“Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
“All of the biggest technological inventions created by man – the airplane, the automobile, the computer – says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness.” – Mark Kennedy
“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.” – Arthur Schlesinger
“Magic, like technology, is a tool.” – Mercedes Lackey

Reading Assignments:

These articles are broken up by Magic and Technology. Keep in mind that even if you’re writing a fantasy, your world will have technology of some sort, so you will want to check out the articles in the technology section that aren’t specifically geared toward sci-fi. Also note that there is one article at the top that covers both topics and is good for everyone to read. 

Using magic in your world? Skim each of the articles on magic, and determine which one will work best for you, and go with that one, or however many you like. The three Sanderson articles are meant to follow each other. 

Both Magic & Technology

1.) Four Ways to Limit Magic & Technology – by Em Dash Buck


1.) What’s the Magic Word: Defining the Sources, Effects and Costs of Magic – by Lital Talmor
2.) Know How Your Magic Works – by Jessica Lee.
3.) Sanderson’s First Law of Magics – by Brandon Sanderson
4.) Sanderson’s Second Law of Magics – by Brandon Sanderson
5.) Sanderson’s Third Law of Magics – by Brandon Sanderson
6.) Superpowers Used by superheroes and villains – by Superhero Database (A basic guide to superpowers in comics, which can be similar to magic. This might help give you some ideas for things your characters can do with magic outside of the norm.)


1.) 4 Questions to Ask When Thinking Through Technology – by Gabrielle Massman (Good for Fantasy and Sci-Fi writers.)
2.) Designing Your Spaceship – by Oren Ashkenazi
3.) Practical Spaceship Design for Writers – by Dan Koboldt (This covers a different aspect of design from the other article)
4.) Science in Fantasy – by J.S. Morin (Good for fantasy writers.)
5.) Science Fiction: World Building and Technology – by Bryan Young


Writing Assignments:

 1.) From the Science in Fantasy article, what level of technology does your world have? Why? If you’re writing sci-fi with futuristic technology, what has driven the need for the specific technology of your world?
2.) Describe how your magic system or technology works. Why was this variety of technology or magic created? Why is it practiced in this way? Who can practice it? Who can operate the technology?


Class Discussion:

1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before. This is also a good place to reintroduce yourself, if necessary. 

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Write for 15 minutes: The expository lump: This is the scene a writer uses to explain to the reader the correct way to tie a tie, mull wine, or explain how the bug-powered car works. Do you have a futuristic technology or a mystical magic you would like to spell out for the reader? Write a scene, involving at least two people, in which this process is going on, either in the background of a conversation, or as the locus of the action. Keep the description specific and concrete. Make the various steps clear to the reader, but tell it so that the reader doesn’t realize they’re learning how to do something. By “composting” the information: breaking it up, spreading it out, and slipping it into conversation or action-narration or anywhere you can make it go without it feeling lumpy. Write a few paragraphs. 
2.) Split into smaller groups, if necessary. Each person gets a chance to read their 15 minutes of writing. 
3.) After each person reads, others give feedback: a) What worked? b) What needs more work? Be as specific as you can.

Group Assignments:

1.) Split into small groups based on whether you have more technology or magic in your world. Share your magic systems or technology and help each other work out the kinks. 

LTWF: World-Building Course Syllabus