Worldbuilding

249 – American Folklore

The Mythcreant Podcast

Everyone loves using their cultural heritage for spec fic inspiration, but what happens when Americans look to their own folklore for ideas? They find out that most American folklore is terrible, that’s what. But do not despair, for in among the bigoted mess, there are … read more »

Five Epic Fantasy Conflicts Other Than War

A classical painting of a market town.

I’ve got nothing against a good war – in fiction anyway. War provides immediate, large-scale conflict for our stories and as such will always be a valuable tool. But just like no one wants to eat the same thing every day, it’s boring if every … read more »

245 – Unconventional Monsters

The Mythcreant Podcast

Halloween approaches – time for spooks! What’s really spooky? A monster. And what’s spookier than a conventional monster? An unconventional monster! That’s why today we’re talking about all the great monsters out there that break the mold and scare us in brand new ways. Okay … read more »

Five More Underused Settings in Spec Fic

A skeleton facing a strange stone statue.

Novelty is one of the four critical elements that make stories popular, and in speculative fiction, settings are a great place to harvest a novelty crop. I’ve got nothing against castles, forests, and space battleships, but mixing things up creates opportunities for new kinds of … read more »

Siege Warfare Before Gunpowder

The fantasy genre is stuffed with sieges, even in series other than Lord of the Rings! From the Battle of Winterfell to whatever Prince Caspian was doing at Aslan’s How, fantasy storytellers are always eager to show us battles of catapults and scaling ladders. But sieges are complicated, … read more »

How Can I Combine Fantasy and Science Fiction Elements?

questions and answer talk bubbles

How do I mix magic and science fiction tech without it feeling haphazard or unbalanced? – Anon Hi Anon, From a storytelling standpoint, magic and scifi tech are nearly identical except for theming. If you’re not careful with things that feel different in theme, it … read more »

How to Make Time Travel Logical

It’s often assumed that time travel would break the laws of logic. However, according to some philosophers, most famously the late David Lewis, this need not be the case. Scifi is full of time-travel stories that are fun, exciting, and gripping while breaking the laws … read more »

How Do Cannons Affect Your Naval Combat?

Recently, I went over the naval tactics your characters might use in a world without gunpowder. This raises the natural question, what happens when gunpowder is introduced? As you might imagine, the answer is complicated. Gunpowder isn’t a single toggle switch. There are hundreds, possibly … read more »

Can I Create Conflict Without Bigotry?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Hi! Sorry to spam your inbox. I promise to get it out of my system! With the goal of creating a fantasy world in which the forms of oppression and discrimination we see in our world and history are absent, I am pretty sure I … read more »

Can I Rehabilitate the Trope of East Meets West?

questions and answer talk bubbles

One of the lasting tropes from 20th-century pulp fiction is of the city where “East meets West,” places like Shanghai and Hong Kong. There’s a romanticism to that idea of a wealthy, cosmopolitan, dangerous city where the rules aren’t quite what you’d expect—but obviously all … read more »

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