My three-year-old tells me stories about crocodiles. She loves them. Not as though she wants one as a pet, but she loves using them as villains.

Which may seem weird because I don't really write fantasy. But magic systems are much more than just magic. A magic system envisions the richer, deeper roots of the world and explores how each root connects beneath the surface of the story.

Character has taken on many iterations over the years. They are often considered the protagonist when we first think about character in our stories but character is anyone who passes through.

Most often, the books I read guide me to the type of book they are in the first paragraph, first page, or at least by the end of the first chapter. Think about how the first paragraph of a book sets the scene or the mood, not only for what's taking place at that moment but also pointing to the mood of the book beyond those early pages. ...