The Cost of Magic

I’m working on a novel revision, and I’m running into a problem. A BIG problem. A magic problem. Specifically: the cost of magic.

When you write with magic, you don’t just think about the effects of that magic (the cool part –invisibility, flying, and unlimited cupcakes). You also have to think of the limitations of the magic.

Expecto Cupcakes - Cost of Magic


For example, can your wizard cast unlimited spells? Or does she start to get tired? In most fantasy magic systems, you can think of a magic user like a car. They need fuel — be it sleep, time, mana potions or butter (I’m still thinking about cupcakes).

Why does the Cost of Magic Matter?

The reason we tend to consider the cost of magic is because it makes for a compelling story. If the magic user is not limited by need, then they can be limited by items (think kryptonite) or situation (think Spider-Man without his web fluid).

If your magic has no limits, you run into the problem I have today: your character becomes almost invincible. In any situation, they can escape, triumph, and consume all the cupcakes.

Cost of magic Teal Tip

So, that’s where I am right now. I’m considering the limitations of the magic system I created. I’m thinking about how I can write a more compelling story by putting some confines on my magic system. I’m considering the cost of magic.

Some Resources I’m Looking at Today

If you want to know more, here’s a couple of sources to get you thinking.