(First post! ) As all fantasy writers know (or should!), when including magic in their stories - whether set in the modern-day real world or an entirely new land of their own creation - they have to form and abide by certain rules. Without these rules governing what magic can and can not do in your story, the believability and credibility of the entire plot can be undermined. I myself have, after attempting to motivate myself with other genres beforehand, finally given in to temptation and begun work on a fantasy story. Though magic isn't as predominant as it is in some fantasy works, it nevertheless has a significant role to play in the tale, and I have been giving a great deal of thought to what my 'Golden Rule' should be concerning magic in my world. The one which most appeals to me is that magic is more about saving time than energy; if you cast a spell to, for example, hurl a log at someone else, then, although you may be able to do so in the blink of an eye, the spell will still drain you of the same amount of energy as if you had picked up and thrown the log yourself. This way, I can impose a 'cap' on what magical characters in my story can and can not do. However, some of you may already have noticed, that such a system of magic is very similar to elements of how magic works in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. What I would like to know is, is that 'method' of incorporating magic into a story a common theme in the fantasy genre (such as dwarves with beards, elves living in woods and wizards wearing pointy hats), or is it a product of a single author's (Paolini) own creativity? If the latter, then I would have to seek out an alternative method, but if it is a 'staple' of the fantasy genre, then I'd be more inclined to include it in my own story - as magic is not a central theme in the story itself, I want to spend less time on developing its structure and more on making sure my characters connect and contrast in the right ways, at the right time.