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Worldbuilding 6: Magic

The uses and limitations of magic in fantasy worldbuilding

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Worldbuilding 5: culture


Culture is a slippery concept; it's one of those terms we all know the meaning of until we actually think about it. For the writer, culture can be a two-edged sword: ignore it and your story lacks depth, colour and context; focus too much on it and you risk bamboozling - or worse, boring - your reader into putting the book down.  Read more

Worldbuilding 3: geography and physical location

Geography and physical location

Pretty much every time I pick up a fantasy novel and begin to read, the first thing I encounter is a map, or a series of maps, laying out the whole world, the country or city where the main action takes place, two or more separate (and often belligerent) locations, or all of the above. It has become a convention of fantasy literature and, I tend to think, is often rather less use to t  Read more

Worldbuilding 2: the basics of writing fantasy fiction

The basics of writing fantasy fiction

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Worldbuilding 1: character names in fantasy novels

Character names in fantasy novels


One of the more rewarding - and difficult - things about writing a fantasy novel is having the opportunity to create and describe a world different from our own; one where magic is real, where non-human beings interact with us, and where reality has a shape and texture that is anything but mundane.  Read more

Fact to Fiction

A writer's story

Eleni CottonPeople often ask how I start work on a novel.  Read more

Talking to Publishers 2

Historical Fiction at Top Hat

Suzanne Ruthven  Read more

Talking to Publishers 1

Compass Books' own books for writers

Suzanne Ruthven  Read more

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