The Writer, her Muse, and three brand new fictives have hashed out an idea for the July Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) event. Now it’s time to do some worldbuilding to figure out just what sort of world the wedding will take place in…
The World According to Bunnies
“We’re going to be working with a world where magic exists, but is relatively rare. It’s not hidden so much as, well, overlooked by the non-magical folks.” The Writer swiped right on the endless whiteboard until she got to a clear section and drew a normal distribution graph on the whiteboard.
“On the left 0.05 percent or so, we have the humans with natural magical ability. On the right are the magical creatures that are actively passing for humans in the normal world: selkies, fae, kitsune, werewolves, kelpies, and whatnot.” She colored in the left red and the right green.
“Then another 0.05 percent on each side are cross-breeds with some magical ability.” The Writer fading the color out to the 1% and 99% marks.
“So if there are 7.6 billion ‘people’ in the world, then 35 million of them are non-humans and another 35 are wizards or magicians or whatever. Plus 76 million crossbreeds,” said the friend-fictive who was sitting on the floor collecting a warren of magical plot bunnies. She stared thoughtfully at the bunnies. “That’s enough that it would affect the way the world worked, wouldn’t it?”
“Eh… maybe? The closer folks are to the edges, the more magical they are. Most of the human population are here in the middle, with maybe a tiny bit of magic in them from a distant relative, but not enough to notice magical stuff.” The Writer stepped back to look at her graph.
An parchment-hued alternate history plot bunny hopped over and sniffed noses with the growing urban fantasy herd. They was much exchanging of magic glitter.
The Writer forcefully ignored them… but the bunnies didn’t seem to mind.
“Wait, you’re telling me that if something magical happens right in front of someone who isn’t in that 2% and, they’re just going to ignore it?” The cousin-fictive said, arms crossed and looking incredibly unimpressed with both the bunnies and the Writer. “That’s stupid. Also, we need names.”
“Fine, fine,” the Writer paused to look over the three fictives.
“Cousin-fictive, your name is Niall, which is Irish, so I declare you to be a selkie crossbreed because seals are annoying and you are annoying.”
Niall was even less impressed.
“Friend-fictive, you are Jenn and you are either a human or a human wizard.” The Writer paused thoughtfully, then shrugged. “I have no clue which yet, we’ll find out later I suppose.”
Jenn grinned and tried not to sparkle.
“Employee-fictive, you are Mikael and at the moment you are a Church Grim in human form,” the Writer decided. “Or a werewolf, I’m sort of torn.”
“I’m good with either,” said Mikael. “But I go by Mika, it sounds friendlier for the tourists.”
“Sure, whatever,” the Writer was already back to staring at her bell curve now that names had been assigned. “How do they ignore the magic if it’s right in front of them?”
The Muse and Niall had already broken each of the story chapters down into three sections, so that each one mimicked the larger story arc. Everyone had been brainstorming ideas earlier of things that could go wrong and the edges of the whiteboard were covered in colored doodles.
“They either ignore it, or their brain will reclassify it as something normal,” offered the Muse after a pause. She frowned at the doodles thoughtfully. “So werewolf attacks are human or wolf attacks. Magic fireballs are normal explosions. Mind control is just someone being persuasive. Stuff like that.”
“But seriously, we’re saying 2% of the population is magical?” the Niall asked. “That’s 150 million people, give or take. Wouldn’t it really break the world to have that many magic users around?”
“0.2% is really magical, the other 1.8% are magical-ish… I’d say maybe 0.5% could actually do magic and the 1.3% would be able to recognize it for what it was, most of the time.” The Writer looked at the board thoughtfully. “So in a small town of 1000, there would be 20 magic-ish folks, 5 crossbreeds who could do magic, and 2 of whom were truly magic– one human and one human-ish.”
“That’s not unreasonable, I guess,” said Jenn who had just sworn allegiance to the plot bunny warren. “So what kind of magic are the folks getting married? Can I please be magical too?” She looked hopefully up at the Writer.
The Writer was not amused, but she had a weakness for puppy dog eyes. “Well if the plot is going to revolve around magical things going wrong… I suppose all three of you would need to be magical.”
“You might not know each other though,” pointed out the Muse. “So you’d have no way of knowing if the other folks were magic or not.”
“That could be a plot point, I suppose,” Mika said. “Where we assume one way or the other and it causes issues.”
“But the cousin and I should know each other, shouldn’t we?” Jenn looked over at Niall. “Or were you dragged along to this without really knowing the family? Your parents could have been invited with a ‘bring the family’ sort of invite. Depends on how expensive this is and how many people are coming.”
“It can’t be that large or important of a wedding, or there would be folks in place to stop the sort of shenanigans we’ll be dealing with,” said Niall. “And I’m fine with not knowing about you, I’ve got lots of cousins so not knowing the childhood best friend of one of them isn’t that unexpected.”
“It would make more sense if they just assumed everyone at the wedding was magically,” said the Muse as she frowned at the whiteboard. “These are two magical or semi-magical families getting married. There’s no reason for them to include non-magical people or to choose a venue that isn’t setup to handle them. So one of you could be a mundane without being obvious.”
“Anywho,” said the Writer. “Let’s deal with that later. Now– what other worldbuilding do we need to have for this wedding?”
“What kind of magic do the humans get to use?” asked the Muse.
“All kinds, but all at very low power levels. As soon as we introduce anything like battle magics, the world is toast.” The Writer gave the plot bunnies a stern look and the sparkled innocently. “So magic takes effort and tires out the caster, that applies to humans and non-humans. Affecting non-living things is easy and the more sentient the targets get, the hard they are to work with.”
“Which means no crazy magical dangers,” Jenn sighed. “Oh well, I suppose there’s plenty of semi-magical shenanigans to be had.”
“So are there magical police?” Mika frowned. “I mean, if the mundanes can’t even tell we’re being magical, the normal police wouldn’t notice us doing things wrong. So does that mean we sort of police ourselves?”
“There’d have to be,” Niall agreed. “But I doubt they’d play much of a role in the story, otherwise we wouldn’t be the ones trying to save the wedding. Although, to be fair, if you’re a church grim then you sort of are the police. Or at least the armed guard.”
“I think we need to figure out the story before we know what else we’ll need,” said Jenn. “We don’t know why anything is going wrong yet and maybe that will give us the hints on what else we need to build.”
“It’s colored markers and index cards time then!” said the Writer happily as she pulled out her box of art supplies. “TO THE OUTLINE!”