Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sorcery in all its detail

I am currently reading my first Brandon Sanderson book (Mistborn) and I really enjoy his writing. The magic system of the Allomancers is a great idea and I wish I had thought of it first. His descriptions are very well done. I can see the people and places in my mind as I read. I strive for the same thing in my writing though I am not sure if I am as successful as Sanderson. This brings up a question:

How many readers enjoy having the system of sorcery within a story explained in detail? Is it better to leave it a mystery?

In Mistborn, I love the whole idea of different metals giving different powers, etc. At the same time, in Tolkien's work, he doesn't explain the extent of Gandalf's powers or how he goes about casting a spell, right? This makes the reader wonder about old Mithrandir. How powerful is he? How does he do what he does?

Both methods work, I believe.

What is your preference?

Snowed quite a bit overnight and into the morning here in the St. Louis area. Took the opportunity to give our little boy his first experience in the snow. Little bit of sledding, snow angels and a sad attempt at snowman-building. He enjoyed it immensely as did my wife and I. Everything's melting outside now, the sun shining very bright through the windows. Snow looks nice, but I very much dislike the cold. I know, what am I doing in St. Louis? Yeah, I ask myself that question frequently. Lol.

Have a great day,



  1. Lol... So tell me about the cold. I'll sit here and laugh at you, since it was 18 below here last week. :) I think the detail with which you explain your magic system depends on whether or your plot hinges on magic failing to be helpful at key points or it hinges on only very clever use of the already-known rules coupled with some fast thinking from the characters to make it useful. In either case knowing the rules and why the situation is a problem is great. In a 'no rules' situation, you have to use magic much more sparingly or it becomes deus ex machina and your characters never have to do the hard work of getting themselves out of trouble.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It's nowhere near as cold now as it was when I complained. Lol.

  2. I'm at Scott AFB! Crazy I didn't know you were in the St. Louis area! I tried Sanderson's Mistborn series but I ended up quitting book 2, it just wasn't for me. I plan on giving The Way of Kings a try though...

    1. That is pretty crazy! I'm nearly finished with the first Mistborn book and for the most part I liked it. I'll have to see where the story goes in book 2. I like the setting that he created and the characters were cool. Thanks for commenting!