Worldbuilding

Land Travel Before Engines

Many fantasy stories involve traveling from one city to another, often in worlds without engine technology. Before cars and trains, traveling over land was exhausting and dangerous. The logistics of a trip were completely different from today. Here’s what you should know. Read more »

Four Questions to Ask When a Character Is Clever

Everyone loves a character who solves their problems with brains instead of brawn. We want our characters to figure out the solution to an intractable problem at the most dramatic possible moment! But if you’re not careful, your solution might come off as cheap or unrealistic. Read more »

Five Uses of Real Science in The Expanse

If you’re not already familiar with it, The Expanse is a science fiction series by James S. A. Corey,* with an upcoming television adaptation on Syfy. It’s a sprawling, epic story of political intrigue in space, with five books already out and more on the … read more »

Matriarchies, Patriarchies, and Beyond

Mythcreants hosted a panel at this year’s GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Chris, Oren, Rhys, and I discussed gender in spec fic and how you can create matriarchal, patriarchal, or egalitarian societies for your stories. It was a lively event with many challenging questions from the audience. … read more »

59 – Should You Base Your Setting on History?

The Mythcreant Podcast

Chris, Mike, and Oren discuss the ups and downs of using history in worldbuilding. They question whether historical realism is a worthwhile goal, cover the pitfalls of using the history of other cultures, and critique settings derived from real places and events. But mostly, they … read more »

Creating a Fresh Vampire Antagonist

Living in spooky castles or just next door, vampires provide excellent antagonists for speculative fiction. They’re humanity’s predatory reflection, something that looks like us and yet isn’t. Unfortunately, they’re also overplayed. Vampires are so common in fiction that the novelty has worn off. Even when … read more »

Six Consequences of High Magic

Some fantasy settings, like anything written by Brandon Sanderson, impose strict limits on what magic can do. Others – like The Wheel of Time,* The Malazan Book of the Fallen, and just about any D&D setting – do not. In these worlds, magic is both … read more »

Using Taboos in a Culture

Every society has different norms of behavior. Friendly greetings are expected; eating with your hands is frowned upon. Failing to follow the norms will make you stand out in negative ways, but you will probably be left alone by most people. Unless those norms are … read more »

54 – Creating and Using Factions

The Mythcreant Podcast

Mike, Chris, and Oren offer tips for depicting factions in stories. They describe how competing groups manifest in real life and list their favorite factions from Star Wars, Star Trek, Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones. Then they debate which Hogwarts houses they’re in. Read more »

Three Technologies Dropped for Breaking the Show

Sometimes technology is too good to be true. It might be so powerful that problems become trivial. Get into a jam? Just pull out that deus ex machina, it’ll clear it right up for you. Or the tech’s power level is fine, but taken to … read more »

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