143 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

Sexism isn't a yes/no kind of thing, and it's a mistake to treat it as such. Saying that a story or an idea is "sexist" is shorthand. What it means is that it creates, encourages, or reinforces ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
46 votes

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

Some people will believe they know how things work, even if they don't If you were to ask a highly educated person 2,000 years ago why things fall down, they'd have an answer. (It just wouldn't be a ...
Jedediah's user avatar
  • 8,669
40 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

Assuming you aren't a woman yourself, I would suggest talking this idea through with several women to see how it strikes them. It can be difficult to see through the eyes of a group you don't belong ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
40 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

I am a woman, and I don't find this sexist. It is only sexist if the implication is that women are somehow inferior because this process renders them infertile. I don't read that into this idea; ...
Jane S's user avatar
  • 621
28 votes

Two magical realities, ours isn't one of them. How do I stop my readers from getting confused?

The main thing to remember is that the audience doesn't need to know the details of your magic system unless the characters need to know. You may be geeked about the system you've put together, but ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
22 votes

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

My answer is fundamentally similar to JonStonecash's, but comes at it from a different angle. You mentioned the following: the narrative intent behind this is to lower the reader's guard by making ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
  • 10.8k
16 votes

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

The most important question is, why does it matter what the details of the magic system are? It may be important for you as the writer to know, but does it matter to the characters or the plot? For ...
JonStonecash's user avatar
  • 5,247
16 votes

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

Other answers have already given you good reasons why it might be a good idea to not spell out the exact details of your magic system. However, if you still want to share some background on how the ...
Llewellyn's user avatar
  • 3,295
15 votes
Accepted

How to demonstrate an evolution of magic without it seeming like it is improvised?

All you need to do is establish the idea of progress in magic. You need to introduce the reader to the magic system as it stands at the beginning, sure. But for this case, you also need to ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
15 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

thanks for asking this question. I feel like far too many people would get defensive or just brush this off. So, I'll say a few things... A: The posters who've said that you should consult women are ...
user49466's user avatar
  • 1,554
15 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

You have a very real world example here on Earth to provide insight into this. Consider Monks and Nuns. Many religious orders of this sort require chastity of their members. Then ask yourself the ...
dgnuff's user avatar
  • 271
14 votes
Accepted

Is Ice/Fire opposition too stereotypical?

I wouldn't just use fire and ice. The classic Four Elements (earth, air, fire, water) have been used for mythological and magical structures for many stories. Look at the Avatar: The Last Airbender ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
14 votes

How do I handle an unequal romantic pairing in a world with superpowers?

Power corrupts, but it doesn't have to: For an interesting reference, you might want to check out THIS question. What you are describing is ANY power dynamic. The relationship is no different to one ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 13.7k
12 votes

Is it an odd concept for a superhero with superhuman powers to use technology/gadgets and also rely on tech?

Magneto's helmet: It is not really shocking for a character to have a combination of physical and technological/magical enhancements to "raise the bar" on what they can do. Magneto has a ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 13.7k
11 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

The witch-candidates in your world value witch powers above motherhood. You don't have to condone this, criticise it or worry about today's feminist opinion of it. It's just how it is in this, ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 587
10 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

There are two obvious concerns: One is being a plagiarist; the second is being derivative. Plagiarism has heavier consequences, but it's much easier to avoid. If your magic school is called Hugworts ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Realistically obfuscating world truths--what should people know?

Here is how I would start looking for your answer... Start a never-to-be published scene in a crowded bar or other public venue. Have a naive person (your pov character for this exercise) asks the ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
9 votes

Two magical realities, ours isn't one of them. How do I stop my readers from getting confused?

This does not really answer the question, but solves the dilemma in the interest of producing better writing. Reading earlier comments and your replies, you seem intent on an info dump and forcing ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
9 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

This is why many people laugh at feminism. Yes, saying that losing one's fertility is a price that some are reluctant to pay implies that fertility has value. Duh. Who in his or her right mind would ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 25.6k
8 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

You are not overthinking it. "Is this sexist/racist/problematic/etc" is always a good question to ask, particularly when the subject is a group (particularly a minority group) that you are not a part ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
8 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

I want to focus on one specific aspect of your world as described, that some but not all answers are picking up on: One that I was considering was that the witch must have never given birth before ...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 259
7 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

You can watch almost any "kung fu" movie from the 1970s through 2000 and see "tao masters" waving their arms while various objects – water, swords, dinnerware, tree limbs – go flying and curving ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
7 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

The short answer is probably "not any more". At least, not at the moment. [Stock "Not a lawyer" disclaimer] The burden of proof for an accusation of plagiarism would rest with the plaintiff (but ...
ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere's user avatar
7 votes

How can you incorporate magic and sex into a setting without it becoming fetishy?

To me it sounds like going into too much detail with it could fetishise it, but then if it's more of a world building factor you probably should go into more detail. Figuring out exactly how magic and ...
Ad Caudle's user avatar
  • 211
7 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

I can't help but feel that in large part the solution to this problem is to have good and varied beta readers and/or editors. Any author can offend unintentionally by approaching what they consider a ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 10k
7 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

The Main Answer However, someone has told me that this concept is sexist toward women because it suggests that a female's only worth is her fertility and that having kids is the most important ...
Pharap's user avatar
  • 346
7 votes

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

It is not sexist. Thinking it is sexist requires some mental gymnastics, and actively searching something to nitpick about is, I would say, in my humble opinion, everything wrong with postmodernism. ...
HorriblePerson's user avatar
7 votes

How do I handle an unequal romantic pairing in a world with superpowers?

In our world domestic violence is a real problem. However there are also a lot of tall, muscular, 90 kg men who never harm their small, petite, 60 kg wives/girlfriends in any way. Don't see why (the ...
thieupepijn's user avatar
7 votes

How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

In somewhat reverse order: Subverting expectations with a false/flawed narrative is fine, and doesn't necessarily lead to outrage. It's all about how the subversion and eventual reveal take place. I ...
Cole's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes

Two magical realities, ours isn't one of them. How do I stop my readers from getting confused?

Three questions, whose answers may help avoiding reader's confusion: 1. Why should the reader care? You have attempted to lay down the foundation of a new grammar for achieving something. To ...
NofP's user avatar
  • 10.6k

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