Monday, January 2, 2012

On World Culture

"Beyond Europe . . . there are thousands of potential world cultures to use for inspiration or as a base for your fantasy cultures. . . . One intent of these profiles is to hint at the great variety of foreign cultures available to writer from every inhabited part of the world and from every period of human development. Another intent is to inspire and guide writers to seek out more information about these exciting cultures and incorporate them into their own worlds.

"Writers should consider what point or points in a culture's development they are going to portray. Each has its particular allure and interesting characteristics. Cultures cannot remain static for long and are constantly changing, expanding, and contracting. Is the culture in the ascendant, with dynamic leaders striving to carve a place in a world of dangerous competitors? Is it a strong, powerful state, secure against all but the most dangerous enemies? Is it an ancient, now-decadent culture with indifferent leadership and on the brink of imminent decline? Or has that decline already begun, with collapse from the inside being hastened by aggressive outsiders?" --Michael J. Varhola

The above quote is from The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference, written by the editors of Writer's Digest. An excellent book, and if you writer epic or high fantasy, I strongly suggest reading it.  It literally lists different cultures around the world from which you can base ideas, different sorts of scrying, common fantasy races, types of weapons and armor, and so much more. The Anatomy of a Castle chapter is especially helpful for medieval European-based fantasy.

On a side note, I've finally named my current work in progress: CITY OF TEETH (CoT for simplicity's sake). And, now that the holidays are passed, I shall resume my querying. :D

What books on writing have you found especially helpful?


  1. I have that guide handy in here with me now. Provides quite a bit of knowledge regarding weapons as well.

    First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman was something I recommended to me. I've used it in the past but may have lost it in one of the last moves. Haven't been able to find it since settling here at our new place...or rather, newer place.

  2. Nascence I've read twice and learned completely different and new things each time that have been really helpful. Even just the introductions by themselves to each of the stories are insightful.