I bound the spell to a different domain of existence, which allowed me to change the secondary effect of gravity well, which make me immune to any gravitational effect created by the spell.

This makes sense, but it's a bit vague and in a fantasy setting it would sound weird. I am wondering if this is ok. It would make a lot more sense in a video game, but in a high fantasy setting would such description make any sense, or is there a better way of doing this? What are the problems with the above example? Could you give some examples?

3 Answers 3


An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic. -Brandon Sanderson

Your explanation will be a problem if magic is being used to solve problems in the story. Take Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings. You know that he has magic, but he never really uses it to bail the heroes out trouble. However, there is lots of magic in Lord of the Rings that get the heroes into trouble (e.g. The Balrog, Saruman the White, the Nazgûl).

Undefined magic (aka Soft Magic) can used to create problems, but when used to solve problems it can often feel like a deus ex machina. Well defined magic (aka Hard Magic) is usually better suited to solving problems.


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It doesn't matter, in a fantasy book, if you "explain" magic; in many ways it is better if you don't explain it.

In my opinion, your explanation doesn't make any sense at all.

In real life, the people that truly believe in magic don't really need it explained as a science. Those that believe in Astrology can believe and use astrology without any explanation for how stars influence us.

People that truly believe in the miracles of the Bible, or of Gods, do not need any pseudo-science explanation for how the magic of the miracles actually worked. Christ touches somebody, and they are healed, that's all they need. He walks on water. Period. He speaks and calms a storm. Period. How? Nobody cares.

I recommend leaving the details out. Your characters make use of forces they don't understand, just like humans made use of gravity and magnetism and fluid dynamics for millennia before knowing exactly how they worked.

You can talk about mysterious forces that observably behave differently, things the magicians can sense that others cannot. If you leave their understanding of magic much like a medieval understanding of biology or physics, there will be less for your readers to criticize about how much sense you are making.

For some of us that understand physics and chemistry, when authors try to go into technical details, our analytic side kicks in and that kicks us out of immersion in the story. Things can sound ridiculous.

You may have your own detailed understanding of how the magic works, and that would be great for consistency in the story, but you don't have to reveal it to the reader.

In my experience as both an author and a consumer of fantasy, it is best to keep the magic consistent without going into any pseudo-science explanations of how it works.


In storytelling, concrete and specific details are good and vagueness is bad. Abstract is can be a lot like vague.

In world building, believability follows from understandability. That is if the reader or viewer understands how something happened, they are more likely to believe (accept) that it could happen -- in this world that is being created for them in this story.

If your magic system is based on this domain and existence thingy, then as the author you need to make sure all those ideas are understood and how they equate to magic and spell casting before you make the declaration you have given as an example. If all the pieces are logical or clearly presented, then likely the story will make sense to people and they go along with your idea.

How to share that information is always a challenge. Think about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Chamber Pot of Mysteries. How magic works is never discussed. Just that there is magic and the difficulties in mastering magic words and wand movements. Comparing that will Roger Zelazny's novel 'Changeling,' there is quite a discussion of the mechanics of magic and technology. Both how it works and how it is used by sorcerers.

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