''Stop right there, writer! Don't turn yourself loose on your readers and viewers without the knowledge you need to write a good story with wands, transformations and miniskirts! ♥ I am [[CaptainObvious Magical]] [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Princess]] [[WordSaladTitle Mystic Keyboard]], and with the power of creativity, [[SayItWithHearts I'll teach you everything you need to know!]] ♥♥''

The MagicalGirl genre may have begun with a handful of old-school manga aimed at being ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' [[RecycledInSpace For Kids]], but throughout its history, it's seen a lot of changes, typical plots evolving from "a kindhearted CuteWitch does anonymous good deeds in order to pass her MagicalGirlQueenlinessTest" to "an elementary-school-aged dreamer uses an OlderAlterEgo to become an IdolSinger" to "a group of {{Magical Girl Warrior}}s fights off DemonicInvaders" -- and the fun thing about it is that every single one of these plots remains viable for a story. You can even mix and match them with each other or with other genres if you really feel like it. And hey, it'll be fun!

Of course, check out [[SoYouWantTo/WriteAStory So You Want To Write A Story]] for all-purpose advice. [[SoYouWantTo/WriteASuperheroComic So You Want To Write A Superhero Comic]] can also be useful (especially for Magical Girl Warriors), particularly the sections on rogues' galleries and team dynamics.

!'''General advice'''

* Make your characters interesting even without magic. [[RuleOfCool It is easy to get distracted by the coolness of magic]], but don't forget to make your characters interesting enough that you would care about them even if they were [[{{Muggle}} powerless and never had powers]]; that way, your characters will be deep, complex, and relatable. Magic will not make your characters interesting by itself; a FlatCharacter will remain boring no matter how much magic she has.
* Personality is even more important than magic. It doesn't matter how powerful or weak your characters are; if they are interesting and relatable, you will keep people interested. Think of Franchise/SpiderMan -- there are superheros with the same superpowers and/or more powerful than him, but what keeps people loving him is that he is relatable and interesting, not so much because of his powers.
* Give us a reason to care: If your magical girl has her secret identity exposed, what would happen? How would her parents react? What would her boyfriend say? What would their classmates say? Would they approve? If your heroine(s) has nothing to lose or [[TragicOneShotCharacter some random character we never had time to care about dies]], the audience simply won't care. It doesn't matter [[RedShirt how many people]] a villain kills or how many big secrets are revealed -- if no emotions are involved, it won't be interesting, no matter how dramatic the situation is.
* Break the mold. Nothing wrong with being inspired with the greats, just remember putting your own spin on things. Be a first-tier version of yourself rather than a second-tier version of someone else.
* Develop your [[{{Muggle}} non-magical characters]] too. Don't underestimate the plot potential of non-magical characters like friends and parents, as they can be used to make deep and complex plots. How, for instance, would your heroine react if her father was killed/kidnapped by the BigBad?
* Define how having magic changes your characters' personalities and lives. [[BeneathTheMask Are they more confident, mischievous, serious while transformed? Or are they the same?]] Do they change their appearance? Is their magical self their real self or how they would like to be? Has magic improved their lives?
* Be very careful if you want to study magical girl works from {{hentai}}''/''{{eroge}}, they're aimed at a different fandom and will be DarkerAndEdgier than their generic counterpart -- and as with a lot of hentai, rape scenes are a ''very'' common occurrence and naughty tentacles are a very common feature in these titles, so the cutesy facade won't last long and may even dip into {{squick}} or {{gorn}}.
* If you are going to use a hentai or eroge as an influence then why not explore the possibility of using that concept but turn it into a straight up magical girl series. Just without the porn.
* Since many Magical Girl works are set in the modern day, a good reading of the SoYouWantTo/WriteAnUrbanFantasy page would not be remiss.

!'''Necessary Tropes'''

* First things off: magic. You need to establish it, and you need to know what it does. However, MagicAIsMagicA isn't too important, as it would be with other genres that use magic. All you need to do is make it work; you don't have to explain it with anything but a few sentences.
* Make all the naked transformation scene jokes you want, but the fact is that, especially in the olden days, a MagicalGirl story was really a ComingOfAgeStory - her powers came with levels of [[JustAKid agency]], [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes fashion]], and sometimes even ''[[OlderAlterEgo size]]'' normally reserved for adults, but on her own terms, thus helping to ease the transition into full-time adulthood. You don't need to go so far as to have the main character happily abandon her powers to run off with some guy at the end, like they did in TheEighties and earlier - in fact, that really ticks modern readers off. Still, character interactions, maturation, and important milestones are good. Don't run the tropes listed under Coming Of Age Story into the ground, though. It's distracting and can get disturbing pretty fast, which isn't quite what we're looking for either.
* ThePowerOfFriendship and ThePowerOfLove ''cannot'' be thrown away or ignored. Most magical girls' powers run off the stuff. Even if they don't, they're still going to have to bail out their friends once in a while and work together. Even if she works alone, your main character shouldn't be completely shut out from the world all the time, unless she's going to learn how valuable the people around her are. This applies to normal, optimistic series, but also to the ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' imitators (or, [[OlderThanTheyThink before 2011]], the ''Literature/SailorNothing'' imitators) -- after all, the theme ran strongly through those works themselves. If you absolutely have to, subvert it, deconstruct it -- just don't ignore it.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Perhaps not strictly "necessary", but very common. After all, there are plenty of young girls who fantasize about being a princess. This is because, like the {{Superhero}}, it's a power fantasy--the difference being that, where the superhero is a physical power fantasy, the princess is a ''social'' power fantasy, of commanding the love and obedience of everyone around you. Of course, WithGreatPowerComesGreatResponsibility applies to a princess as much as it does a superhero.

!'''Choices, Choices'''

Are you doing a CuteWitch story, a MagicIdolSinger story or a MagicalGirlWarrior story? All three have their obvious perks, so it depends whether you prefer slice of life, celebrity life or saving the world as your type of WishFulfillment. However, remember this:
* The CuteWitch template could use some dusting off, as it was last popular quite some time ago - but you're in the company of ''Manga/KaitouSaintTail'' and ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi'', so you're not the first to revive it. Just try and avoid making it into ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' like it was originally intended to be. If we wanted that, we'd watch a MagicalGirlfriend show.
* The MagicIdolSinger is going to have to deal with the politics of her career, and, eventually, probably losing it in favour of a cuter, younger girl - not exactly uplifting. How are you going to get around that? ([[{{Deconstruction}} Do you plan to?]])
* The MagicalGirlWarrior story, no matter how original or entertaining or how many times it's been done before, ''will'' be called a ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' ripoff in the comments. It's unavoidable, so you'd better learn to deal with it.

Does your heroine work alone, or in a group? The latter has become much more common nowadays, probably because it allows ThePowerOfFriendship to be exercised more often. If you're doing the MagicalGirlWarrior thing, you might want to throw in a MysteriousProtector or AloofAlly along with the band (Actually, that might work for a MagicIdolSinger, too...).

Especially in a MagicIdolSinger series, a [[TheRival rival]] character is good for motivating your lead. You don't have to limit yourself to a singer from a competing label, though; the character works equally well as a selfish witch jealous of the Cute Witch's popularity or a DarkMagicalGirl competing for the PlotCoupons (or anything else you can think of). When writing a MagicalGirlWarrior team, each member should get [[CounterpartCombatCoordination her own rival to face off against throughout the arc]] (barring an occasional OpponentSwitch), and the rivals may or may not band together into a PsychoRangers team.

Are magical girls the only characters with access to magic? If there's a whole WainscotSociety of adult wizards running around, then you may need a further UniqueProtagonistAsset to explain why [[AdultsAreUseless they haven't resolved the plot themselves]]. Maybe magical girls have [[UnEqualRites a different kind of magic that's stronger or better suited to the problems at hand]] (e.g. only magical girl powers can affect TheHeartless), or maybe the other magic-users just live in AnotherDimension and [[AllPowerfulBystander have no investment in what's going on]].

Want to throw out the genre tropes and instead use the plot devices from HumongousMecha series? How about {{shounen}} battle series? Or maybe you want to send in a DeconstructorFleet, or just make a darker series? These can be done extremely well to a wide reception, but we only know this because of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'', ''Anime/MaiHime'', ''Literature/SailorNothing'', and ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', in that order. If you want to go off the beaten path, don't just rely on novelty - do it as well as they did.


* One must not ignore CharacterizationTropes, as with everything. Nobody wants a boring cast, and nobody wants one we've seen a million times, either.
* For {{Magical Girl Warrior}}s, don't just focus on the battles. No matter what the ''Nanoha'' fanbase will tell you, character development and interaction are key to any shoujo series (or any seinen/shounen series if you decide to go the ''Nanoha''/''[=My-HiME=]'' route). Fancy special effects and CallingYourAttacks are not what makes Nanoha's battles great--rather, it's the fact that in every battle, something very personal and important for its participants is at stake. Nanoha [[DefeatMeansFriendship defeats her future friends]] not by being the WorldsBestWarrior (she's not), but by only ever fighting for what she believes in and cares about--and then [[{{Determinator}} giving it her all]].
* Moving to the cynical end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism? It should be noted that ''Madoka'' spawned a whole slew of dark shows already, so just putting some death and hopelessness in won't help your cause without substance. If you want to occupy that spot yourself, do something they didn't do. You'll be written off as a DarkerAndEdgier mindless childhood-corruptor otherwise.
* The liberated among us plead with you not to fall to the old cliche of the heroine giving up her powers to run off with the boy. That became a DeadHorseTrope years ago.
* {{Magical Girl Warrior}}s will be accused of ripping off ''Sailor Moon'', as previously mentioned. This does '''not''' mean that you can just go ahead and rip off ''Sailor Moon'' because they'll say you are anyway. You're not doing anyone any favours.
* Some people are going to bash your show [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch without having watched it]]. Just accept it. Your show can still last. ''Manga/WeddingPeach'' has somewhat of a fanbase, even though a lot of people blindly assume it's all about how marriage is important, when it's more about how love is important (and that marriage isn't right when there isn't love).
* RealWomenDontWearDresses: Even in MagicalGirlWarrior shows, Magical Girl stories are not just about girls who have power, but ''the power of the feminine''. Of course, including a {{Tomboy}}ish character is fine, too, and one shouldn't go too far the other way, either.
* MagicIdolSinger stories can run out of steam very quickly, since many of the usual driving factors for a performer (honing her skills, seeking out new teachers to expand her horizons, entering high-stakes competitions, practicing late into the night, etc.) are made redundant when she [[HardWorkHardlyWorks gains everything she needs through magic]]. While you can throw in a jealous female rival, a love interest (or several), a few festivals and competitions, and some scandal to spice things up a bit, that's about the limit - it's hard to wring a multi-episode plot out of a premise that revolves around instant gratification. As such, successful MagicIdolSinger stories are generally either one-shots or have a few ongoing subplots to pad things out - mixing in CuteWitch or MagicalGirlWarrior elements is popular, as is using an EnsembleCast.
* Given all the emphasis on ThePowerOfFriendship, ThePowerOfLove, and [[ComingOfAgeStory youths getting a taste of adult responsibility]], it's not uncommon for magical girls to end up in a RomanticTwoGirlFriendship. However, this can have UnfortunateImplications if the [[HomoeroticSubtext subtext]] is too strong and it [[RelationshipWritingFumble comes across as]] a [[SchoolgirlLesbians full-blown lesbian romance]]... that the characters then [[CureYourGays "grow out of"]]. Understand ''why'' characters are written this way and [[TropesAreTools what it can contribute to the story]], rather than just [[FollowTheLeader doing it for its own sake]]. If you want lesbians you don't need to [[HideYourLesbians be sly about it]] - even in the 90s, ''Manga/SailorMoon'' had a bisexual lead and a clear-cut lesbian couple introduced in the third arc.
* Don't abuse of the ImprobablyFemaleCast trope, despite the genre being centred around women and feminity that doesn't mean that all men have to be written off or be used as a either a LivingProp or a SatelliteCharacter, especially when they are supposed to be someone close to a member of the cast or if the setting can allow them to help the team or heroine in a meaningful way.

!'''Potential Subversions and Variations'''

* Ever since Sailor Moon said those words, [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny people have copied them until it turned into a blur of unoriginality]], not to mention [[{{Wangst}} ungratefulness]] for [[CursedWithAwesome awesome powers]]. Too few girls actually want them.
** Let's get into detail here. In the MagicalGirlWarrior story, if your heroine is an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent, then this is actually a realistic reaction. A normal girl saddled with power that she doesn't understand, a responsibility that forces her to battle evil empires and monsters that could seriously harm or even kill her, and her line of duty costs her her social life, as well as forcing her to lie to her friends and family in order to keep the whole thing secret. That being said, make sure to turn this into CharacterDevelopment instead of keeping her complaining, or she'll just come off as {{wangst}}y.
** In MagicIdolSinger or romance-themed CuteWitch stories, hold off on using this trope until your heroine has some CharacterDevelopment. Unlike MagicalGirlWarrior, the characters in this group aren't loaded with world-saving responsibility. If they ''really'' wanted to be normal, then you wouldn't have the story at all. But after Character Development, it's possible that some events will make her question herself, for example is she really worthy to enjoy the fame or love, or it it only because she's lucky enough to have the magic power? It's most likely that she will try to prove her worth without using her power. How it turns out should lead to more Character Development.
** For the classic "CuteWitch helping people" story...just don't use this trope, you can't justify it without changing the genre into something DarkerAndEdgier. Like romance-themed Cute Witch, this kind of heroine always has a choice in using her magic or not. In fact, she usually gains the power (if she isn't born with it) because whoever granted it recognized her as a good girl, and believed that she would use it for the benefit of others. So pulling this trope is simply a case of TookALevelInJerkass for your heroine. And if you want to do that, there is no reason to write this kind of story to start with.
* Have your heroine [[JumpedAtTheCall jump at the call]]. Chances are that you will make introducing the plot a naturally speedy process, and the heroine would be more than willing to play {{The Watson}} for a little while to ask about her destiny, responsiblities, and powers. Notable examples include [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha Nanoha Takamachi]] and [[Anime/YesPrettyCure5 Nozomi Yumehara]].
* Or TakeAThirdOption. Rather than outright refusing or jumping at the call, have your heroine take some time to think about it before accepting her destiny. After all, it's a big decision, and once she makes it, there's probably no going back.

* Try mixing it up a little with the variety of protagonists. Why not make the heroine the standard BrokenBird DarkMagicalGirl often seen in magical girl teams instead of the usual AllLovingHero NiceGirl? [[DarkMagicalGirl Dark magical girl]] types are usually quite popular with the magical girl fandom. Alternately, how about the heroine being a DeadpanSnarker DarkMagicalGirl who [[DarkIsNotEvil fights for goodness]], but [[AntiHero operates in questionable manners]] that make more "heroic" magical girls find it hard to work with her?
** Be careful on this though. While having a magical girl that isn't as noble as the others make sure that you're still giving a reader a reason to want to root for the character.
* Have a magical girl series be about a character who is a seasoned magical girl but was once a DarkMagicalGirl. The series could be about her struggling to atone for her horrible crimes while fighting evil in the process. Not something that is done often.
* In a similar vein, have the seasoned magical girl be the mentor to an upcoming magical girl. In other magical girl series it usually focuses on the magical girl that just starts out in her career, but having the magical girl be the mentor would add a whole new layer to the story and has CharacterDevelopment potential for both parties (the CynicalMentor becomes more hopeful and the WideEyedIdealist becomes more grounded).
* Older magical girls with families are a largely unexplored territory. Maybe a magical girl has a mother who also took up the calling, and who may team up with her when the going gets really serious.
* Try for a magical girl who loves the idea of the powers, but thinks all the other magical girls are ''doing it wrong''.
* For extra humor, try adding a SuperGenderBender slant - the hero is a boy who turns into a girl whenever he transforms to fight evil. Or you could play the gender inversion straight and have a serious story featuring a male witch or idol singer or warrior, but remember some of the motifs, costumes and props suggested here won't apply.
** Indifferent if it's for comedic or serious value, how going full straight with the above and have a cross-dressing character in the cast? Apart from cross-dressers of either gender being highly famous, it adds another layer of "What if the character gets found out?" and "Why does the character actually act this way?"
** One idea that hasn't been explored much in magical girl stories is the idea of {{transgender}} magical girls. How about a transgender girl who becomes a magical girl, or a transboy who feels he can't come out due to his duties as a magical girl? Keep in mind that this plot would require a lot of research, as well as effort to avoid stereotypes and keep the characters from being defined by their status as transgender.
* What if your magical girl goes the ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' route and doesn't bother with keeping a SecretIdentity? It would make for some different storylines that haven't really been explored.

!!!'''Teams of magical girls'''
* We know TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse, and since Magical Girl Warrior series mostly take place within the last 20 years or so, so who says there's only one Magical Girl Warrior (or one team of them) active at a time? To that effect, instead of creating a Magic Girl Warrior team in the {{Sentai}} mold, go for a Franchise/{{Justice League|of America}}-style group consisting of a bunch of different sorts of magical girls.
* In the same vein, how about magical girls from different [[FiveTokenBand cultural, ethnic, religious or socio-economic backgrounds]]? Take a look at Roleplay/ForTheSpiritOfCreation in the rpg.net forums, for example. It has a homeless magical girl who protects kids on the street. How about an inner-urban black or hispanic magical girl? A MilitaryBrat girl? An {{Ojou}} with HiddenDepths?
* How about a seasoned magical girl who originally was only solo and now suddenly has a team to work with? The SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism can be explored in depth this way thanks to the seasoned MG being more cynical due to her experiences, while the rest of the team are raw rookies who are [[WideEyedIdealist Wide-Eyed Idealists]].
* In a series where magical girls are TheChosenOne, how about a character who [[TheUnchosenOne wasn't chosen but manages to join a team of magical girls anyway]]? While a pure BadassNormal won't always make sense, she could still get her hands on a magical weapon that anyone can use, or be a WeakButSkilled user of [[UnEqualRites a more common type of magic]]. An AscendedFangirl character might even create a completely unnecessary TransformationSequence for herself, just to [[RuleOfCool emulate her heroes]].

!!!'''Other characters'''
* Having the MysteriousProtector go BrainwashedAndCrazy makes for good emotional drama, of course, especially when he's finally gotten together with TheHero. Too bad it's been done to ''death''. We don't want to cringe when we see that scene in ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', or any of the other series that have used it in the past, so please stop it from becoming a DeadHorseTrope. Don't worry, you can still play with it and churn out something original! ''Anime/CorrectorYui'' and ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'' both had the lead's close friend and teammate catch the crazy in place of her boyfriend. ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' appeared to be leading up to Gackto brainwashing Kaito, all the way up to invading his dreams and kidnapping him, but he just wanted to steal his powers and blackmail Lucia with a FriendOrIdolDecision. Do something new.
* How about a male romance prospect who is an ''equal partner'' to the female lead? Emphasis on "equal", emphasis on "partner." Please don't just rely on [[FauxActionGirl sudden cases of helplessness]] to facilitate [[RescueRomance feelings of love]], that are then expressed by them just [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry talking about it nonstop.]] This makes the romance feel [[StrangledByTheRedString forced]]. Instead, try to write a female/male team that works together, that has ''conversations'' together, and that respects each other. A note: beware of perfect matches when creating romances; everybody involved should preferably be a real character.
* Having the MysteriousProtector be TheOneGuy to an AmazonBrigade has been done plenty of times. Instead, why not have [[GenderEqualEnsemble a male counterpart for each girl]]? Or at least consider having more than one. Mysterious protectors need guy friends, and the other girls deserve the chance to have someone too.
* Why not make the heroine's love interest be, instead of a MysteriousProtector DistressedDude, [[DatingCatwoman a villain]] from the QuirkyMinibossSquad? It could provide some interesting CharacterDevelopment for both parties involved, and maybe add in a factor of LoveRedeems. (The love interest in general doesn't necessarily have to be male, either.)
** Or, hey, why not make the QuirkyMinibossSquad member ''and'' the MysteriousProtector the same person? How often has ''that'' been done?
* Why don't you try to explore the view from the sidekicks and {{Secret Keeper}}s? Especially the ones who have no powers and are more often than not in the rescued side, or [[MissedTheCall were skipped by The Call]]. At least for ADayInTheLimelight or a AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent episode.
* What if the villains aren't {{Harmless Villain}}s? What if they're monsters who don't mind if their {{Starfish Alien}}s [[MonsterOfTheWeek of the Week]] actually ''kill people'' (and since they might be {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, it actually makes much more sense if they just don't care about it)? What if [[AnyoneCanDie casualties are common]] and the battle is a long road of BreakTheCutie for the heroes? This subversion might be only a good idea if you're working on a {{Deconstruction}}, though. Typical fans of the genre (young girls and...well, {{lolicon|AndShotacon}}s) just don't like to see DarkerAndEdgier stuff much.

* Try mixing and matching the three genres! It's worked before and quite well, and it's not done enough to be boring yet.
* Try doing something different with the genre. In the early days of the genre, a few magical girls were ordinary muggles who were given a magical object, like [[Manga/HimitsuNoAkkoChan Akko-chan's mirror]], or [[Anime/MagicalIdolPastelYumi Pastel Yumi]]'s wand. As for the object itself, its magical powers were quite specific and limited, unlike the CuteWitch. This type of magical girl has fallen out of fashion, but it's not too late to attempt a revival - only please note that while the object sometimes bestows an OlderAlterEgo, this type of magical girl has nothing in common with the MagicIdolSinger or MagicalGirlWarrior apart from the TransformationSequence, and the girl could only vaguely be considered a Cute Witch. Or there's the wizard school, like ''Manga/AliceAcademy'' or ''Anime/PetitePrincessYucie'', where the Cute Witch must attend magic school with other witches (and sometimes wizards) in order to learn how to use magic. If you use this one, however, try not to rip off Franchise/HarryPotter. Or there's the psychic, like ''LightNovel/TelepathyGirlRan'' or Manga/{{ION}}, which tend to be more down to earth and feature girls who were born with their powers and discovered them at some point in their lives - telepathy and telekinesis are common, although levitation is sometimes used, and with many other psychic powers out there, the choice is limitless. Please note, the last 2 have no transformation sequences, no signature outfits, and minimal use of bling.
* How about setting your story in a different time period? How would magical girls function in Victorian London? Sengoku period Japan? Ancient China? World War II Era?
* What if existence of magical girls is ''normal'' to your setting? How they will alter the society? There are lot of possibility to play with. Maybe they will be used in war. Maybe the {{Muggle}}s will form CapeBusters out of paranoia? Or maybe they will be treated like idol celebs? Remember to be creative, don't just pick ComicBook/XMen and [[RecycledINSPACE replace all mutants with magical girls]].
* Just because your protagonists are young girls doesn't mean your show has to be a {{Shoujo}} series. ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' proves you can write a magical girl series with plenty of action to appeal to the older male crowd.
* Having your magical girl series take place in a post apocalyptic setting would be an interesting idea.
* If you want a darker story, then consider using the WarIsHell trope. Many magical girl anime state that the war between the MagicalLand and the demons has been going on for very long time, yet the effect is rarely seen. Some possibilities including:
** A magical girl whose normal life is completely ruined by the demons and becomes an AntiHero motivated by revenge. She may be willing to kill some civilians under the demon's control, as well as capture and subject a demon to ColdBloodedTorture interrogation.
** A BitchInSheepsClothing who acts like an ActualPacifist and keeps preaching about how they should try to understand and coexist with demons, only to reveal later that she has given up on stopping demons and become TheMole in the hope of becoming an elite person on the conquered Earth.
!'''Writers' Lounge'''

!!'''Suggested Themes, Plots, and Aesops'''

One overall theme around Magical Girls is the Power of the Feminine, who is not necessarily "Grrl Power". In a way, a Magical Girl is a celebration of the way girls do things, and the power to overcome everything and find the strength inside herself, all while looking fabulous. Don't underestimate this wish fulfillment aspect; even if they later claim that they just [[IJustWantToBeNormal want to go back to normal]], very few girls won't enjoy having a little bit of magic power to do what they want ;).

The ever-popular BeYourself is a very common aesop we can use, and becomes more appropriate when we focus on the CharacterDevelopment. "We can do everything with ThePowerOfLove''/''[[ThePowerOfFriendship Friendship]]" is another popular one, because it's especially powerful for females.

!!'''Potential Motifs'''

Hearts. Stars. Things that [[MerchandiseDriven look like plastic]]? [[MineralMacGuffin Jewels]] never go out of style.

If you're writing a team of characters, giving them a united theme is a must - but planets/gods have already been done by ''Sailor Moon''. What else? ''Ojamajo Doremi'' used musical notes, ''Tokyo Mew Mew'' had endangered animals, and ''Pichi Pichi Pitch'' just went for colours (since the team would obviously be ColourCodedCharacters anyway). A team based on semiprecious stones is a possibility, or pick out some esoteric pattern that you like - the Zodiac, Tarot, uppity women of history (imagine moe modernized version of Hatshepsut, Joan of Arc ot Elizabeth I, or if you really push it, GenderSwap UsefulNotes/JosephStalin). This will be a good starting point for crafting your team's powers and personalities, and you could base villains around them, too (Elizabeth I faces off against the despicable Spanish Armada Five! For example.)

FairytaleMotifs are commonly used in Magical Girl series, and for good reason - fairy tales are stories, often with a young girl as a major character and magic as a major element, with enough resonance to have endured for centuries. With some shows, the connections to such tales are referenced (''Anime/{{Pretear}}'', ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', among others), others simply base storylines on fairy tales (e.g. the first arc of ''Sailor Stars'' is based on "Literature/TheSnowQueen". Don't just go by the Disney versions - add your own take on the stories, and do the research - you'll probably find at least a few stories that you hadn't heard of, but would make great motifs to include in your story.

While it's noted that the magical girl is ''the power of the feminine'', that doesn't mean your magical girl's motifs must be something cute and adorable. Take a look at MoeAnthropomorphism, and you will notice that you can make adorable outfits and gadgets out of almost everything, as long as you're creative. So, for example, if you're designing a team of magical girls with bug motifs, and want a strong one to fit with a {{Tomboy}} girl with sheer combat prowess, what should you choose? Dragonflies and ladybugs are fine, so are the JapaneseBeetleBrothers, but even a mantis isn't out of question as long as you can design a cute costume out of it (and have no problem with magical girls tearing monsters apart with sickle-like blades).


!!'''Set Designer / Location Scout'''

These kinds of stories tend to be set in the present day, usually in a big city. [[TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse Tokyo is popular]].

The bad guys in a Magical Girl Warrior series will live in a sea of black, purple and gray. It could just look like a void with only those colours in it, but you can always add some variety by making it a fortress, a ruin, even [[Anime/YesPrettyCure5 an office building]] if you really want it to.

!!'''Props Department'''

[[MerchandiseDriven Cute, pink, plastic weapons and accessories]] are a must. In a Cute Witch series, you could use some typical witch accessories - usually for magic purposes, but maybe when she's fretting over the lunch she's making for that cute boy in her class, she's cooking it in a big pink cauldron with heart-shaped jewels on the sides. In a Magic Idol Singer series, showy microphones and cute stage show props should be within arm's reach. In a Magical Girl Warrior series, {{Improbable Weapon User}}s are the most popular, but the LadyOfWar might have a glowy or jewel-studded sword. All three types like wands.

!!'''Costume Designer'''

Cute. Flashy. ImpossiblyCoolClothes. The Cute Witch should have a few witchy elements to her design, like a pointed hat and short spiky dress, but should look adorable overall rather than threatening. For the Idol Singer, check the streets and fashion magazines, and check them often. Try some {{Frilly Upgrade}}s for your Magical Girl Warrior, and put your DarkMagicalGirl in leather or SpikesOfVillainy. Overall, when in doubt, err on the cute side.

!!'''Stunt Department'''

Magical Girl Warriors: Ballet-fu, LeParkour, and lots and lots of twirling to shoot beams of death out of your parasol or heart-shaped flute. The other types don't have to worry about this.

!'''Extra Credit'''
* How about a Magical Boy once in a while? And don't go cliche and make him have a mean personality.

!!'''The Greats'''

* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'': Pretty much [[TropeMakers set the standards of the tropes]] for a majority of the shows that came after it, including the [[FiveManBand multi-character team]] concept and {{Transformation Sequence}}s.
* ''Anime/MagicalProjectS'' though not very popular it's both a parody and a deconstruction of the genre , it lampshades and makes fun of magical girl tropes (Which will help you understand and play with them.).
** And it also deconstructs the genre showing [[BeneathTheMask how a normal girl with heavy real life problems would act if she had magical powers]] with Pixy Misa:[[spoiler:Pixy Misa (A crazy DarkMagicalGirl enemy of Sammy and a VillainousHarlequin being the repressed aspects of the personality (and hidden self) of Misao Amano (a ShrinkingViolet and best friend of Sammy) (not brainwashing as it was initially thought)]]
* ''Manga/ShugoChara'': Begins with an interesting concept of Playing With both BeYourself and BeneathTheMask, both deconstructing and reconstructing them in turn. Is quite retro in that Amu does StockFootage attacks rather than Precure type fight scenes, but is also about good vs evil so doesn't quite fit into other categories. It even later [[spoiler:lets boys transform and at one point has 4 boys and 4 girls.]] Can be used as an example that proves good characters and strong writing can make a show that could easily be downright absurd or even childish be enjoyable for many people.
* ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'': A good example of a series where the heroine works alone (okay, so she has a FairyCompanion in Kero, but that's beside the point) and is quite enthusiastic about her new powers. She's half this and half CuteWitch; Creator/{{CLAMP}} worked off their fuzzy childhood memories to create a "typical" magical girl series, but ended up with one of the most original things that the genre had seen.
* The ''Franchise/PrettyCure'' franchise is good for a post-modern feel, twisting, subverting and playing with the genre tropes all over the place. Their girls fist-fight, have WonderTwinPowers (at least for the first two continuities), and take ThePowerOfFriendship to a [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship whole new level]].
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is a brutal, DarkerAndEdgier {{Deconstruction}} of the whole idea of untrained teen-aged girls facing unfathomable evils in superpowered battles with hundreds of innocent lives at stake.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Interestingly enough its the best example on how to do a more modern take of the magical girl genre. The first season in particular comes across as a MagicalGirlWarrior show through a funhouse mirror and the majority of the episodes of the whole series would fit in an MG story.

* ''Anime/MagicalStageFancyLala'' is an old-school, cutesy-plastic-transformation-pen whirl through the Magic Idol Singer's life. Yes, it's old, and it uses some storytelling devices that the modern day rolls its eyes at - but the main character's use of creativity to tweak her own powers should alone grab some attention, plus there's the nostalgia factor and knowing the roots of the genre.
* ''Anime/FullMoonOSagashite'' is an early-2000s anime by Tanemura Arina. If you know her, you know exactly what you'll get. This is a TearJerker with a lot of relationship drama, from family to friends to love triangles, and sometimes a combination of two or more of the three.

* A modern example is ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi'', which is adorable condensed. The art style might put you off if you're not into that sort of thing, but it's a good crash course for the do-gooder witch (even though they ''might'' be a little selfish sometimes). The main characters sometimes have a quest or two, but never to the level of the Magical Girl Warrior's workload - these girls just want to be happy.
* A much more classic example is ''Anime/MagicalPrincessMinkyMomo'', both the original and early 1990s remake. The original is famous (some may say infamous) for its [[spoiler:DownerEnding -- the main character is run over by a car and dies.]]

[[AC:Non-Shoujo Genre Hybrids - these are gaining in popularity]]
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'': A rare example of a magical girl series set for [[{{Seinen}} older audiences]]. People who hate magical girls love it, because [[GrowingTheBeard after the first few episodes]], it turns into a HumongousMecha series pretending to be a MagicalGirl series. The ShipTease and {{Fanservice}} are a side bonus.
* ''Anime/MaiHime'': A recent {{shonen}}-oriented series, though it doesn't skimp on magical powers or character interaction and/or development. Not to mention is quite willing to {{deconstruct|ion}} certain aspects of the genre, including the PowerOfLove!
* ''Literature/SailorNothing'': A ''[[DarkFic very dark]]'' {{deconstruction}} of the MagicalGirl genre that is entertaining in its own right.
* ''Anime/MaiOtome'': A politically-themed series in which magical girls are servants for heads of state and weapons of war. Starts off light-hearted, but takes a darker turn. Could provide ideas for a series with no {{Masquerade}}. Also notable for being populated mostly by alternate versions of the ''Anime/MaiHime'' verse, making it an official AlternateUniverse spin-off....or possibly a distant Future.

* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': This show's popularity proves that strong characterization and entertaining writing can make even a premise that seems blatantly ridiculous on the surface great fun to watch. Though keep in mind that only the first two episodes and and from the second season onward, season openers and finales have any semblance to a MagicalGirl show. The rest of the episodes are SliceOfLife.

!!'''The Epic Fails'''
* ''Moetan'': The premise looked interesting: an EdutainmentShow for {{lolicon|AndShotacon}}s. However, it fails because it really is an EdutainmentShow for {{lolicon|AndShotacon}}s. An early episode was removed from syndication for too much {{fanservice}} and replaced with a ClipShow, which should tell you something.
* "Episode 0" of ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', though this is more due to StylisticSuck than anything.
* ''Anime/CosPrayers'' is plagued with poor editing, resulting in a weak story, uninteresting characters, and MindScrew continuity problems. Whatever story you tell, don't let this happen.

''[[CallingYourAttacks Princess Magical Finish!]] Wasn't that fun? Hey, what do you mean you asked for that Engrish loli girl? Stupid fanservice always stealing my business... I need a new destiny. This career isn't working out.''