“How do you go about creating a new and interesting magic system?”
You know, this question was harder to answer than I thought.
I’m currently working on the first draft of my third romance in The Serrulata Saga, which will be the fifth book in the series overall. Now that I’m so deep into this world I don’t really think about the rules that govern Xanthcraft – it’s simply present whenever I sit down to leave reality and enter the world I created.
I wrote the first iteration of what would become Gathering of the Four when I was a teenager back in the 1990s. Back then, I didn’t have a special name for the magic in this world; it was just called “magic” and well, there was no concrete system that dictated how it worked. I was a green writer and though I read a lot of fantasy and comic books, I didn’t really feel as though I had to pay attention to “the rules”. This, of course, made the story difficult to follow.
Though I worked on what would become Gathering of the Four off and on for the next two decades, I didn’t really think about finalizing the story for public consumption until around 2018. It was around this time that I started seriously considering self-publishing. I sent what I had off to an editor friend, who explained that while I had an inkling of what could become a good idea, rules – especially where magic is concerned – exist for a reason.
But how to do this?
I only saw one way, really.
I sat down and wrote out all of the rules for my magic system: where it came from, who was allowed to wield it and why; and what limitations it had. Then I wrote out an entire chapter where I didn’t follow any of my own rules.
Y’all it was…bad.
But by doing this, I learned a great deal. I should also mention that, while I was working on my magic system, I was also transitioning from being a “pantser” (one who writes without planning) to a “planner” (one who uses and outline and/or notes to get started). I’ve wound up sort of in between – I do outline before I write, but sometimes those outlines change as I’m writing – but the rules of magic in my series have remained consistent.
As I worked on reconstructing the story and playing by my own rules, I was still struggling with figuring out what to call my magic. I had long ago decided I needed something unique but I was putting so much pressure on myself and concentrating on so much all at once that I worked myself into a frenzy where even the most basic words made little sense.
I had decided to call all magic-wielders Xanthi because their most stunning physical trait is their golden irises; so – with a little play on the word “witchcraft” – Xanthcraft was born.
So, what’s Xanthcraft, exactly?
I think I can safely share the rules I came up with without giving too much away (I mean, I do want y’all to read the book).
So here they are, the Rules of Xanthcraft:
- Only Xanthi are born with Xanthcraft
- Just like other human traits, the strength and amount of Xanthcraft one possesses can vary (eg: some people are more athletic than others, some people are better at math or writing poetry than others)
- There are seven types of Xanthcraft: fire, healing, morphing, specter, seeing, shadowing, transforming
- Xanthcraft is genetic and can be passed from parent to child, but this does not always happen; it is possible for a Xanthos to have children who do not possess Xanthcraft
- While it is possible for a Xanthos with transformation Xanthcraft to give powers to a non-Xanthi, this is very difficult to do and there is great risk involved; often non-Xanthi who receive Xanthcraft lose mental capacity over time
- No one in the Realm, including the Xanthi themselves, know where the Xanthi originally came from
- All Xanthi, whether they have powers or not, have bright golden irises
Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett
Series: The Serrulata Saga #1
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: April 2, 2021
Publisher: Self Published
“In the Realm, every citizen knows their place.”
Leora of Mae is a young woman orphaned at birth and raised on a remote farm. As a wielder of Xanthcraft, her abilities set her apart from her adoptive family and the other villagers.
Shortly before her twentieth birthday, she learns of her family’s plot to sell her into servitude. Fearing for her life, she flees from the only home she’s ever known—defying societal conventions and breaking the edicts of the Realm.
As she runs, Leora meets Roland Shallowbrook, a traveler on the Thieves’ Road; Lady Aurora Verte, daughter of a powerful member of the gentry; and the White Rider Leopold, a soldier with a secret.
Together, this found family will have to band together to survive.
Set in the distant future during the return of the Hale-Bopp comet, Gathering of the Four is the first book in the Serrulata Saga.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/mZZ59J
Author Bio & Information:
A.E. Bennett lives in Washington, D.C. She is originally from North Carolina.
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