Magic is a tricky thing to explain. If you’re not careful you end up saying too little, leaving your reader wondering what the rules around your magic system really are.
Other times, you might be tempted to info dump all the ins and outs of how the magic in your story works…running the risk of boring your readers to tears. How can you find the right balance?
While I can’t say that I have a definitive solution, the best way I have found to explain magic is to only provide the minimum amount of detail your reader needs to understand the limits and opportunities of the magic system you have created.
For example, in my recent flash fiction story ‘A Clockwork Bride‘ all of the rules of the magic system are simply explained by mentioning three specific aspects:
1. Magic requires the use of a key (vehicle) – this step is optional
2. The key contains magic silver dust that gets gradually used up by the clockwork body (limitation)
3. Every time the key is used, some magic dust residue remains within the clockwork body (opportunity)
To sum it up, bringing your magic system to life with clarity and in a way that engages and intrigues your reader may not be a piece of cake but it’s certainly possible.
See ya next time 😉
If you are struggling to explain your magic system, are prone to info dumping or have an even better idea how to successfully explain magic in your stories, share your thoughts in the comments below! If you have a story that demonstrates your approach, feel free to post a link to it!