What makes a magical academy enjoyable to read about?

FukinDeadBeat

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So, i'm in the middle of writing a story where the main character goes to a magical academy because all notable noble children do so at her age. What i want to know is what do readers want to know about, read about, and see in the magic academy that will make them want to stick around and keep reading.

Oh, and when i say magical academy, that's just because there is magic in this world. The academy won't be focused entirely around magic but it is an important part in the world itself. The academy's focus is creating the best Sorcerers and Ritters in the kingdom in a type of militaristic way. They want to make them stronger or useful for the kingdom before they graduate or kick them out of the Academy if they are deemed useless and not worthy of nurturing. It won't focus on war, war tactics, and stuff like that but more on developing individual talents and exploring the potential of the students by forcing them through crazy challenges and situations to force their latent potential out of them.

I'm not sure yet if i want to have students dying in the school though, then I'd have to bring up the reason why these parents would be interested in sending their kids to a death trap and why these kids would want to risk their lives to learn. Along with how the parents would handle the death of their children and the children themselves being faced with death so early. A lot of dramatic crap that i don't feel that i'm talented enough to properly write about and get the reaction I hope for the readers to feel.

So overall, what would you like to see in a story with a magic academy?
 

BenJepheneT

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Reality is that most of us don't do well at school, and instead of powering through the curriculum with sheer will we blame it on the lack of interesting subjects and make our own school with blackjack, hookers and magic so we could ignore peer pressure and create a fictional universe where we DO do well in school.
 

Ral

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The characters. The magical academy essentially just provides the setting and situation. It is how the characters reacts to it that makes it interesting to me. Character is pretty much what makes these kind (where they are forced into a situation, say being stranded in an island or the world is overrun with zombies) of stories interesting.
 

Jemini

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What makes a magic academy enjoyable to read about? Well, about the same thing that would make anything else enjoyable to read about really.

If you want more elaboration, it would be the exact same principles that are true everywhere else. Here's a list of the most important at #1 to the least important at #8

1. Good writing in general (overall quality and following writing conventions, and how well implemented the other 7 items on this list are.)
2. Character interactions
3. Character development
4. Good culture crafting (craft the culture of the school, as well as the culture of the broader society in general, and showcase it in your story.)
5. Gripping and interesting plot lines
6. Appropriately raised stakes to keep the tension
7. A good magic system (unless set in a real world/non-magical setting, which in this case it is not.)
8. Good story lore (the lore of an area as broadly or as narrowly defined as you need it to be for the sake of the story.)

This stuff is often managed in a certain way according to the genre, school life in this case, but the principles are always the same. You just have to figure out how they apply to the school life genre.
 

thepundit

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So, i'm in the middle of writing a story where the main character goes to a magical academy because all notable noble children do so at her age. What i want to know is what do readers want to know about, read about, and see in the magic academy that will make them want to stick around and keep reading.

Oh, and when i say magical academy, that's just because there is magic in this world. The academy won't be focused entirely around magic but it is an important part in the world itself. The academy's focus is creating the best Sorcerers and Ritters in the kingdom in a type of militaristic way. They want to make them stronger or useful for the kingdom before they graduate or kick them out of the Academy if they are deemed useless and not worthy of nurturing. It won't focus on war, war tactics, and stuff like that but more on developing individual talents and exploring the potential of the students by forcing them through crazy challenges and situations to force their latent potential out of them.

I'm not sure yet if i want to have students dying in the school though, then I'd have to bring up the reason why these parents would be interested in sending their kids to a death trap and why these kids would want to risk their lives to learn. Along with how the parents would handle the death of their children and the children themselves being faced with death so early. A lot of dramatic crap that i don't feel that i'm talented enough to properly write about and get the reaction I hope for the readers to feel.

So overall, what would you like to see in a story with a magic academy?
It's really difficult to explain. Read Mother of Learning - that's the gist of what I like about magic academy troupes. Preference also varies from person to person. Nevertheless, I like your premise. I'm an expert onion cutter, knows the ninja ways, so I like character-driven stories like your theme.
 

Discount_Blade

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Dunno. I myselfaelf find the magical academy thing overblown because in every story you read about these academies, it's never about the academy. Someone dies every year, they spend most of the year running around fighting or solving crimes or whatnot and normally either being late for classes or not even attending anyway so they can save world or something from some percieved threat.

Very little of the magical academy experience ends up being about the academy. The outside world inevitably outshows the actual academy.

Best example, Harry Potter. Most of each book was about the fighting he would eventually do for his next round of fisticuffs with Voldemort. Evey book built up the next clash between the two at the end of each book. People died. And then Harry didn't even attend his last year. Pretty damn dangerous for a supposed school.

Magical academy stories aren't even about the school, the academy itself just becomes a placeholder. That's why I dislike the term "magical academy stories". They are always relegated to a setting. Nothing more.
 

NotaNuffian

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So, i'm in the middle of writing a story where the main character goes to a magical academy because all notable noble children do so at her age. What i want to know is what do readers want to know about, read about, and see in the magic academy that will make them want to stick around and keep reading.

Oh, and when i say magical academy, that's just because there is magic in this world. The academy won't be focused entirely around magic but it is an important part in the world itself. The academy's focus is creating the best Sorcerers and Ritters in the kingdom in a type of militaristic way. They want to make them stronger or useful for the kingdom before they graduate or kick them out of the Academy if they are deemed useless and not worthy of nurturing. It won't focus on war, war tactics, and stuff like that but more on developing individual talents and exploring the potential of the students by forcing them through crazy challenges and situations to force their latent potential out of them.

I'm not sure yet if i want to have students dying in the school though, then I'd have to bring up the reason why these parents would be interested in sending their kids to a death trap and why these kids would want to risk their lives to learn. Along with how the parents would handle the death of their children and the children themselves being faced with death so early. A lot of dramatic crap that i don't feel that i'm talented enough to properly write about and get the reaction I hope for the readers to feel.

So overall, what would you like to see in a story with a magic academy?
Politics? Because the school is actually where we first have human interactions with those of the similar age? So make sure you put a lot of bullying and revenge into that shit, because who doesn't want to watch an angsty gossip show? Fyi my academic life is shit, cuz I am shit, but I do enjoy watching betrayals, male aggressions and the need to get validated fling in the campus, it is actually more fun than watching bombastic highschool dramas.

Unless you want it to be a snoozefest with how the classes works, bla bla bla, you can refer to Supreme Magus and Beginning of the End, because to me both works have shitty academic arc and they are hyped up to be some batshit slaughterfest anytime soon.

Also, remember the trope asshole victim, focusing on the former and you will get assholes who are victims to their own selfish acts (karma) and the latter and you will get victim who suffered so much that they turn into an asshole. Aka, all humans are scumbags.
 

Monk_Origins

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Assuming its the premier academy of the nation, then its ought to be politics! Lesson? f that, child of nobility have been taught them all the way back when they were 12. No, what they go to there to is hold up the face of ther family, make connections with the other children of influencial families and get familiar with future rulers of a country! Lessons? Studying? Lol I say!
 
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CupcakeNinja

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So, i'm in the middle of writing a story where the main character goes to a magical academy because all notable noble children do so at her age. What i want to know is what do readers want to know about, read about, and see in the magic academy that will make them want to stick around and keep reading.

Oh, and when i say magical academy, that's just because there is magic in this world. The academy won't be focused entirely around magic but it is an important part in the world itself. The academy's focus is creating the best Sorcerers and Ritters in the kingdom in a type of militaristic way. They want to make them stronger or useful for the kingdom before they graduate or kick them out of the Academy if they are deemed useless and not worthy of nurturing. It won't focus on war, war tactics, and stuff like that but more on developing individual talents and exploring the potential of the students by forcing them through crazy challenges and situations to force their latent potential out of them.

I'm not sure yet if i want to have students dying in the school though, then I'd have to bring up the reason why these parents would be interested in sending their kids to a death trap and why these kids would want to risk their lives to learn. Along with how the parents would handle the death of their children and the children themselves being faced with death so early. A lot of dramatic crap that i don't feel that i'm talented enough to properly write about and get the reaction I hope for the readers to feel.

So overall, what would you like to see in a story with a magic academy?
Face slapping
 

Partysan

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  • Growth: An academy is a place of learning. I expect students to be less powerful than teachers and grow in power and knowledge throughout their years of attendance. I'm not a big fan of students who're secretly super-powerful assassins. A student may be more or less talented or hard-working than their peers, but the main focus shouldn't be where they start but how they develop.
  • Instruction about Magic: An academy is a place of learning. A story that's set in a magic school should have an interesting magic system and feature students actually learning about it as well as opportunities to try out and master their newfound knowledge.
  • Maturation: An academy... you get the idea. Students shouldn't just grow more powerful but also more mature. Whether it's a school or a university, students usually aren't quite fully grown adults and are still establishing their own identity and personality - much of it may already exist, but much is also still in flux, depending of course on the age of the students. It is also a place to build new relationships. Since an academy like you describe often means the first time the students don't live with their parents, it's an important phase of establishing independence and learning self-discipline and organisation as well as have some adventures without parental oversight.
  • Synergy between those: Understanding of magic and power, establishing independence and identity, forging new bonds, all these things should go hand in hand and influence each other. Controlling new magic may lead to new insights about the world and others, and it may also require such insights to be gained elsewhere. And while I'm not a fan of school kids saving the world, smaller adventures, intra- and inter-school conflicts, politics, relationship drama etc may all offer opportunities to use newfound knowledge in practice and in turn deepen its understanding.
 

AdLeto

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Dumbledore died in a kinda rooftop scene (top of a tower) so you might be on to something there :unsure:
Dumbledore is the greatest magician of all times, the movie got it wrong, he cannot die, so your comment was nullified
 
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