Worldbuilding

Five Common Worldbuilding Mistakes in New Manuscripts

A planet that's half habitable and half toxic wasteland.

Worldbuilding is central to speculative fiction, but it’s also hard. Really hard. Experts in every field still debate how things in the real world work, so you can imagine how easy it is to make mistakes in a fictional world. I see such mistakes in a … read more »

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 »

160 – Cyberpunk Vs Technology

The Mythcreant Podcast

A few weeks ago we talked about how space opera has held up in the face of advancing technology and a changing culture. This week we’re giving cyberpunk the same treatment. Because cyberpunk is almost always near future, it’s particularly vulnerable to the passage of … read more »

Six Tips to Make Your Fantasy Setting More Immersive

Fantasy can transport us to 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. 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 »

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