Worldbuilding

Creating a Mountain Setting

Of all the possibilities for building worlds, the same few types appear over and over again: desert worlds, grasslands, globe-encompassing seas. Despite being passed over, mountainous biomes, whether old and eroded like the Blue Ridge range or “new” and towering like the Himalayas, have a … read more »

Six Illogical Genre Aesthetics

Beyond the plot-critical elements of worldbuilding, there lies aesthetics. Aesthetic options don’t have as big an impact on the narrative, but they are still important for establishing atmosphere. Middle-earth wouldn’t be the same without primal forests and endless grasslands, and Star Wars is well known as … read more »

How to Make a Fantastical Creature

Diagram of a six-legged animal with a thick tale and pointed beak.

Every world needs animals to give the setting life. I’ll focus on creating realistic and semi-realistic creatures and aliens, but these techniques can also be used to create races, plants, and other organisms. As an ongoing example, we’ll be making a creature as we go. … read more »

Six Tips to Make Your Fantasy Setting More Immersive

Fantasy can transport us to beautiful worlds where ancient gods walk the land and magic flows through the air. Or it can transport us to grim and gritty worlds where basic survival is a struggle and everything is covered in mud. Either way, a fantasy world should sweep the audience away, making … read more »

155 – Fantasy Races

The Mythcreant Podcast

This podcast goes great with breakfast, or even second breakfast, because we’re talking about fantasy races. We cover everything from Tolkien to more Tolkien to even a few things that aren’t Tolkien. But first, why are they called “races” and not “species”? Second, how do … read more »

Using Your Conlang Without Ruining Your Story

Octavia Blake from the 100 sits before a fire.

Years back, I wrote some rules for using fake words. Some people grumbled that it banned writers from using conlangs (constructed languages) altogether, and that’s not far from the truth. The bottom line is that your conlang won’t give your audience the same joy it … read more »

Five Essentials of Historical Fantasy

A knight and a witch teaming up to battle a dragon.

Historical fantasy is all about the freedom of fantasy and the unique atmosphere only a past era can provide. Works like Maplecroft and Shades of Milk and Honey let us reimagine history with a fantastical bent. But combining the real with the surreal can be … read more »

Designing Your Fantasy Empire

Roman army besieging a city.

The empire is a staple of fantasy fiction, and it’s not hard to see why. Much of human history has been shaped by empires, so authors have a lot of fodder for inspiration. But empires, evil or otherwise, are extremely complex. If you’re planning to … read more »

The Epidemic of Worlds That Don’t Move Forward

An idyllic fashioned village.

We all know these stories: “We don’t know how to destroy the ancient evil that arrived to our land! Thankfully, once upon a time there was a great nation with more powerful and efficient technomagic. They had flying cities and huge laser weapons, but somehow … read more »

Five Ways the Honorverse Builds an Immersive World

Honor saluting before a field of warships.

Worldbuilding is the act of creating context for the actions your characters take. Not every book needs to invest heavily in worldbuilding – no one asked about the geopolitical situation in the Very Hungry Caterpillar – but as your story gets more complex, your audience will … read more »