Worldbuilding

The Seven Worldbuilding Sins of Storytellers

Planet colliding with moon

Last week, I described how avid worldbuilders often sideline the stories they’re telling in favor of parading the setting around. Now I’m pointing at storytellers who treat their worlds as an afterthought. We know who they are because their stories are committing these sins. Read more »

Eight Compelling Themes for Dystopian Settings

Using a theme adds depth to your story and gives your audience something to think about long after it’s over. Dystopian settings are ripe for meaningful themes because they challenge not just individual characters but humanity as a whole. While not all themes fit the … read more »

Five Ranged Weapons That Can Replace Bows

We all know the archetype of the archer: master of the longbow, precise and deadly. It’s a staple of fantasy, and we can point to Tolkien and other British authors of classic fiction as the cause of this. The English longbow has a great pedigree … read more »

Designing Aliens From an Alternate Earth

Avatar's Pandora, complete with flying blue beasties and pretty forest waterfall.

From the little green men of Mars to the rubber foreheads of Star Trek, aliens persist as a tried-and-true staple of science fiction. Though the concept of alien life isn’t unrealistic, scifi representations are almost always implausible. We’ve recently deduced that Earth-like planets should number … read more »

Overcoming the Myth of Barter

Many assume that before currency existed, people would trade goods through a barter system. But in reality, we have no historic or anthropological evidence that this ever occurred. None at all, even in isolated societies that don’t have money for their internal exchanges. Read more »

Eight Natural Phenomena to Use in Your Stories

If you’ve ever stared at a blank page trying to come up with a first sentence, then you know how useful it can be to have something to jump-start your story, a kernel around which the narrative can form. That spark can be a plot hook, or it can be something just outside your door. Read more »