Worldbuilding

Four Ways to Bring Swords to a Gunfight

We see no shortage of stories where heroes and villains insist on using swords despite the existence of guns. It’s used to show how awesome they are compared to everyone else. And to paraphrase Obi-Wan, swords in all their varieties are more elegant weapons. However, … read more »

Creating Factions in Three Steps

Factions add depth to organizations. They create internal conflicts that leaders must confront while facing external threats. They also highlight diversity that will make your world feel real and lived-in. Societies aren’t planets of hats, and great institutions aren’t monolithic. Read more »

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 »