My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Best Magic System (Semifinal 2)

What is the best magic system in fiction?

Even though it's late, and we're going to be collect nominations for our February poll soon, our January poll continues.

Our second semifinal poll results will go up next Wednesday (as well as the final poll).  So don't waste any time voting.

Everyone will get four votes (4). The top five names of each poll will go on to the final round. Before you simply vote for your favorite four, consider that, as there is no ranking of those four votes; each vote beyond one dilutes the power of your choices a little more. So if you have a genuine favorite–or pair of favorites–it's better to use as few votes as possible.

The poll itself is on the left side, at the bottom of the side menus.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Best Intentions (Personal Update)

Please don't forget that Thursday is usually our day for guest blogs. I don't have any submissions for today but if YOU'D like to be featured in the weeks ahead, please take a glance at our guest blogging guidelines and drop me a line at chris.brecheen@gmail.com

I really was going to try to get the second semifinal poll up today. Polls are pretty easy to get up even though they take some time and energy on another website to create. Then tomorrow I was going to do a bigger update.   

And then THIS happened.

I am become pestilence, plaguer of worlds.

I spent three-hours in the midnight hour crying, "Cough. Cough. Cough." *puts on sunglasses and pumps right fist* With a rebel yell, I cried "Cough. Cough. Cough." (If you don't get that, it's because I make thirty-year old pop-culture references; don't worry about it.)

I'll never know for sure if I wouldn't have gotten sick anyway (The Contrarian did cough into my open mouth at one point near the apex of his own cold), but I'm sure being absolutely emotionally REKT and stressed to the edge of my breaking point dealing with cancer didn't help. Last week I put in 82 hours and had a series of 16 hour days.

My brain isn't melting in my pan. It's just a rotten cold. There is probably some "it" sucking up that this cupcake could do. But my "Shrug It Off™" tanks are critically low, and I may need whatever reserves I have for the almost daily emergency doctor visits and last second tag-ins.

So....I am going for the jazziest of hands today, and then bedrest. And I think T.C. and I might have to do a Pixar marathon this afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll get that second semifinal poll up, and if I get a lot of work done this weekend, I'll have a personal update on Monday as well as something that's actually "About Writing" on Friday.

~blows you all kisses and promises this blog is going to stop sucking soon~

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Best Magic System (Semifinal 1 Results)

Our first semifinal poll for best magic system is done, and everything above Elemental Magic will be going on to the final round. I was sad to see Bujold do so poorly, but the readers have spoken.

Stay tuned later in the day for the second half of this poll to go up so we're not wasting any time. Remember round two you'll be deciding which five titles will go on to the final round from this list:

Earthsea- LeGuin
Dragon Knight- Dickson
Discworld- Pratchett
Draegera- Brust
Cousins O'Dwyer- Roberts
Kingkiller Chronicles- Rothfuss
Riddlemaster of Hed-McKillip
His Dark Materials-Pullman

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Last Chance to Vote

What is the best magic system in fiction?  

In the past couple of months, the polls that go into semifinal rounds seem to really have the wind taken out of their sails, so I'm trying to combat that effect by having the semifinal turnover be extra fast and run the final poll only for a little over a week. Maybe by keeping the whole thing contained in the original month, we can keep the energy up.

That means our first semifinal round is almost over already.  Tomorrow we'll tabulate results and put up the new poll.

Everyone will get four votes (4). The top five names of each poll will go on to the final round. Before you simply vote for your favorite four, consider that, as there is no ranking of those four votes; each vote beyond one dilutes the power of your choices a little more. So if you have a genuine favorite–or pair of favorites–it's better to use as few votes as possible.

The poll itself is on the left side, at the bottom of the side menus.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Through: The Only Way Out

Note: This should have been Friday's entry, but (as is probably going to happen from time to time for the next 18 weeks) we got combo-attacked here at The Hall of Rectitude. The Contrarian got sick and couldn't do normal child care, and chemo hit harder than anyone was ready for. When Uberdude went back to work, I was needed for monumental amounts of tag ins and help. So....late post.

I know a lot of writers who don't really write. They express a florid love of writing. They wax prolific about their deep commitment to their craft. They seem to have no end of ambition to be writers. But they don't do a lot of actual writing.

If that's you, that's okay. I won't tell. I'm not the writer police. You decide your own level of involvement in writing. If it brings you happiness, then it has achieved everything that art should do. I might arch a Spock eyebrow if you complain that you're not a bestselling author, or are bitter that you can't pay the bills on three hours a week's worth of effort. But if you're happy with writing when the mood strikes, then more power to ya. Seriously.

But this post is not for you.

This post is for those who sit down every day and write. For those who carve out the time from even the most dogged of schedules. Not because of some newly polished commitment to be better about the discipline of writing in hopes of achieving its far flung accolades of wealth, prestige, and groupie threesomes. Rather for those who get antsy if they skip a day. Who begin to feel frustrated and emotional if they miss two. Who will be a total emotional wreck if they skip a week.

For you all I have something to say.

For you all I have something important to say.

For we talk a lot about habits and discipline. We talk a lot about the cost of even the tiniest measure of "success." We talk about sitting down every day, preferably at the same time every day because that's how writers carve out the kind of prodigious body of works upon which a career might be formed.

We also talk about not letting our writing lapse. For sometimes writing is hard. And sometimes its a burden. And sometimes we'd rather be doing something else like scoring critical strikes on super mutants in Boston. And sometimes we have to do something else like sit in a hospital and curse the gods for the day they thought of cancer.

But deep down in places that sound to maudlin to express, we know that writing–for us–isn't just some long slogging path to a milestone of success. It's not some grueling pace we put ourselves through that can be taken or left if we decide we have better things to do that week than trying to Become Writers™.  We don't write because we're going somewhere. The writing is not a means to an end. The writing is the end itself.

I don't know what's going to happen to you, but the way life works is that it will. For me it was my girlfriend of ten years getting stage two lymphoma and a tumor the size of a softball. For you...I don't know. Death, disease, injury, illness....there are so many possibilities life has to throw at you.

But here's the important part. You have to keep your relationship to writing in mind. If you can take it or leave it before tragedy strikes (and it will) you can probably take it or leave it when you're dealing with the tragedy. You don't suddenly transform into another creature when crisis hits. You aren't magically someone who is just fine not writing for days or weeks at a time. You can't suddenly put it off to the side because life is more important.

For you, everything everyone is saying around you about self care or possibly about not being able to help others if you aren't taking care of yourself goes for writing as well. Right under "eating" and "getting some sleep," you have to add "Write a little."

This isn't optional. This isn't an indulgence or a frivolity. It's not decadent and it's not selfish. It's how we process. It's how we align. It's our therapy (or some of our therapy). And in a very real way it's how we meditate, our fingers flying over keys as our brains spin our emotions and nebulous into words.

This is what you need to keep going. Not want. Not "if there's time." Need. It's as important as your calories and melatonin to your proper functioning. You have to sit and write a little. It doesn't have to be six chapters of your magnum opus. It could be an email to some friends or a few minutes in a journal. Just a little. But you have to do it to be okay, and whatever this tragedy is, it did not change that part of you. Your relationship to writing doesn't simply end because something's come up.

For us, writing is our lifeline. And take it from someone who forgot for a few days and kind of broke down a little until he sat and wrote and felt at least like he had enough gas in the tank to keep going, you have to do this. Eat. Sleep. And write a little.

For us, writing is the way through.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Best Magic System (Semifinal 1)

What is the best magic system in fiction?  

Most creative? Most unique? Most understandable? Whatever draws us to magic in stories, it is usually the limitations and systems under which they operate. But which magic system is the best?

Our January poll is live. With eighteen nominations, we will have to do two semifinal polls to narrow down which magic systems will end up on our final poll.

The semifinal polls will go FAST. I'll put this one up until next Wednesday and the following one until the Tuesday after that. Then we'll run the finals into February while I gather nominations for whatever February poll is going to be.

Round two will include:

Earthsea- LeGuin
Dragon Knight- Dickson
Discworld- Pratchett 
Draegera- Brust
Cousins O'Dwyer- Roberts
Kingkiller Chronicles- Rothfuss
Riddlemaster of Hed-McKillip
His Dark Materials-Pullman

Everyone will get four votes (4). The top five names of each poll will go on to the final round. Before you simply vote for your favorite four, consider that, as there is no ranking of those four votes; each vote beyond one dilutes the power of your choices a little more. So if you have a genuine favorite–or pair of favorites–it's better to use as few votes as possible.

The poll itself is on the left side, at the bottom of the side menus.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cancer Update

We are home. The first round of chemo went well. And just so you understand "going well" for chemo is pretty much total ass from beginning to end. This enters the territory of things I wouldn't wish on enemies.

Uberdude went back to work programming crime fighting robots today and we immediately felt the absence.

The Contrarian got sick, so regular childcare in the mornings isn't an option right now. I'm still kicking down 16 hour days between housework, watching the kid, running errands, and directly helping out from minute to minute. I have had to ferret away a few minutes to write–mostly e-mails and a few journal scribblings.

While I hope bigger and better posts are coming soon, they might honestly not be ready until next week. I'll put up the best magic system poll tomorrow and if I can pull off some magic myself, by Friday I should have something to show for this week.

I don't have much of a folksy wisdom lesson to dispense today. This is as good as it will get.

1) Fuck cancer.

2) Though I'll write more about this soon, if you or someone you love gets some horrible illness or injury, just remember your relationship to writing. If it's your cute little hobby that you don't mind shoving to the back burner, fine. But if it's your lifeline, you keep that sucker tethered and find a few minutes to keep smithing words. If you're like me, writing is important to being someone else's support as rest and eating right. No matter HOW busy you get, you have to remember that. Writing isn't an interruption that takes you out of your emergency. For you, it's the tunnel through.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Best Magic System (Nominations and Seconds Needed)

What is the best magic system in fiction?  

Despite the terrible news of the last two weeks (update coming hopefully tomorrow), let's keep our January poll going. We need nominations for the best magic system in fiction.

Mostly though, we need "seconds" for the existing nominations. Nothing without a second will be going on to our poll.

Please, please, please go back to the original post to make your nominations. Or I will think you hate me and weep bitter tears. Plus that's where all the already-nominated magic systems are for you to second.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why I Literally Can't Even (Personal Update)

Most of you out there are probably wishing cancer would go fuck itself because of recent celebrity news.

I have a slightly more personal reason for my antagonism and the intensity of my desire for auto-fornicaton.

Allow me to drop my superhero realism for just a moment, for just one post, and tell you why you haven't seen any updates this week (and been a bit flakey for the last three and kind of slow on the uptake since November).  Why I'd been helping my partner more and more with child care, housekeeping, and shopping. And why even though I hope to kick things back up by Monday, we may still have quite a bit of jazz hands going on.

You know this woman as Sonic Gal. You know her as The Brain. But as those of you who've gone rooting around with your decoder rings have undoubtedly put together, she is also Supportive Girlfriend and she has a two year old son who moonlights here at Writing About Writing as The Contrarian. She is also the family member of whom I spoke in past entries when I mentioned that health problems meant that I might have to blog a little less and take care of my family a little more.

On Friday, we found out what was causing the strange constellation of symptoms that we've been dealing with lately. The shortness of breath, the chest pains, the fatigue. The anemia that blood transfusions didn't seem to help.

On a follow up to a routine exam a week ago today, the raised bump caused alarm. She has been in the hospital ever since undergoing one test after another.

Lymphoma. Stage 2.  (I won't bore you with the exact sub type.)

In the cancer world, it's not the best news you can get (I sure would have preferred prostate, stage one–plus think of all the awesome jokes I could have made!), but it's far far far from the worst. Lymphoma responds well to chemotherapy. Surgery and radiation usually aren't even needed. And it's miles from her pancreas. Still, I'm trying really hard not to translate that 70% prognosis into a memory of every time I needed to roll a 15 or better to hit an orc in Dungeons and Dragons and ended collecting type B treasure within minutes.

So that's what's going on. That's why there haven't been any posts this week–not even some self flagellating article about how hard it is to write write when life hits but you have to keep doing it anyway. That's why you might have heard a scream from the relative direction of Oakland that sounded a bit like "Fuck cancer!" That's why the weeks of chemo might have to continue our current tradition of a high ratio of jazz hands. That's why a lot of the personal updates for the next few weeks might involve a lot of shitty stories about emotional inventories and cope tanks or some crap like that.

And most of all that's why I'm going to keep telling you motherfuckers not to waste a damned day waiting for your lives to be perfect enough to go write. Or horseback ride. Or sculpt wavy kelp kartoshes. Or design rainbow Chia pet menageries.  Or follow your damned bliss however it calls to you.

If it is writing, get out there today, find a second hand card table, set it up in the laundry room next to the nasty ass cat box, wake up 30 minutes early every morning when no creature of sound mind stirs, sit down with your pencil and paper because you aren't going to wait for when you can afford to buy a computer, and and fucking write.  Because you might be a thirty-four year old mother of a two year old when life decides to give you it's biggest lesson yet on how the universe and existence are many, many things (some of which are even sublime and breathtaking), but fair is not on the list. And that moment where it is all going to go pear shaped is coming faster than you think.

But let's not quite end this post RIGHT there.

I didn't pick superheroes as my running metaphor for the people closest to me because they're lazy and have crippling ennui. There's a softball sized clump of cells pressing up against her heart and lungs that is about have its free ride rudely interrupted by being treated like the villain in a Marvel movie by of one fucking hell of a fighter. (Believe me; I fight with her regularly.)

Today they put a hole in her (called a port) so that she could pour toxic chemicals straight into her body that will murder the part of her that is holding her back.

And if that's not badass superhero shit, I don't know what is.

Wish us luck. We didn't plan to shift the focus to how to write while being a support to a loved one, but it seems the universe has other plans, and the next chapter of Writing About Writing has already begun.

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Later Than You Think (Personal Update)

Yep. There's no post today (beyond this). Probably not tomorrow either. And in a day or two (as soon as I'm not either living in a hospital or taking care of a toddler so that Uberdude can live in a hospital) I'll tell you why. And you will say "We totally understand Chris!"

And it won't make anything better.

But for now let me just say this and please hear me: If your soul burns to write. Write. (Or draw. Or jump off cliffs in your motorcycle and hang glider. Or whatever.) Don't wait for the opportunity to be perfect or that one obstacle to go away or the time when work isn't going to be so rough or the kids to go to school or the planets to align or to get that snazzy laptop or when you can dig out the old sewing room and make it into an office. Find some time and space and write.

Because one thing you absolutely positively unequivocally do not have an endless supply of is tomorrows.

It's later than you think.

Friday, January 8, 2016

December's Best

Looks more like you fell face first in the NUTELLA, brah.
It's now January, and time to tally up the best articles from December to go on to fame and fortune in our Best of WAW menu. Plus we have to get the monthly best articles squared away so we can do the year's ten best (which always means going back and recalibrating the new month's three best).

Anyway, that's behind-the-scenes crap that will all magically appear to have sorted itself out by Monday. In the meantime, here are December's best:

Some Bad News
I put it off as long as I could, but the blog needs a temporary slowdown.

Fridging: Who's Dying for Whom?
Killing a character just for the emotional blow it will deliver to your main character is already cheap writing, but you can make it even worse if you ignore the usual tropes of this time honored tactic.

The Year of Fail in Review
I did not hit a single goal I set out to hit in 2015. Not...ONE.

Clearly y'all love seeing me fall face first into the mud.

And you know what, that's okay. That's good even.

You should see me fall face first. You should see me swan dive into that shit with a barbaric yawp.

Because first of all, you should know that it happens. Writers aren't some mythical creatures who transcend their physical lives and never go through some serious shit or it doesn't affect them or they can just write on despite grief or incredible stress or 16 hour day job work days. They aren't work horses who never take a break. They aren't magical machines churning out a set word count no matter what. When I say I write every day, I don't mean that I blog every day or even that I have the intestinal fortitude TO blog every day. I sometimes mean my angry emo journal where I gripe about not having groupie threesomes –a journal that will never see the light of day.

You should also know how writing works. It's work. In the same way sometimes health problems make someone have to miss a lot of work, they might make someone miss a lot of writing. Some fucking leprechaun doesn't squat over your head and shit out a rainbow nugget turd of inspiration that causes books to spring fully formed from writers fingers with no more effort than it takes to type. You have to know writers (even the writers that we all have on posters over our beds [or is that just me?]) have times when their brains are just not as much in the game.

Writing About Writing is a real time exercise in meta writing as much as it is anything else. In three years, you've watched me build an audience, write every day, go through some incredible periods of productivity, refine my approach, start and abandon projects, and now fall absolutely flat on my face. If GRR Martin has a bad year, you just hear that it's going to be a little longer for his next book. If Stephen King has a bad year, you just wonder when he's going to hit the bestseller list again. These authors all have bad months, but you don't get to see it affecting their productivity in real time.

There is some tiny particle of good news on the horizon. Now that the holidays are all in the rear view mirror, The Hall of Rectitude is looking for a new morning sitter for the Contrarian, so I can get my old writing hours back. I'll still be probably doing fifty hours a week or more of househusbandry until the immediate health crisis is over, but at least some time will be carved out.

Edit: Within moments of writing this, medical circumstances revealed themselves that made things much worse rather than better. I'll put as many details as I can up on Monday, but this may at least go on for another week or two.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What now, NaNoWriMo? Three Steps to Take From Here.

I did NaNoWriMo in September, because of scheduling conflicts. I finished the first draft of the first draft in just over thirty days. I gave it a rewrite over another month, and now I had a real First Draft I could send out to Beta Readers, which I did at the end of October. Now, after the first round of Beta reads are in, I am working on Draft Two of Book Three in The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series. By no means did I think this book was anywhere close to finished at the end of September, or even the end of October, but the first draft had reached a satisfactory move-on moment. My wonderful readers got back quickly and with solid comments. I didn’t think I’d get further than setting out basic structure in what is ultimately a forced first draft of PART of a novel. I didn’t.

After digesting the comments, cleaning three closets, baking two batches of cookies and a cake, I read the first two books in the series (they are REALLY GOOD!  Surprise!) and noted some minor inconsistencies I — oops — need to correct and explain in this book. I have taken one Big Comment about the beginning, and been working on that all week. I think I am much closer, maybe only nit-picks away from moving on. I don’t think anything else I need to do is as complicated as writing a good first chapter in a series book. We’ll see when I get further on. Planting seeds for Book Four, about which I have as yet no idea, isn’t going to be easy.

The NaNo format is not far off from my natural process — I write intensively, in spurts — but the specific NaNo format allows for no pauses, racing at breakneck speed until one reaches either the Magic Number or the End of the Draft, whichever comes first. Now, NaNo is over, you’re exhausted and you have crashed with your manuscript saved to a flash drive, your hard drive and the Cloud — but in truth you’ve only just begun. You can’t keep up that pace forever. You must do laundry someday. You must learn to work with the pauses.

Life goes on, and writing isn’t something you just do for a month, is it? Writers write, don’t they? Writers also have to pay their bills, go to the store, clean their houses, play with their children, enjoy their spouses, work in their gardens, have social lives — because writers do write, but they also have to live. Work with the pauses, because being a writer is not just part of your life, it is your life.

If you did NaNo, you’re looking at the first draft of a first draft if you’re lucky. It’s rested a while — we hope not in some agent’s slush pile to be unceremoniously dumped in February, unread — and it’s time to pick it up again. You’ve had a break. It’s time to get back to work. Set a date to sit back down at the computer. Pick a few days before that to actually read your manuscript, on paper if you can, with a critical eye. Starting today, collect a handful of favorite books in your genre, by different authors, and start reading them. Enjoy these books. Don’t force insight, but things you can do better in your work will become obvious. Note them, but don’t dive back into your manuscript until your scheduled day. Reading others, reading your own and diving into a rewrite, as planned and scheduled as your next dentist appointment, are your next three steps.

If you have things on your calendar, plan them into to your writing work schedule so they coincide with a rest between drafts, or while the manuscript is out for Beta reads, or editing, or copyediting, or cover design, or galley proofs. Plan your weeks so you have time for family, for activities, for the general work of living. Plan specifically so you have sest times for writing, and set deadlines and schedules so you can take your breaks without them breaking you.

Let the pauses, planned, intrusive and spontaneous, work with you. Let your life work with you. If you are a writer you must learn to write and live. Plans, schedules and deadlines will help you do that.

Also check out her blog and FB page and available books here:



Facebook:  The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Toki-Girl-Sparrow-Boy-Claire-Youmans/dp/0990323404/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

If you would like to guest blog for Writing About Writing we would love to have an excuse to take a day off a wonderful diaspora of voices. Take a look at our guest post guidelines, and drop me a line at chris.brecheen@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year's Housekeeping/January's Goals

If you've been around Writing About Writing for a little while, you know that every year marks a bit of a shuffle. It's probably a good thing that our Star Wars writing review has to be postponed again because it had already missed the window of topical Star Wars mania, and the only way I'm going to bring anything real to it is to come around when jets have cooled with something a little more thoughtful.

It's not that we're any stranger to jazz hands around here, but the start of the new year is a particularly jazzy time.

  • I usually take a day or two off to finish up thank you notes for the year, and this year will be no exception since the health crises and holidays conspired to keep me from finishing up. (I hate form letters, so I only use a rough template....which means they take many many hours.)  And I simply have to finish these criminally overdue thank you notes before....
  • I'll be thanking donors in a big 2015 donor thanking post. 
  • Reviewing policies for the new year like the donation response policy
  • Recapping December's best posts and then doing a 2015 Best Post by year and month

One thing I can kick off early is that we won't have to have a big separate entry for 2016's goals since we haven't hit any of 2015's old goals.  Not a sausage. We'll just roll those over into the next year and try to work smarter instead of harder. If people could stop spending more time in hospitals than not this next year, that would be splendid.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Best Dystopia (Poll Results)

And the winner is....

Unfortunately this poll was not very exciting. Atwood took a commanding lead within a few seconds of the poll going live and never let go. I was hoping for a horse race for second and third place, but that never really panned out either. Part of the problem was just that the poll went on for too long. December is a long, hard month, especially with familial health problems in the mix.

In the future if we have semifinals (which with the nomination going on for our latest magic system poll, it looks like we might) I'll try to be better about making the semifinal polls VERY fast, and then getting the final up for just a week or two instead of a whole month.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Best Magic System (Nominations Needed)

Edit: Nominations are closed. The reader generated poll is here: 


What is the best system of magic in a book or book series?  

While I give you one more day to get the last votes in on our Best Dystopia Poll (on the lower left side), let's get started on our January poll before it gets too late in the month.

Magic systems vary greatly from authorial hand waving (it's magic....whatever), complicated systems of exactly what magic can do and how, all the way to every single person having their own unique magical talent with severe limitations.

Which one is the best? "Best" might mean most interesting, most well thought out, most well explained, most imagination grabbing. Or perhaps you are more particular to described in exquisite living detail or just a funny cavalcade of "miscasts" when someone uses magic who can't handle it. Use whatever criteria you decide makes for the best magic system.

The Rules

1- As always, I leave the niggling to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. If you feel like time travelers from the future using quantum fields to basically do magic, I'm not going to argue that it doesn't count. (Though you might need to "show your work" to get anyone to second your nomination.)

2- Since magic systems are typically part of the setting of a book, the nominations can be for a single book, a series, or several series that all use the same magic system.

3- You may nominate two (2) works with magic systems you like. Remember that I am a terrifying megalomaniac who hates free will and all things that smell like liberty. To encourage reading and reading comprehension I will NOT take any magic systems beyond the second that you suggest. (I will consider a long list to be "seconds" if someone else nominates them as well.)

3- You may (and should) second as many nominations of others as you wish. That is the only way they'll be making it to the final poll

4- Please put your nominations here. I will take magic systems nominated as comments to this post on other social media (Facebook or G+ for example); however, they may not get the seconds you need to go onto our poll because no one will see them. (Seriously, Deloris Umbridge got a nomination on our best villain poll, but she received no seconds because she was nominated on Facebook instead of here. And then everyone got sad that she wasn't on the polls.)

5- You are nominating WRITTEN MAGIC SYSTEMS, not their movie portrayals. CGI epic Battle of Hogwart's fights might be very pretty, but if you find the Harry Potter magic system in the books to be a little stifling and inconsistent with what can be done with or without a wand in hand, you shouldn't nominate that world.