So... I was wondering this morning about the practicalities of designing either a 'soft' or 'hard' magic system within a book.
Establishing strong characters and an equally compelling story line should, in my opinion, always be the first port of call for any genre. But magic systems are also the calling cards of Fantasy - they make the genre distinctive.
Harry Potter has wands and spells; the Mistborn Trilogy has a strict system of rules and limitations, requiring the consumption of metals for magic and for the 'magic user' to have been born able to use one or all of the metals; and then you have Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (LoTR), where the limitations and extent of magic are shrouded in mystery.