Wayfarer's Guide to Worldbuilding

Wayfarer's Guide to Worldbuilding

The Wayfarer’s Guide to Worldbuilding is a tool to help writers, DMs, and creatives build unique, scientific, and magical worlds. Each episode explores one facet of worldbuilding and gives practical advice on writing these elements. Hosted by the Mythos and Ink staff—Kyle Rudge (Marketing Director), Allison Alexander (Editorial Director), and Emma Skrumeda (Publicist)—the podcast explores strong examples of worldbuilding from science fiction and fantasy books, TV shows, and movies and offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of publishing.

Episodes

May 14, 2021 19 min

We're continuing in our series on the Netflix show Shadow and Bone, which is based on novels by Leigh Bardugo! Our topic today: technology. How does the series blend modern and fantasy technology? How does magic interact with technology? How do they interplay in your story?

Notes

  • Support the podcast
  • Join Mythos & Ink's Discord Community.
  • Produced by Mythos & Ink.

    Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (U...

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    We're continuing in our series on the Netflix show Shadow and Bone, which is based on novels by Leigh Bardugo! Our topics today: magic and societal structure. What is the distinction between "small science" and magic? What is magic's narrative purpose in the show? How are the societies structured and how does considering structure provide ample opportunities for inserting conflict into a story's narrative? 

    Note...

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    This week is another special episode, this time with graphic novelists Justin Currie and GMB Chomichuk! Join the hosts as they discuss the science fantasy genre, how to write cross genres, and particular challenges with the creation of their upcoming graphic novel, Rust and Water.

    Notes

  • Gregory's example: Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Allison's example: Final Fantasy
  • Justin's example: The Iron Giant 
  • View the event schedule for &#...
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    April 30, 2021 33 min

    Today’s episode is part of our series on the Netflix show Shadow and Bone, which is based on novels by Leigh Bardugo! Our topic today: diversity. What is significant about adding diverse characters to your story? How do you do this without appropriating a culture or falling into harmful tropes? How did Shadow and Bone succeed or fail in this area? Join the cast as we discuss race, disability, LGBTQ+ characters, and female repre...

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    April 23, 2021 25 min

    Shadow and Bone, a TV series inspired by author Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy, drops on Netflix today! We're celebrating by telling you everything you need to know about the first book in the trilogy before you watch the show and what we're hoping to see in the TV series. Stay tuned for follow up episodes in which we talk about the worldbuilding in the show itself!

    Produced by Mythos & Ink.

    Announcement Music: Coff...

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    April 21, 2021 26 min

    This week is another special episode, this time with graphic novelist Zach Schuster and editor Kyla Neufeld! Join the hosts as they discuss mythology. How do you take inspiration from mythology for your own book? What mythology inspired Zach's upcoming graphic novel, Thrud? How do you create longer, more intricate works out of these short, simple tales?  

    Notes

  • Zach's example: Dragon Ball 
  • Kyla's example: The Mists of Av...
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    April 14, 2021 31 min

    This week is a special episode in celebration of Mythos & Ink's upcoming graphic novels! The hosts are chatting about aliens with Lyndon Radchenka and Steven Kaul, creators of the graphic novel Infinite Universe. How do you create alien races with lived experiences so it feels like the story's universe is inhabited by other lifeforms? How do you create that necessary feeling of unfamiliarity? What makes a believable ali...

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    We’re at the end of our series on magic systems! To celebrate, each host is bringing a different magic system to the table for this, the final episode. And then we’ll battle it out with said magics. Muahaha.  Just kidding. Maybe. Today, we’re talking about Blood Magic—which involves using, you guessed it, blood, to cast spells—Demonic Magic—which usually involves summoning demons—and Light Magic—using the visible electromagnetic sy...

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    We’re nearing the end of our series on magic systems. To celebrate, each host is bringing a different magic system to the table for the final two episodes. Today, we’re going to be talking about Alchemy—which involves transforming matter—Witchcraft—which involves pagan spellcasting, black magic, and nature—and Necromancy—which involves raising or communicating with the dead.

    Notes

  • Kyle's example: Fullmetal Alchemist / Fullmetal...
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    March 4, 2021 27 min

    Abra kadabra alakazam!

    As powerful as words are in the “real world,” they get even more powerful when they are imbued with magic. Incantations are words said aloud in order to produce a magical effect. Usually they involve mystical, made-up languages, and they are often accompanied by gestures or physical components in order to get a spell to work. This topic is a fun one to talk about, because it’s focusing on the mechanics of mag...

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    February 19, 2021 25 min

    Generally, In superhero stories, every hero has a different ability. Think X-Men, the Avengers, or Justice League. These abilities might fall under a theme (for example, everyone can shapeshift into animals), or they might be a hodgepodge of superhuman abilities (Thor has lightning powers, the Hulk has super strength, etc.). Some characters gain superpowers in unique ways (like the Fantastic Four, who survived cosmic radiation), wh...

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    February 4, 2021 25 min

    As of 2020, scientists have discovered 118 elements that make up all matter on earth, but elemental magic systems tend to deal with far fewer than that, involving the manipulation of natural forces, most often the classic elements of fire, water, earth, and air. Sometimes magic users can create these substances out of thin air, while in other systems they can merely control those that already exist in the world around them. Still o...

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    January 21, 2021 29 min

    We are so excited to be beginning our series on magic systems today! The episodes in this series will delve into specific types of magic, but today we’re discussing examples of hard and soft magic. These terms were popularized by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, who is known for his complex magic systems that have a lot of rules and explore how magic works. This is “hard magic.” Think Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles or Is...

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    January 6, 2021 26 min

    In fiction, religious people are often portrayed in one of two ways: they are either stupid and ignorant, or they are manipulative and using religion to exploit others. But there are so many other dimensions to faith, with people who believe in a god (or gods) for a variety of different reasons. Organizations, governments, whole countries, some of the greatest atrocities and some of the greatest acts of mercy spring from religious ...

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    December 9, 2020 17 min

    Incurable illnesses. Magical maladies. Pandemics. Perhaps this topic feels too real right now, but it’s been explored in sci-fi and fantasy for ages. Diseases can cause panic, start a ticking clock, or force characters to make difficult decisions (do you kill your zombified brother or do you tie him up and play video games with him?). One thing’s for sure: diseases are a pain.

    Notes

  • Allison's example: Elantris by Brandon Sander...
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    November 25, 2020 19 min

    Machines capable of thinking and acting like humans. Robots with souls. Do they take over the world and attempt to destroy humanity? Are they depressed sidekicks? Do they just want to be left alone? It depends on the story, but all of these characters have one thing in common: they explore the question of what it really means to be human.

    Notes

  • Allison's example: All Systems Red by Martha Wells.
  • Emma's example: I, Robot (mov...
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    November 11, 2020 18 min

    In a recent episode, we talked about time travel; this week, the topic is similar, but not quite the same—knowing stuff about the future. Prophecy can come in many different forms, such as vague notions of the future, riddles, or explicit visions of what is to come.

    Notes

  • Allison's example: Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth.
  • Emma's example: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.
  • Kyle's example: Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Gordon Murphy.
  • Chec...
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    November 1, 2020 26 min

    It's a bonus episode! Fantasy author Shelly Campbell joins the wayfarers to talk about her upcoming book, Under the Lesser Moon, and dragons! In European traditions, dragons are associated with chaos and fire. In East Asian traditions, they are linked to sky and water. In our imaginations, they are associated with danger and adventure. For years, authors have played with these mythologies and created their own to tell tales abo...

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    October 29, 2020 19 min

    In this episode, the podcast hosts find themselves in the Time Traveler's Tiki Lounge, sharing stories about time loops, distortions, and paradoxes. Listen to the end for three questions you should ask yourself when you are building time travel into your world!

    Notes

  • Here is the link to our Discord community, which Emma mentions, that you should join if you are participating in NaNoWriMo!
  • For further research, Kyle recommends th...
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    October 13, 2020 21 min

    Myth—a story that explains how your world came into being and includes fables, folktales, sagas, epics, and legends. Join Mythos & Ink as we journey through fiction to find great examples of myths! We also give practical questions to ask yourself when building a myth into your own world.

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