Magical Academy books are a popular trend in the Romance, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance genres. But some people struggle to write them or have no idea where to get started. This quick five point list should help you.
- A magical world
- An interesting school setting
- A heroine
- A romance
- Personal threats and threats against the community
Some of these are basic requirements for the niche. You need magic and you need a school for the story to be a Magical Academy book. But the latter three points are just good practise, these are the things that people expect and want. If you choose not to include a heroine, a romance, or multiple levels of threat, then you could still do really well. But it might be tougher and you would be cutting off a lot of potential readers.
Here are the five points for boosting your writing and making your Magical Academy book or series as popular as possible.
- A Magical World. Every Magical Academy needs a magical world to be magic in. This is a statement that sounds too obvious to be said, but it’s as good a place to start off as anything else. Decide how far reaching magic is, is it available to anyone with the skill or money to train in it? Or is it a hidden secret far from the world’s eye? What kind of magic is it? Can people be brought back from the dead as easily as snapping your fingers (well, for those of us who are able to snap our fingers)? Or is it more about speaking to animals and the spirits of nature? Are there a dozen different schools which each take a different view? Or is there just one and you’d better hope that the teacher’s on staff know what you want to ask or else you’re out of luck? This is the sort of thing that you need to decide for your world, because once you know what the style of magic is and how the political and social mores reflect this, you can work out how the world the story is set in will shape the story.
- An interesting school setting. The setting for a Magical Academy book is often an over looked but hugely important part of the world building. Now, before you start worrying about mapping out every inch of the campus for your Magical Academy story, don’t. Ultimately you only need to work out which parts of the campus your character is going to see. This is mostly going to be; dormitories, where they eat (picnic tables, cantines, and feasting halls are all popular) , classrooms, hallways and corridors, and the outer shell of all the buildings these things take place in. You might also need to add play and leisure areas, magical forests, or stone circles depending on the story you want to tell. If you are writing a series there is no need to give away all the secrets in the first volume. If the character doesn’t need to know about the Pegasus Stables just yet, you don’t need to talk about it. But, on the other hand, if you know that it is going to be a big deal in a later book, a little bit of foreshadowing might be in order. Basically this has to be up to you. But generally speaking less is more, you don’t want to hit your reader over the head with a architecture textbook.
- A heroine. Now you might disagree with this one and, fair enough, Harry Potter is the most famous protagonist of a Magical Academy book series of all time. But generally speaking the majority of this niche is populated with young women and teenage girls. This is likely because of the change in target audience that has happened in the niche. Harry Potter was Harry rather than Harriet because the target was the under ten demographic and the logic at the time was that you couldn’t get boys to read about girls. But now the target is teenage girls and young women, so the main character has changed to match them.
- A romance. Since Paranormal Romance is a major part of the make up of this niche a Romance popping up is pretty obviously necessary. The romances are rarely uncomplicated and instead are used to add an additional level of suspense to the plot. There is usually some back and forth, betrayal, imagined or real, or an obstacle that prevents the romantic leads from getting a chance to be together. Sometimes it is nothing more than a misunderstanding, other times it really is just as serious an issue as the people involved think it is. However, readers tend to be irritated when it is an issue that could be fixed with a short conversation. It is a cliche that has been used too much and now people just roll their eyes at it. Often these romances come under one of these descriptions;
- Love Triangle (or Love Chevron/Square, etc.)
- Reverse Harem
- Bully Romance
- Personal threats and threats against the community. This is one that people tend not to notice at first, but when you look back on the data it is very clear. There is usually a threat against the world, a evil Lord Voldemort style character who is the obvious threat of the series. But they cannot be everywhere and constantly on show, otherwise the reader will get bored of them and wonder why they haven’t done anything yet. So, a secondary plot comes in and features a threat on a smaller scale. This might be a rival, or a belligerent teacher, or an exam, it’s something that keeps the suspense and tensions going in between battles, and pulls the reader in since generally people are more able to understand the threat of expulsion than they are a potential ripping apart of the veils between worlds, or what have you.
There are other things needed for a good Magical Academy book, of course. But paying attention to these five will help boost your writing. Good luck and leave a comment if you have any more questions!
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