If your creative writing tends toward the fantastical (as mine does), no doubt you’ve spent hours coming up with either a complete magic system (for fantasy worlds) or complex technology (for sci-fi stories). To be as effective as possible, I’d highly recommend one of the most amazing creative writing resources: Brandon Sanderson’s Three Laws of Magic.

The Three Laws of Magic (created by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson) are by far the best and simplest guideline to follow when developing your magic/technology system for sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction worlds. They will help you to avoid those terrible clichĂ©s (such as “overpowered villains” or “supernaturally effective heroes”), and will help to keep the fantastical elements as “believable” as possible.

The Three Laws are as follows:

First Law: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.

The more the reader understands the magic, the more it can be used to solve conflicts. Magic should NEVER be used as a sort of “deus ex machina”, a miraculous solution to help the heroes overcome insurmountable odds.

Second Law: Limitations > Power

Magic should never be the easy solution. Magic users should always struggle with the limitations of their power. Not only does it create good character conflict, but it helps to make things realistic.

Third Law: Expand on what you have already, before you add something new.

This law will help to prevent you from escalating your magic systems, which could send them out of control.


I’d STRONGLY recommend you visit the Coppermind website and read the complete descriptions of these three laws. They are vital to follow if you want to create believable magic/tech systems, and will help to writer better characters and stories as well. Follow them like your life (as an author) depends on it!