I'm having some issues with balancing the world in my story.

My story is centered around a magical world where the people are brutal. There is political corruption, arguments over the use of magic (practical use vs harm), regular massacres, war-filled history (surprisingly more than our history), regular family separation, abuse, etc. It's barbaric enough to, especially in North America (where the main character resides), children and infants are often tried and murdered for various, absurd accusations under the voice of power. It's to the point where there is a secret, international organization that swears to protect these children, which actually saves the main character and serves a huge deal in the plot. However, another important plot point is magic. The magical part of it is that the magic developed overtime is particularly violent magic, and magic is rarely used for practical use.

However, I feel as if the magic part of the world is too underdeveloped, and only used for more violence. There are mythological creatures as well, but I feel as if the world reads more science-fiction than what I am looking for. With that being said, does anybody have any tips on how to balance the two out? I feel as if the brutality in this magical world is overpowering the magic itself, kind of like in many animal POV books, you forget that the character is an animal until the writer says "the cat" or "the snake".

Overall, my question is, how do I make the world more magical, or how do I tone down the brutal force?

  • By "magical" you mean featuring an elevated role of magic (and there's a lot of grimdark barbaric fantasy like that), or having a "high fantasy" feel?
    – Alexander
    Oct 22, 2020 at 0:59
  • You say it is Earth, but more brutal and with magic. Modern era? 1900? What role does religion have in this? Satanic storyline (fits well with brutal society)? Does magic supplant much tech/weaponry? Balancing brutality of magic with usefulness (characters researching peaceful magic applications sounds good)? How closely doe it adhere to history?
    – DWKraus
    Oct 22, 2020 at 1:05
  • Worldbuilding SE is a good site for things like this, might have better luck over there. Oct 26, 2020 at 11:40

2 Answers 2


If it's not playing a role in your story, get rid of it. It was an idea that was useful to you when you were creating this concept, but it's no longer a significant part of the book as you've grown into it. So let it go.

Or, keep it, and let it stay as a background element. Not every fantasy book must be focused around magic. Yes, that's part of the attraction for many fantasy fans. But if it's not a key part of your book, why force it to be one?


Maybe make magic the punishment.

Maybe the government hoards all the magic, and punishes people with it.

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