After the last couple weeks, I thought I’d talk a bit about the conception and early development of one of my current projects. This one has been taking most of my writing time lately, I suppose enough to call it my primary focus for the time being.
The setting’s working title is simply “The Tower” for the focal element.
The Tower was conceived during a point when I was frustrated with Lev Grossman while reading The Magicians. It was a point when I was rather fed up with what I dubbed “Harry Potter for nihilists”. At that stage, the setting was intended to only be a single location. It was not intended to expand. And Earth, although connected, was meant to be nothing more than some relatively vague development that was present as window dressing and a place that characters came from.
The idea was a magical education facility attached to Earth, but not on Earth. Which brought the question: why? Why? Because training in certain kinds of magic is deemed too dangerous to be undertaken on Earth—they’re safe to use on Earth, by trained individuals, but the training process itself has too much potential for disaster (including property damage and damage to the magical community’s concealment from mundane humans).
That sort of developed the basic world idea and some other elements.
I wasn’t entirely certain what, if anything, to do with the setting, except build it as a thought experiment.
Then I started thinking about magic school stories. It occurred to me that I haven’t seen anyone take a magic school from the perspective of the faculty. I suspect this is because of the shared experience idea. Everyone’s been a student at some point, so we’ve all shared that experience. Fewer people have formal teaching experience, so the experience is less widely shared, less relatable.
That just bounced around in my head for a while, vaguely with no real formation or concrete feel to it.
A few days, maybe a week, later I was doing some chores around the house, washing dishes I think. The relatively mindless activity let my mind wander around random stuff. Somewhere during that load of dishes, an introductory lecture on the nature of magic in the world popped into my head. I suspect I was thinking about the world’s magic system and how it worked. Long story short, I wrote down the lecture (290 words), kept going, and somehow expanded that lecture into a scene, the scene acquired a plot, and the whole thing is currently over 4700 words with a 23,500 word incomplete world build.