Tips for Writing Magic

a guest post by G. J. Kemp

G. J. Kemp is the author of the stunningly original Acre series. These fantasy novels employ magic, and if you’ve tried it, you know that’s not an easy thing to write. I’m so grateful that Gavin Kemp agreed to share some tips here. He’s also hosting a giveaway, so read all the way through to learn about the Acre books, Gavin’s advice for writing the magical, and how you can win the first four books in the series.

THE ACRE SERIES by G.J. Kemp
Book Series Title: THE ACRE SERIES by G.J. Kemp

From their windows, balconies, and gardens, the residents of the land of Acre stare north at the ominous black clouds that crawl across their beloved skies, overshadowing their homes. Under the clouds, a darkness has befallen the majestic City of Lynn.


Within the city, a cornered Queen, once true and just, now plays a game of cat and mouse with the races of Acre. Each season, as the Queen fights for control, the ‘Unknowns’ from the North approach. With them comes the stench of evil, fear, and death.


But… there is hope. A lost legend now awakened.


A set of dormant orbs lay in the gnarled hands of an old man. One by one, the dull orbs spark and swirl to life. Somewhere within the City of Lynn, the scroll of equals remains hidden. It’s text, supplied by the gods, awaits the chosen who may one day save the land of Acre.

Or so the legend says.

Making Magic: how to build rules for magic in your story

I feel creating a magic system is such a personal choice as we can apply magic in so many ways. We can ignore earth’s sciences and design some extravagant, fantastical system. We can stick to earths known rules and design a system that we understand. Or we can jump into space and play with fewer restrictions. Only our lack of imagination can restrict us with designing a magic system.

One factor to consider is how much time you want to spend explaining a magic system to the readers. If we choose the basics of fire, water, earth and air, and how it’s manipulated then you don’t have to explain how these work. If however, you want to use magic that you design from new, then you need to build it for the reader. An author needs to be very clear when they design a new system. If something is broken, it will be hugely jarring for the reader.

Another important piece is how magic interacts with other magic. Do you go down the route of good v evil? Or is all magic neutral, and it depends on the strength of the person who is wielding it.

When I designed the Acre Series, I wanted to create a magic system that stayed, to a degree, within the bounds of the world. Using the elements of earth, fire, water, earth and air, it gave me a platform to start from.

Once I decided the first step, I made two rules for the first books. One, I made sure the magic element exists in our world today. Two, it requires two vessels to handle the magic element. After those two rules, smaller decisions grew as I began creating the characters. For example, the magic should be secondary to the story and its characters. I didn’t want the magic to distract the reader from the most important thing, the story. Whether these two decisions will change as the epic fantasy grows, will be up to the characters in the book. Sometimes rules need to be broken. Especially magical ones.

Magic makes us gasp in wonder, or stare in amazement. Creating magic is one of the funnest parts of writing and it’s why I love writing fantasy stories.

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Juno’s beloved Petra is dead.

Petra’s replacement, the mysterious Lady, has put Juno’s best friend Tilly under a dark spell that has left Juno with nobody she can trust.

With only Chax, her kitten, for company, Juno escapes from her school to a town at the bottom of the cliffs.

A town ruled by men.

Alone, scared, and without friends, Juno feels an unknown power growing inside her. A power she knows she will one day have to harness. With all lost, a dark figure from within the shadows cups her mouth and whispers in her ear to keep quiet.

Juno joins her new friends but just as she starts to learn how the world really works, the ill-tempered Dr Viktor demands an audience.

Juno and the Lady is a young woman’s journey into a land of the old ways, where men rule, and women are property.

​With unlikely friendships, forbidden love and burning magic, can Juno change the conventions of old? Can she save the town? And will she figure out who the Lady truly is?

About the Author

Author G.J. Kemp

A nomad at heart, GJ has lived in nine countries across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His career has included working as a Divemaster in The Red Sea, a zookeeper in Israel, and a proofreader in Sweden.

Born with cerebral palsy, GJ has spent a lifetime trying to tie his shoelaces while standing up in the hope of not falling over. It is a constant challenge, but sometimes he occasionally succeeds.

​Finding the love for writing later in life, GJ spends most of his free time going for walks and dreaming of story ideas. He hopes to one day have a small place on the oceanfront where he can walk his dogs on the beach.

connect with the author: 

website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ twitter ~ tiktok ~ goodreads ~ bookbub

THE ACRE SERIES Book Tour Giveaway

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