The Magic of Fantasy

I want to ask a general question here and I’m hoping for some responses.

When you read a Fantasy story, how do you like things like the magic of that world, if applicable, explained?

One of the criticisms I received about my first book is that the concept of magic was not properly explained.

Do people prefer technical explanations? Or sort of ‘historical flash-back’ explanations? Or something else?

Posted by Sarah Jayne


I think even magic, although in a fantastic world, still needs to be believable. Whether the power is drawn from worshiping gods, positioning of moons or planets, or from the elements of nature, there has to be some consistent applications along with possible variations and drawbacks. Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series drew power from the gods but also sacrificed his health in the procees. Fantasy elements must be the hardest to describe. They are in a totally made up world but should still have believable mechanics.
And everyone may still be a critic such as the long debate about how Superman can fly. Is it anti-gravity molecules or psychokinesis powers. There may always be a reader willing to debate but I believe an effort in describing the magic or the mythical is a must. As far as how you describe it, historically or technically, I think that varies based on the the magic and how the power is drawn.

Sarah Jayne Nantais

Thanks for the reply! You’re the only one who gave me some feedback. I really appreciate it! I also like how you explained it. These are things I don’t think I ever really thought about before in too much depth, and it shows!

Any time. It helped spark the thought of magic and its mechanics, which will help in my own novel. Us small time fantasy writers need to help each other out when possible. And I will be checking out Black and Red, sounds engaging.

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