Worldbuilding

Building The Expanse: How Corey Melds Conflict and Tech

Most of us are familiar with the enormous complexity of fantasy worldbuilding, but there’s another beast that’s just as difficult: science fiction worldbuilding. In addition to dealing with advanced technology, scifi writers have to consider the nearly infinite number of ways that human culture might … read more »

Six Ridiculous Cultures in Speculative Fiction

Building new cultures from scratch is a cornerstone of speculative fiction. From the fictional nations of high fantasy, to the interstellar empires of space opera, to the shadow kiths of urban fantasy, we authors are always crafting new societies to thrill and amaze. But for … read more »

Six Magic Systems That Need Stricter Limits

Giles in a silly wizard hat from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When building a magic system, authors are faced with a balancing act. If they restrict their magic too much, then it won’t be cool and interesting. That defeats the whole point of magic! On the other hand, if an author doesn’t put enough restrictions on … read more »

Would It Make Sense for Greek Gods to Create the Masquerade?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Is there any way to set up a divinely mandated masquerade in a setting involving deities from historical pantheons? The myths I’m going on don’t have a precedent for non-interventionism, as (for example) the Greek and Norse deities regularly got involved in mortals’ lives. I’m … read more »

What Makes an Antagonistic Group Problematic?

The White Orc from the Hobbit films.

Antagonists are an indispensable tool of storytelling, and a lot of stories require large groups of bad guys to oppose the heroes. But in addition to all the technical challenges of crafting antagonistic groups, we have to consider when these groups become harmful in real … read more »

How Can I Use Realistic Disease in My Story?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Disease and infection were deadly, particularly before modern medicine, germ theory, vaccinations, etc. However, having the main character get a coughing fit, diarrhea, and pustules does not usually make for a great adventure story. You can’t outwit or outfight cholera. You mention “A Basic Understanding … read more »

Five Scifi Stories That Would Be Better as Fantasy

Spock and McCoy held captive by Romans with machine guns.

Despite what some purists may tell you, there’s no clear line between scifi and fantasy. Instead, each genre has a collection of elements we associate with it, and different stories may have more or fewer of those elements. That’s why we can confidently say that … read more »

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