Okay, there are spoilers ahead. So click away from this email and listen to “Hooked on a Feeling.” Because that song is amazing. You also might want to head on over to your local movie theater to actually see the film because despite what I am about to say here, it is actually an awesome movie.
Okay, are the people who have seen the movie the only ones left?
Wait, you in the back. I know you haven’t seen it. Go away now. Please.
I am saying this for your own good. Grab some popcorn and watch the movie.
Okay, to quote Tommy James & the Shondells, I think we are alone now.
Nobody kill me, but the biggest writing lesson I got from Avengers: Endgame is its biggest flaw.
Magic needs rules that make sense, y’all.
Or in their case, time travel needs rules.
You can argue you with me that they technically had rules of time travel, but they were quite frankly nonsense.
When you travel back in time, it affects the future. It is literally impossible for it not to. Also, how do you solve the multiple versions of a person problem? For example, Nebula is dead, and she isn’t?
Color me confused.
So for all my beloved fantasy/sci-fi writers, you need to have logical rules to your magic. One of my friends said people need to treat it like science, and I can’t agree with it more.
Actually take the time to develop rules for your magic system. But don’t stop there. Take it one step further. Ask yourself: Does this make sense? Will this cause any snarls in my narrative?
You want your magic rules to create good problems. An example of a good rule? Your heroine has to make a fraught choice because of limits to her magic. This helps create good conflict and develops your character.
Bad rules of magic make me wonder what happens to people’s marriages or assets after they come back to life five years later. (Seriously, creators, you couldn’t have set it a month later?)
So make sure your rules of magic are more Back to the Future and less Avengers: Endgame.