Category Archive: Writing

Dec 06

Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/6/17: Star Names I

Hyades star cluster in Taurus

Not only did ancient peoples look to the night sky’s constellations as cultural touchstones, they also looked to individual stars. The star Thuban helped the Egyptians align their pyramids, and Sirius, when it rose at dawn, let them know the flooding of the Nile was soon to come. The stars of the Pleiades star cluster …

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Nov 29

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/29/17: Imaginary Constellations

In a pre-industrial society, stars and constellations had more impact on the viewer because there was less light pollution. Pictures could be traced, paths, and stories, all providing a commonality among members of a tribe or society. One common example is the constellation of the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major, imagined by many ancient cultures …

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Nov 22

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/22/17: Supernatural Beings

  There are all sorts of fairies, elementals, grues, demons, devils, angels, nature spirits, and the like in fantasy. Often they serve a purpose in the story, and just as often they are there for window dressing, like the offhand mentions of pookas or kelpies causing trouble. In fact, things wouldn’t be the same if …

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Nov 15

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/15/17: Venice, also known as Venus

Masquerade time in Venus (Venice)   Fantasy writing published in English-speaking worlds relies heavily on Medieval England as a setting. I suppose it’s because most early fantasy writers were, in fact, English, and then there’s the influence of the Inklings that included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It’s a heavy base that …

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Nov 08

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/8/17: Fairground Rides

  So many of them sound like video games, don’t they? Probably because both are designed to take their users to a strange, disoriented world full of action and violent motion. With a dozen lists and a randomizer, here’s what I came up with, to create your own travelling carnival or Midway. Nausea-inducing fairground rides …

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Nov 01

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/1/17: Quaint English Towns

Are those Hobbits in the foreground?   You’re driving along in the English countryside on your way to the next bed-and-breakfast. Villages and towns appear as you turn a bend or crest the hill, then disappear as the road steers you away. Or you’re reading some cozy mystery book set in the British Isles, or …

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Oct 25

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/25/17: Bogies

They are the things that make children wake screaming, blind with fear, in the middle of the night. They are the things that slip through the cracks under bedroom windows, the things that turn the knobs of bedroom closets and push them open with agonizing slowness, while the children cower under their blankets and pray …

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Oct 18

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/18/17: Geisterbahn

Do you enter? I dare you.   Geisterbahn is German for ghost train, the popular amusement park ride that carries thrill-seekers into dark, eerie tableaus designed to thrill and shock them. The most elaborate of these are found at Munich’s Oktoberfest. In the US, these rides are known as Spookhouses, or Haunted Houses. Disneyland’s Haunted …

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Oct 17

Ecanus, the Angel of Writers

Ecanus, I seek to become more than a writer. I desire to be an author and I ask for your Divine Assistance in helping me attain that goal. Fill my mind with original thoughts and ideas so that I may become the successful writer that God created me to be. Through Jesus Christ’s Precious, Pure …

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Oct 11

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/11/17: Tiamatan Clan Names

This beautiful illustration was from the Romanian cover of the book.   Science fiction writer Joan D. Vinge wrote a fairy tale/space opera mashup in the early 1980s called The Snow Queen, which borrowed from the Hans Christian Anderson tale of the same name. Most of the action took place on a frigid water planet …

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