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Clark’s Grimoire

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Explore the methods behind the magical madness

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A Quick Update on My Articles

What's up storyteller! Thank you so much for stopping by. Whether you've been reading my articles for a long time or this is your first foray into my corner of…

The Four Universal Types of Magic Systems

Updated May-26-2021 The time has come for us to talk about the types of magic systems. In this article, we’re going to talk about the four - yes, four -…

Worldbuild With Us: Sky of a Thousand Trade Winds Part 2

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Worldbuild With Us: Sky of a Thousand Trade Winds Part 1

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Worldbuild With Us: Wuxia Tower Part 2

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Worldbuild With Us: Wuxia Tower Part 1

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Interviewed by Colton Iverson

An Interview with C. R. Rowenson - The Magic Engineer C. R. Rowenson is a fantastic and talented individual who has a lot to offer. He will be able to…

How to Make Elemental Magic Fresh Again

As in all the other articles (Using Magic-System Tropes and Making Necromancy Fresh Again), I’m going to be using my three steps for twisting tropes. You can read the first…
necromancer with dark power

How to Make Necromancy Fresh Again

What’s the first thing you think of when I say “magic system”? As a savvy, hard-working magic builder I’m sure many different monsters, effects, and technology spring to mind. That’s…

How to Use Magic System Tropes

In this article, we’re talking all about magic system tropes and archetypes. We’re digging into what they are, why they can be both good and bad for your magic system,…

Appearance on the Self-Publishing Show

Crafting a Believable Magic System with C. R. Rowenson (The Self publishing Show, Episode 317) A magic system, like any world-building in a novel, requires rules and structure so that…

5 Questions to Ask

These five questions should help you think about how your magic system or systems could shape the balance of power in your world.

Making a Mistborn Magic System

What’s up, storytellers? I’m C. R. Rowenson, the magic engineer, and it’s time to talk about magic. In this article, we’re going to be digging into the magic of the…
Have a NaNoWriMo Magic System

Have a NaNoWriMo Magic System

What’s up, storytellers? I’m C. R. Rowenson, The Magic Engineer, and it’s time to talk about magic. In this article, I’m going to give you a NaNoWriMo magic system that…

First Draft Friday #31: Writing a Unique Magic System

First Draft Friday #31: Writing a Unique Magic System Author C. R. Rowenson is in a discussion with Alessandra Torre about what it takes to make your magic system unique.…

How to Structure Your Magic Like Allomancy

Are you ready? I hope you are. Because this is a topic I've been wanting to talk about for a really long time now. In this article, we're going to…

3 Magic Systems to Check Out

When possible, I like my videos and articles to get into the details of building magic systems and tweaking them, how they work and how to fix them. This one…

Worldbuild With us: Completing the Magic-System Blueprint

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How We Made a Soft-Rational Magic System

Transcript below Normally I’d make a proper blog post out of this content, but I am currently swamped managing the Indiegogo Campaign and editing my book. For now, I have…

Worldbuild With Us: Exploring the Magic-System Blueprint

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Interviewed on the Dead Robots Society Podcast

Magic Systems for Writers/GMs with C. R. Rowenson C.R. Rowenson joins Terry and Paul to discuss magic systems, his Indiegogo campaign, and shows off some contents of his upcoming book…

Interviewed on the Undercommon Taste Podcast

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The Magic System Blueprint Crowdfunding

  What's up storyteller? Today's article is going to be a little bit different because I have spent a long time developing a tool called the Magic System Blueprint, and…

Explore Podcast Episode 32: Building Magic Systems Part 2

Explore Podcast with Dr. Moiya McTier C.R. Rowenson is back to finish the magic system we started. We talk about runic magic systems, the recent supernova shortage in the Milky Way,…

Explore Podcast Episode 29: Building Magic Systems

Explore Podcast with Dr. Moiya McTier Explore is leaning more towards fantasy this week as C.R. Rowenson teaches us how to build magic systems! exolorepod.com

Worldbuild With Us: Fear the Light Part 2

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What’s the Best Type of Magic System?

If you’re already familiar with the types of magic systems, then you’ve probably wondered, “Which one should I use? Which one is best?”. That’s exactly what we’re talking about today.

Worldbuild With Us: Fear the Light Part 1

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How to Create a Magic System

How to Create a Magic System

What’s up, storytellers? I’m C. R. Rowenson, and it’s time to talk about magic. Specifically, about how to create a magic system I’ve built a lot of magic systems over…
What's a Magic System?

What Is a Magic System?

I throw the term “Magic System” around a lot these days, especially building and blogging about them. Today we are going address some of the basics. By the end of…

The Most Prevalent Question You Need to Answer About Your Magic

As a magic-builder and writer, you will get asked many questions about your story, your world, and your magic system. There is one question in particular that I’m sure you’ve…

Perspective: A Magic-Builder’s Best Friend

Since the release of Restrictions May Apply: Building Limits for Your Magic, I have started work on my next book. I won’t give away many details yet, unless you happen…

5 More Magic System Variables You Need to Know

We recently talked about several of the more important magic system variables you need to address, but they’re only the start. To finish mapping out your system, there are five…
consider these variables carefully

5 Important Magic System Variables You Need To Consider

Magical effects determine what your magic-users can do, but magic system variables determine what your system actually is. Here are the five most important magic system variables of them all.
Five doors to represent the five sources of magic system limitations

The 5 Best Sources of Limitations for Your Magic

“You’ve got to have limitations for your magic system!” Sound familiar? Even if you haven’t heard it from me a dozen times over, I’m sure you read in an article…

Interviewed on the Worldbuild With us Podcast

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man in forcefield

Types of Magic in Science Fiction

Types of Magic - Part 3 Right about now you’re probably thinking, “What’s this nutcase talking about ‘Types of Magic in Science Fiction’? Doesn’t he know there is no magic…

What You Need to Know About Magic System Variables

Congratulations! You've generated oodles of ideas and optimized alignment, and you're finally ready to start defining your magic system. Stage 3 is where your magic system should start taking on…
viral magic is complete

3 Reasons I Know The Viral Magic is Complete

Did you hear that?! That’s the sound of the Viral Magic System being finished… terrified screaming and then silence. Here's how I know.
Adding Details to Viral Magic - Microscope

Adding Details to the Viral Magic System

Today we will dig into the gross details of the Portal Strain where an individual can use puddles of their infected blood as mini wormholes.
Magic and Story Structure Main Image

How to Combine Magic and Story Structure

Welcome to Part 11 of Building a Viral Magic System Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the Viral Magic! The last couple of times we worked the viral magic…
fixing the viral magic

How I Fixed the Broken Viral Magic System

Welcome to Part 10 of Building a Viral Magic System Aaaand we’re back. Don’t ask “back from where”; it doesn’t matter. Plausible deniability is the only real edge we have…
How I Broke My Viral Magic System

How I Broke My Viral Magic System

Welcome to Part 9 of Building a Viral Magic System Guess what? We’re finally nearing the end of our work in Stage 3: Definition.  It’s taken a lot of work…

7 Simple Reasons You Need A Nebulous Magic System

While rational magic systems can provide a lot of benefits to your story , today we will cover 7 simple reasons you might need a nebulous magic system in your…
Progress on the viral magic

The Lack of Equations Killed My Progress on the Viral Magic

They serve as guidelines for exploring the vast and murky middle-ground between boundaries. More than that, they help me connect with the magic variables and conditions in new ways so…
display the magic limitations workbook cover

It’s Time to End Your Magic Limitation Struggles

You already know limitations are essential for a powerful magic system. We’ve talked about this in the past, but I need make sure I’ve given their importance the proper emphasis.…
Magic Limitations are Essential for a Powerful System cover image - laptop, book, and phone all wrapped in chains

Limitations are Essential for a Powerful Magic System

You might already know, but let's review what limitations are and some of their many forms. From there we can discuss exactly why you need them and end the day…

Life Is Tough Right Now and My Best Might Not Be Enough

There’s something important I want to talk about with you and I’ve put this off long enough. If you’re part of the mailing list, you already know some of this,…
gift-wrapped magic workbook

No Magic Today; I’ve Got Something Better

Something big has come to disrupt your regularly scheduled magical goodness... I am writing a workbook to help you with your magic systems.
Primary image for "do you need a rational magic system" post

7 Big Reasons You Need a Rational Magic System

Let me see if I’ve got this right. You’re building an extraordinary system for your book, game, screenplay, or interactive blood-puppet show. Thanks to some previous reading, you know the…

How I Built Powerful Viral Magic Boundary Conditions

Welcome to Part 7 of Building a Viral Magic System Today is going to be fun! Why? Because today we're talking about one of my favorite parts of the magic…
signs you need a soft magic system

7 Signs You Need a Soft Magic System

If you are a storyteller and found your way here, I’ll assume you’ve at least heard the term “soft magic”. It doesn’t matter if you first heard of it here…
Viral Magic System Variables

How I Selected the Viral Magic System Variables

I usually start Stage 3 by considering the magic system variables. The thing is, we’re not going to walk through all of my answers. As tempting as it is for…
Need a Hard Magic System

7 Signs You Need a Hard Magic System

Before you get too deep into building your story, let's see if your story meets these seven signs you need a hard magic system.

Why My Viral Magic Must be a Soft-Rational System

I’ve got lots of ideas and I have the bones of a story. What I need to know is which type of magic system I need to build… and I…

5 More Reasons to Use Subject Matter Expertise in Your System

I was thinking about it the other day while staking myself some vampires — you’re welcome — and I realized there were more reasons one might use a SME for…

How I Generated More Ideas for Our Viral Magic

Today, we will look at how I took the knowledge gained from my research and developed more ideas for the viral magic system. That's right, more brainstorming!

The True Strength of Compounding in the Metallic Arts

This, my dedicated friend, is the last post in the Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy series. This is post number twelve and I’ve been waiting over a year to…

The How and Why of My Viral Magic Research

I told you before this post would dig into the details of the magic in Stage 3: Definition… well, I lied. I didn't mean to! Let me explain.
Fighting Parasitic Hemalurgy

Why is the Parasitic Nature of Hemalurgy so Fascinating?

What fascinates me is how Hemalurgy seems to dig and worm its way into the world around it, sapping away vital energies to extend and strengthen its own existence. It…
Aligning Viral Magic

Aligning The Viral Magic System

Today we're taking a stab at aligning our virus-based magic system using the speed-dating exercise. We'll still have plenty of gaps in the end, but this is another step forward.

I Love Mistborn’s Blending of Worldbuilding and Magic

no, I’m not done talking about the trilogy, though today’s topic differs from those we’ve had before. Today we'll look at how the magic connects to the story in a…

Generating Deadly Ideas for Our Viral Magic System

Generating Deadly Ideas for Our Viral Magic System Part 1 of Building a Viral Magic System I’m so excited! This system has been kicking around in my head for over…

Sanderson’s Exploration of the Metallic Arts and Why I Love It

Sanderson’s Exploration of the Metallic Arts And Why I Love It Artwork by Watermother2004 Welcome to Part 9 of Why I Love The Mistborn Trilogy We’ve already discussed the simple…
Virus-Based Magic System

A New Series on How to Build a Virus-Based Magic System

Did you know we’ve been talking and working on building better magic systems for over two years now? Crazy how time flies when you’re talking about something you love. We’ve…
Underused Subjects

20 Underused Subjects for Your Magic System

20 Interesting and Underused Subjects for Your Magic System Welcome back! I’m glad you came willingly and any protests to the contrary will be ignored. If you’ve been following this…
Body Horror of Hemalurgy

Disturbing Body Horror Delivered Courtesy of Hemalurgy

Disturbing Body Horror Delivered Courtesy of Hemalurgy Artwork by Emanuele Desiati"Courtesy of Crafty Games LLC, based on the Mistborn novels by Brandon Sanderson, copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 by…

How to Find a Subject-Matter Expert for Your Magic

How to Find a Subject Matter Expert for Your Magic We’ve covered the basics of using Subject Matter Expertise for your magic and some of the pros and cons of…

Feruchemy: Making Boring Objects Awesome Again

Feruchemy: Making Boring Objects Awesome Again Welcome to Part 7 of Why I Love Mistborn Symbolism is a powerful tool in any writer’s tool belt. This is true whether you’re…

3 Big Reasons to Use Subject Matter Expertise in Your Magic

3 Big Reasons to Use Subject Matter Expertise in Your Magic Welcome back! This is Part II of our little discussion on using Subject Matter Expertise with your magic. A…
Fuel of Allomancy

The Metallic Fuel of Allomancy is Just Awesome

The Metallic Fuel of Allomancy is Just Awesome Welcome to Part 6 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy Artwork by Manuel Castanon There are lots of things I love…
7 Popular Magic System

Types of Magic Part 2: An Analysis of 7 Popular Magic Systems

Welcome back! Let’s get right to it. No time for delay and funny business; I’ve been drinking green tea all day and I’m FREAKEN PUMPED!!! That’s all the silly, I…
tabletop rpgs

Tabletop RPG Resources

This section is more for fun than anything. Tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) continue to grow in popularity and are something I cannot recommend enough. If you’re looking to learn more…

Useful Software Resources

While you can’t be successful without skill, good tools certainly make things easier! Following are various everyday tools and software programs with brief rundowns of their benefits and the best…

Writing Resources

Without a story, very few people will care about the magic system or world you created. Writing is the core skill of most storytelling, be it for novels, games, RPG…

Worldbuilding Resources

While it is easier to find content on worldbuilding than it is for magic-building, some resources are better than others. This page is dedicated to the resources I feel go…

Magic-Building Resources

What? My website isn’t enough for you? Huh? Huh?! Just kidding. I want you to have absolutely EVERYTHING you need to build a kick-ass magic system for your story and…
Non-Magical Counters

Non-Magical Counters in the Mistborn Trilogy

Non-Magical Counters in the Mistborn Trilogy Welcome to Part 5 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy Art Created by Marc Simonetti There are so many cool things you can…

How to Make Building Magic Easy with Subject Matter Expertise

How to Make Building Magic Easy with Subject Matter Expertise Even with everything we’ve discussed in the 4 Stages of Building Marvelous Magic, building a new system is always a…
Steel Inquisitor and Hemalurgy

Hemalurgy and Entropy are Peas in a Scary Pod

Hemalurgy and Entropy are Peas in a Scary Pod Art Created by Marc Simonetti Welcome to Part 4 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy Yup, you read that title…
Stage 0 of Building Marvelous Magic Systems

Stage 0 of Building Marvelous Magic: Where to Start Building

Stage 0 of Building Marvelous Magic: Where to Start Building I have to come clean. I lied to you… and not just about the mystery meat. I said there are…

The True Power of Feruchemy is the Ability to Save It

The True Power of Feruchemy is the Ability to Save It Welcome to Part 3 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy By now, you must know how I feel…

5 Resources to Help You Make A Novel Worthy of Your Magic

5 Resources to Help You Make A Novel Worthy of Your Magic The moment has finally arrived. You’ve worked hard. It’s taken weeks, months, or even years of blood, sweat,…

Allomancy is the Perfect Blend of Physics and Imagination

Allomancy is the Perfect Blend of Physics and Imagination Art Created by Marc Simonetti Welcome to Part 2 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy Let’s get the gushing out…

7 Helpful Ways to Verify You Have a Complete Magic System

"But what if my magic isn’t ready for that? How can I know if it’s finished?" Wow, voice in my head, you always have the best questions. Writing these posts…

The Magic of the Mistborn Trilogy: Simple Yet Versatile

Welcome to Part 1 of Why I Love the Mistborn Trilogy It’s time to confess, I love Brandon Sanderson’s fiction. I’m sure this comes as a shock to many of you……

Exploring the Outstanding Magic from “Passage to Avalon”

Exploring the Outstanding Magic from "Passage to Avalon" Today, we’re going to approach magic systems a little differently. Mike Thayer recently released his first book The Epic Adventures of The…
Broken Magic

3 Quick Steps to Fix Your Broken Magic System

Maybe you're the one who broke it, or maybe someone else pointed it out to you. Either way, you've put a lot of work has gone into your magic system,…
Break Your Magic System

You Should Break Your Magic System Right Now

"Why break my system?" you ask. Simple. Just as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, no magic system survives contact with your readers.
Speed-Dating Your Magic

Speed-Dating Your Magic System in 9 Minutes

Before you can move on to defining your magic in Stage 3, you’ve got to do a basic alignment check on your magic system first. Today, we’re going to walk…

9 Brainstorming Tips and Tricks

Brainstorming and Idea Generation is a vital part of any creative endeavor, and building a magic system is no different. You've got to invent creative effects, decide on rules, build in…

Theories on the Force and Predictions for The Last Jedi

With the next addition to the Star Wars Saga soon to enter our lives, I thought today we could take a quick look at the Force as a Magic System.…
Iterate

Stage 4 of Building Marvelous Magic: Iterate the Process

You generated ideas in Stage 1; you checked the alignment in Stage 2; and you added definition in Stage 3. That means it's time, at long last, to discus the…
Stage 1 of Building Marvelous Magic

Stage 1 of Building Marvelous Magic: Generating ideas

I don’t know exactly where you are relative to the creation of your magic. This could be your first time and this shared intimacy makes you blush, or mayhaps you’ve…
Stage 2 of Building Marvelous Magic

Stage 2 of Building Marvelous Magic: Aligning Your System

Building a Marvelous Magic System is just like any other part of writing fiction: Done correctly, it makes the world come alive, ignites the reader’s imagination, and is completely unique.…
Building Marvelous Magic

The 4 Stages of Building Marvelous Magic

The 4 Stages of Building Marvelous Magic Building a marvelous magic system is just like any other part of writing fiction: When done correctly, it makes the world come alive,…
start your magic

3 Resources You Need to Start Your Magic Now

It doesn’t matter if the inspiration came in the form of your favorite authors latest book, a fever-dream not yet washed from this reality, or 1.21 Gigawatts straight from the…
Killer Book Series

5 Killer Book Series with Awesome Magic

You could say that I’m a fan of magic. You’re right, of course. I’m far more than just a fan. I live for magic, breathing deep the creative fumes until…
Stage 3 of Building Marvelous Magic

Stage 3 of Building Marvelous Magic: Defining Your Magic

Building Marvelous Magic Stage 3: Defining Your System     Maybe you woke up this morning with a brand new magic system bursting from your skull. Or maybe you’ve been…

Three Vital Questions for Trimming Your Magic System

WellHiThere! How are things on the magic front? Any problems trimming your magic system? If I had to guess, I would say… "Hard," and "Yes." But let’s be honest, it’s always…

Do I REALLY Need to Trim My Magic System?

Yes! Here's Seven-ish Reasons Why Hookay, so, here's the world and here's you.    That's You in There The long process of building and planning a magic system has begun, and it's…

Sanderson’s 1st Law of Magic is Broken

Sanderson's 1st Law of Magic Can be Broken *Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links* Welcome back to my series on Building Magic Systems. Last time we talked about Hard and…

Brainstorming Your Magic: 4 Important Questions You Need to Ask

Brainstorming Your Magic: 4 Important Questions You Need to Ask   Welcome back to the series on How to Build/Understand a Magic System. Last time I showed you how important…

4 Reasons Planned Magic is Better Magic

4 Reasons Planned Magic is Better Magic I don’t care if you’re a creator (writer, game designer, or dungeon master) or a consumer (reader, gamer, or whatever), a planned magic…