Worldbuilding: fantasy books and language – part 2

I posted the other week about J R R Tolkien’s tremendous contribution to fantasy literature – and in particular, his languages. An astonishing achievement. Nothing like his languages had ever been done before in literature, not to that extent. Or has been since. As I said, it’s not really possible to do better. Different – yes. … More Worldbuilding: fantasy books and language – part 2

Worldbuilding: fantasy writing and languages – part 1

Having a credible language as part of a credible world has been part of the fantasy genre for nigh on a century. Until around 1955, authors could get away with a few words they’d bashed out or adapted that sounded kind of consistent. Barsoom, for instance. Often coined for map-making purposes. Enter J R R … More Worldbuilding: fantasy writing and languages – part 1

Worldbuilding: the spy who wrote the best kids novels ever

As a child I was enchanted by a series of childrens’ novels by Arthur Ransome. I still have the original Puffin editions with Ransome’s own illustrations on the covers.  I’ve also got the opening chapters of the unfinished thirteenth novel. They are set in the early 1930s, when Ransome began writing the series; period pieces, but … More Worldbuilding: the spy who wrote the best kids novels ever

Worldbuilding: Cor Blok and Tolkien and art

Has anybody seen Dutch artist Cor Blok’s Lord of the Rings pictures? They are a series of 100 gouache-on-silk images completed around 1960-61. They are utterly different from the Alan Lee style that usually defines our vision of Middle Earth. This is not the literal by-the-word pseudo photography of high fantasy art; Blok instead presents us … More Worldbuilding: Cor Blok and Tolkien and art

Worldbuilding: past or present? Tense tips for writers

Style is the first thing a reader notices when flicking through a book, and it’s also a very powerful arbiter of expression – and a key way that writers build the world they’re presenting. One of the biggest decisions is whether to write in present tense, or past? It’s not an idle question. The selected … More Worldbuilding: past or present? Tense tips for writers