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(reblogged from Now Novel)


Writing a fantasy novel involves many considerations: Worldbuilding, avoiding clichés of the genre, using popular elements such as magic originally and more. These 34 must-visit fantasy writing resources will help you with every aspect from creating fantasy maps to naming your fantasy characters.

General advice on worldbuilding

Many fantasy writers working on their first (or even second or third) novels struggle with worldbuilding. If you’re wondering how to create a believable fantasy world, one that avoids clichés and provides readers with enough detail to keep them enthralled, these links and resources provide excellent advice:

The Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is a website similar to Quora (where users ask the community questions and the most helpful replies are upvoted). Yet the focus of the website is on worldbuilding for fiction writers. Writers share and get knowledge about culture, science and other real-world elements that go into fantasy and science fiction.

World Building Academy, a site that has the tagline ‘create worlds, change lives’, provides plenty of helpful worldbuilding advice.

In this post for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Patricia C. Wrede lists useful questions you should ask yourself while planning and fleshing out your fictional fantasy world. Wrede’s questions cover important elements such as history, climate and the inhabitants of your fantasy universe.

James Whitbrook at Io9 shares advice on overdone clichés of fantasy writing to avoid in your worldbuilding.

Chuck Wendig’s ’25 things you should know about worldbuilding’ contains great tips. Here’s one: ‘Don’t  describe every family crest, guild sigil, hairstyle, nipple clamp, or blade of grass in the world.’ It’s good advice to make sure your worldbuilding serves your story rather than brings in irrelevant information.

In this interview, fantasy and SF writer Laurence MacNaughton did for MileHiCon in Colorado, the writer shares some useful fantasy worldbuilding advice. His cardinal rule? ‘If you make something up, it needs to play directly into the story.’ This is a point both he and Wendig emphasize.

In this essay, one of the great masters of fantasy and science fiction shares insights into writing believable fantasy worlds. Ursula le Guin, famous author of the Earthsea Trilogy, says ‘Fantasy, which creates a world, must be strictly coherent to its own terms, or it loses all plausibility. The rules that govern how things work in the imagined world cannot be changed during the story.’

Margaret Atwood shares some insights into how she creates fictional worlds in this blog post by Joe Berkowitz. Her insights relate to her speculative fiction, but also apply to fantasy writing. She suggests, for example, that you can borrow animal or human behaviours in the real world and use them slightly altered to form the basis of another world, its people and fictional creatures.

In The Paris Review’s short memorial piece on the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, the literary journal shares some of his best advice for worldbuilding effectively. One piece of advice: Don’t be overwrought in your inventions. As Pratchett says: ‘It only takes a tweak to make the whole world new.’

Read the rest of the post here.