palms as an orb. But I didn't pursue blood beyond that.

  10. Wow! I'm so impressed by how you've come up with this and how you've developed it. It's a great concept.

  11. You've got a great system for structuring your magical worlds--thanks for sharing your process!


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