Choosing a Genre and the Science of Magic
It’s true that I hadn’t read much fantasy. There were some I read and liked; a vampire story by George RR Martin called Fevre Dream impressed me quite a bit, the few fantasies that Heinlein wrote, and of course anything by Harlan Ellison showed me what fantasy could be.
When deciding on a genre, I knew we wouldn’t reach those levels. But if we were going to write fantasy and break a few laws of physics, at least we could set some rules and not violate them because we wrote ourselves in to a corner.
As we were writing Duck Blood Soup, I began to think about what it would take to educate a wizard. I came to the conclusion that their education would be more of a BS or MS level in engineering or the physical sciences, with spells as a small part of their education. If you want to manipulate the physical world, even with magic, you need to understand the basics.
If there’s ever a book two, that’s where those ideas get fleshed out. But that concept was used as we developed the first book.