Magic – it’s got to be more than a deus ex machina in your story

In fantasy fiction, and any fiction that plays with reality, the way a writer uses magic is vital. It can both create a sense of wonder and the necessary suspension of disbelief. For those of you creating your own worlds, the way you employ magic as a story element has to feel reasoned. As if you as the author have considered the impact of magic on your world, not just the plot.

Over the years, best-selling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson has written a few essays on aspects that he feels constitutes a great magic system. They’re incredibly useful posts and we wanted to draw your attention to them.

Below is a quote from the ‘laws’, but it’s worth reading the whole of each essay.

The First Law

An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.

The Second Law

Limitations > Powers


Superman is not his powers. Superman is his weaknesses.

The Third Law

Expand what you already have before you add something new.