Andrew Wood — Magic: the Lifeblood of Fantasy

Welcome back Andrew Wood, one of our regular contributors, with his own spin on magic and why it fascinates us as readers.

Magic, in essence, is a word used by authors to describe whatever powers govern the world they’ve created. What it is, what rules govern it, and how it is defined, are all interpreted differently by every author. Some stick to tried and true magics, such as the power of the elements, while others invent entirely new systems of magic, such as the one in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn. Yet no matter how magic works, or how it is used, it is an essential part of fantasy writing. It may very well be a trademark of the genre itself.

Since the beginning of storytelling, we have seen examples of great, heroic sorcerers, or villainous spellcasters. Whether in the legends of history, or in our own stories, magic is always prevailing theme.

Some of the classic magic systems include the forces of the elements; air, wind, water and earth. Or the power of nature, harnessing the strength of the living world around you. Then there is the power of the light, involving hope and life, versus the might of darkness, whose domain is death and despair. Finally there is arcane magic, which has a broader interpretation.  Think of Harry Potter as good example of arcane magic.

There are few fantasy stories that don’t involve magic in some way. Sometimes, a well-handled magic system can define a book, and make it interesting to read it. In the same way, a bad magic system can drag a book down, and distract from the story. Magic is a defining factor in our stories.

But why? Why does magic fascinate us both as people and as writers? What is so transfixing about this indescribable, loosely-defined power? In my opinion, the answer is simply that magic is our own creativity.

It is the power to do anything, to shape reality, and bend words to our will. It is the same power that we harness to create our world, forge our characters and assemble the magic that governs them. Whatever magic an author chooses to use or make, I believe that it exemplifies what is at the very core of an author’s being; the creativity in our heart. It is our lifeblood. It is what makes these stories that we must tell.

No matter what magic you choose an author, remember that it all stems from the same source. We are all sorcerers in our own right, wielding the force of creativity as we march through the universe of literature, forging worlds and stories that will never be forgotten.


Andrew WoodAndrew Wood is an 18 year old recent high school graduate with a love of writing and a dream of becoming a published author. He first began writing during elementary school, with short stories. He wrote three novels during high school, one of which was for National Novel Writing Month. Now, with his fourth novel complete, he is ready to publish. You can find out more about this novel at

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