Doing in the Wizard” is the act of explaining a mystical, magical phenomena, by the use of scientific terms, exposing it as “mundane all along”. While I’m all for this kind of attitude in the real world- anything that can be perceived by us in any way must therefore be in the realm of the scientific method – I do tend to enjoy fictional fantastical worlds that have a mystical, unexplainable element.

However, this mystical element should come as part of the worldbuilding, not as an element of the plot. Let’s take a case study, with one of the mystical elements I almost never enjoy – destiny.

A character that has a destiny, for some unexplainable, mythical reason, is usually a shallow character. This destiny usually has a major influence on the character’s life, and they usually judge themselves against it in some way – do I go with it, or against it, most of the time. To me, that is not an interesting motivation. Motivation, I think, should come mostly from actual life events – things that happened in the past, not those that are destined to be in the future – and/or from hopes about the future, and/or from relationships. Saying “This is what you must do” is an un-interesting way to push someone forward into the story.

Now, when you do in the wizard in regards to destiny, you suddenly have something to work with. Was there an entity that decided to push you in this direction? Maybe it can be talked with. Were you born under a significant celestial sign? Maybe the prophecy is just a local myth – it’s something people made, not something that’s simply True in the world. When you provide actual reasons for the meta-physics or mundane mechanics behind what’s perceived as mystical, you have something to work with and against, that isn’t just “There, accept it.”. You can have intrigue and surprise and emotions about something.

So basically, Mistborn.