I love writing paranormal and fantasy romances. Ruth Casie and I have been working on a series of Highlander books. And we’ve been setting up our magicks. We wanted to set up something that is different from all the other fantasy books. And I have been immersing myself in various worlds. Years ago I watched Charmed TV series. I also re-read Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Series, which I loved. Sanderson made up a magic called allomancy, where the magic users need to swallow various shavings of metals in a vial to enhance their powers. There is also Terry Brooks–love his books, not so much the TV series. He has something called the wishsong, where the talented one can exert powers through singing.

Ruth found an article by Jill Williamson called StoryBuilding: Types of Magic. She emphasizes how important it is to combine different abilities and name the magic something simple. She has a series of questions that I think are really good. Here they are:

What type of magic is this? Is this the ability to help plants grow faster? The ability to hear across miles? The ability to breathe under water? Try to give your magic a simple name. 

Where does the magic come from? Was your character born with this ability? Did he gain it by maturing in some way? During adolescence, perhaps? Maybe it came upon him through a mutation or evolution of some sort. It could have come as a gift from another. Or maybe anyone can learn this magic with enough study and practice. What if the magic is a language like in A Name of the Wind or Eragon? Maybe the magic is only possible in a certain place. Or perhaps the magic comes from an object like an amulet, talisman, grimoire, stone, wand, a piece of jewelry, a weapon, or a suit of armor.

Where does the power come from? Was your character born with this ability? Did he gain it by maturing in some way? During adolescence, perhaps? Maybe it came upon him through a mutation or evolution of some sort. It could have come as a gift from another. Or maybe anyone can learn this magic with enough study and practice. What if the magic is a language like in A Name of the Wind or Eragon? Maybe the magic is only possible in a certain place. Or perhaps the magic comes from an object like an amulet, talisman, grimoire, stone, wand, a piece of jewelry, a weapon, or a suit of armor. 

How does it work? Is it supernatural, does it come from nature, or can it be explained with science? Think up some different ways the magic can be used. Here are some types of abilities that can be learned if one has the bloodvoicing ability as in my Blood of Kings books. See how different I’ve made this from general telepathy?

  • Messaging – Sending a thought to another person.
  • Listening – Eavesdropping on the thoughts of another with or without their consent.
  • Watching – Looking through the eyes of another while hearing their thoughts.
  • Knocking – The way to let a gifted person know you want to communicate.
  • Blocking – Closing your mind so that no one can send you a message or look through your eyes.
  • Sensing – Recognizing when a gifted bloodvoicer is nearby.
  • Jumping – Using another bloodvoicer’s connection to reach a third individual. This is done in cases where an individual doesn’t know their target well enough to make a connection on their own.
  • Influencing – Forcing someone to do something secretly or by outright possession. A naughty use of one’s power.
  • Storming – Forcing someone’s soul from their body and into the Veil.
    Who has the ability and why them? Can everyone do this type of magic or only a select few? How does that affect the world? Think about farming, manufacturing, government. How does this power change those things? If everyone can do it, it’s not as powerful as if only a select few can. If only a few, why them? What’s special about them?

What is the cost of the magic? Magic should have a cost, otherwise there would be nothing to stop someone from taking over the world. Some overused costs are that the user grows weary or ages. Try to come up with something unique. And try to balance the power and cost. If the power is small, the cost can be small, but if the power is massive, the cost should be massive.