Building Worlds, Progress Update, Writing

Progress Update W20: Blood Maiden and Worldbuilding Impact of Culture on Magic Systems

This past week has been eventful, in a good way, thankfully. Birthdays, a job interview, and some nice progress on writing my Blood Maiden WIP. Have even been thinking about picking up drawing again, but it’s still…hard, to get started. I guess I didn’t stop for nothing, but I’d like to break the cycle.

For this post, I’d like to talk about the following:

Image of someone writing by pen with underneath the text: writing progress update.

Blood Maiden (WIP)

Every now and again I wonder if I should split this novel into part 1 and part 2. There’s a large part taking place in Saevria, but then when they move up north, there’s just a lot of extra setup needed again. A new setting, new culture, new situation, though the main plot remains. Sagani’s still trying to lift her curse and Mael’s still trying to get his family out of “enemy” territory.

Because of this, I really need to think hard on how I progress. What do I share? When do I share this information and how do I break this down into bite-sized parts so it doesn’t overwhelm  the reader? I’ll find my way. It’ll work out, but it takes some effort.

The numbers

Another week has passed and I’ve diligently worked on only Blood Maiden so far (amongst my many WIPs, I did do some blogging and worked on worldbuilding files). So far, I’ve written 27.552 words this month, of which 24.223 for my WIP.

My weekly numbers are the following:

  • Week 19: 9.332 words
  • Week 20: 10.239 words so far

Aside from that I’ve also done some more worldbuilding. One aspect I’d like to share a bit on with you all.

Magic Systems and Culture

Something I’m really enjoying with my WIPs is adding some cultural nuances to magic. Especially when there are characters of different cultural backgrounds (which so far seems to happen in most of my novels) it’s a pleasant puzzle to figure those out.

I use the same magic system for most my works, since I write in a shared universe. So, Salandrine takes place in Mnaluria, a magical desert queendom where magical power equals political power. Meet Me Halfway takes place in Saevria where magic is mundane. And The Blood Maiden’s Covenant takes place in both Saevria and Snofjevit, a vast country where magic is the main source of conflict between those who see it as a threat and those who see it as a gift.

Which means, there are already vast differences in how magic is perceived and handled between countries, but there’s more to it still. Blood magic for one, is a magic which crosses boarders, but in one place it’s a war magic, while elsewhere it’s a magic for healing and connecting to ancestors. Sometimes lines are more blurry. One place might perform magic with plenty of ceremonies and rituals where elsewhere it’s purely practical and scientific.

I love finding those nuances and seeing how it impacts plot and characters. The relationships characters have with their magic and how different points of view can help them process things they’d otherwise never considered.

Aside from enjoying it, I see it as a way to bring depth to a world and system. Worldbuilding is complex and as vast as you make it out to be. One of the important things to keep in mind when worldbuilding is also how other aspects influence each other. I mention culture here, but it can be anything. How does it impact politics? How does it impact the economy? What about social constructs? When you tie magic to gender, where does that leave people who challenge gender norms? Take these things into account just as much as how cool it’d be to shoot fire out the palm of your hand, because it can give just as much a rush as complex spells can.

What about you? What do you focus on while creating your magic system? What makes you excited in a book when it comes to magic? Or, what seriously grinds your gears?

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