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Writing Tips - Creating Civilizations (Part I)Or alternatively, I explain my fantasy generator game from awhile back. Today we’re going to talk about how you can create a civilization/society for your fantasy or science fiction world. There will be another part to this though, and in that one I’ll be telling you how to create a society/civilization integral to the theme of your novel. Think of the first parts as creating something like The Shire, and the final ones about creating something like Oceania from 1984.
The main difference is that from there, we start with the “end” - we figure out what we want for the story, and we build things that come from a specific conclusion. In 1984 the civilization is there to prove that totalitarianism is bad. In this one, we start from the beginning. We figure out a society’s assets and we build it to a logical conclusion. It helps make societies more… realistic.
Although, it might be wise for you to pick a certain conclusion, even when
Writing Tips - Fantasy Creatures (Part 3)Okay, for those of you who don't remember the last part, here are the fantasy races that we've come up with:
Driks: Humanoid creatures with long manes, horns, fangs, and sharp claws.
Editrude: Sentient trees that communicate through fruit that cause hallucinations.
Sewards: The intelligent fusion of a dog and a ram that descended from the experiment of a crazy magical scientist.
Udrezos: Small flying creatures with arms instead of legs that communicate via song.
Coleoptera: Evolution of the rhinoceros beetle, which walks upright and has opposeable thumbs.
Scalywons: Freshwater-dwelling lizard people where both males and females play a vital role in pregnancy.
Chrails: Four-armed, no-legged, one-eyed spider people with a solitary magical eye.
As you may have guessed... we've got a lot to do. Last time I said that you shouldn't say "x creatures are" in anything but biology. I specifically stated that unless your race has a hive mind, they should not be monolithic. Real species have many
Writing Tips - Fantasy Creatures (Part 2)It's time to talk about fantasy races... yay. I seem so enthusiastic today because there are a few pitfalls that most people seem to keep falling into. By fantasy races, I mean elves and dwarves. Also, I'd highly recommend not using elves and dwarves because they've been done so many times in the past. I'm just going to refer to other races as elves and dwarves and halflings for convenience sake.
Let's start with the most common pitfall: the monolithic race. What do I mean by this? Excluding biology, when you're able to say "the elves are... nice, evil, dictatorial, religious, stupid, smart, good archers, pretty, ugly, insert every adjective ever." Unless this race is completely built of a hive mind this is one-hundred percent unacceptable in modern fantasy. You can say they all come from roughly the same area, and they have similar physical traits, but that's it. Even speaking the same languages are iffy. Why this shouldn't work should be relatively obvious. "The humans of Earth are..
Writing Tips - Fantasy Creatures (Part I)So, I've got myself a map. It's time to populate it with a bunch of different creatures. This can be very fun or very difficult (or both) depending on your skill level. When you're writing a fantasy novel, or creating an RPG world, or anything like that, you could get away with populating the world with exclusively Earth-creatures. But why would you ever want to do that? The fun of fantasy is coming up with new and exciting things that could never be seen in the real world. It's not always just adding magic to medieval Europe, and mixing in elves and dwarves (we'll be talking about sapient species next time).
Some of my favorite fantasy worlds involve entirely alien creatures. Take Morrowind for example. Besides giant rats, every creature is unique. From giant bugs that are hollowed out to take travelers from city to city, to miniature peach-colored dinosaurs that are bred as cattle to pterodactyl birds with stinging tails that won't shut the fuck up. Each of these adds to the world an