Worldbuilding

Creating a Magic System for Superpowers

Anime showing man with creepy mask

Since I posted my instructions on creating rational magic systems years ago, I’ve gotten questions from readers on how to make their magic systems more rational. I found that in many of these cases, the asker was creating a magic system that was more like … read more »

170 – Technology in Fantasy

The Mythcreant Podcast

This week, we’re discussing how technology functions, or doesn’t function, in a fantasy setting. Of course, we get into Harry Potter first, because it’s absolutely critical to know what kind of water-management system Hogwarts has. But it’s not all about the Wizarding World, we promise! … read more »

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 »