Episode 38: Writing the Dark Side ft. ANNA STEPHENS

November 25th, 2020

Whether you're taking down an Evil Emperor or a whole Evil Empire, how do you build antagonists into your world? Anna Stephens, author of The Stone Knife, joins us to discuss the parameters of villainous behavior.


Transcript for Episode 38, with thanks to our scribes!

Episode 37: Names Are Hard — A Deep Dive into WFM’s Shared World

November 11th, 2020

In this episode, your hosts apply some of the considerations from the past several episodes to the world we're co-building! From "Griasta Man is at it again" to a community run by Virgos, we take you inside some specific "Choose; don't presume" moments.

Transcript for Episode 37 (Thank you, scribes!)

Episode 36: Toil and Trouble

October 28th, 2020

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Well, that really depends on how your world conceives of witchcraft, doesn't it? In this episode, we discuss witches: what form their powers take, what sets them apart from other kinds of magic users, how do you know someone's a witch, and what to make of all those familiars hanging 'round the place.

(Cass apologizes for some fading audio in this episode. She's getting a better mic, she promises).

Transcript for Episode 36, with thanks to our amazing scribes!

Episode 35: The Circle of Life

October 14th, 2020

From youth to veneration, from cradle to grave, how does your fantasy world imagine the phases of life? In this episode, we think about the factors that influence a society's concept of aging: biological, economic, and cultural. What happens when your long-lived elves and your mayfly fairies live next door to each other? Are your adolescents adults-in-training or wild-and-free teenyboppers? And who would really want to take care of Baby Yoda for over a century of toddlerhood?

(Transcript for Episode 35, with thanks to the scribe crew!)

Episode 34: The Reluctant Worldbuilder (ft. MIKE CHEN)

September 30th, 2020

Your WfM hosts are authors naturally-inclined to overcomplicate their writing lives -- but what if your instincts run the opposite direction? "Science fiction with feelings" author Mike Chen joins us to discuss reverse-engineering worldbuilding from plot, maintaining consistency, using POV to communicate your world, and the most complex pizza ordering of all time.


Transcript for Episode 34 (with thanks to the scribes!)

Episode 33: Disability and Inclusion ft. ELSA SJUNNESON

September 16th, 2020

Fantasy literature hasn't always done well by people with disabilities. So how can we do better? Guest Elsa Sjunneson helps us think about possible ways to design a fantasy world with disabilities in mind: avoiding problematic tropes like magic cures, creating thaumaturgically-responsive buildings, and training service wyverns! We also explore the issues of community, economics, and technology that can inform how a society relates to disability.

NB: Some of the original audio for this episode was lost and had to be recovered from our back-up. We apologize for a touch of degraded quality that resulted from that process!

Transcript for Episode 33 (Thanks to our scribes!)

Episode 32: There’s No Place Like Home ft. ZORAIDA CÓRDOVA

September 2nd, 2020

When fantasy stories are so much about adventure, what is the function of home? The amazing Zoraida Córdova joins us to discuss domestic spaces and how to fit them into your worldbuilding! Is home a place? A people? A ritual? Is it somewhere you escape from, something you defend, or your last refuge?

Transcript for Episode 32 (thank you, scribes!)

Episode 31: Living by the Sword ft. MICHAEL R UNDERWOOD

August 19th, 2020

Guest Michael R. Underwood joins us to discuss military cultures in fantasy worlds! If your story has warfare, what does that mean for the structure of your society? Do you have a standing army, a militia on-call, feudal obligations? How do technology and economy play into your military configuration? And what does your all-important training montage look like?

Transcript for Episode 31 (thank you, scribes!)

Episode 30: Fantasy Race and Avoiding Fantasy Racism ft. K. TEMPEST BRADFORD, K.S. VILLOSO, and SARAH GUAN!

August 5th, 2020

K. Tempest Bradford, K. S. Villoso, and Sarah Guan join us for a panel discussing race and racism in fantasy worldbuilding. What sort of things does an author need to be mindful of when integrating real-world, real-world-inspired, or invented races into worldbuilding? How do tropes of fantasy species, like orcs and elves, or of magical races, like wizards and Valyrians, perpetuate harmful ideas? And how can we best examine our own biases and commit to digging out the bigotry that systematic racism has put in our heads?


For a deeper dive into this and related topics, please check out writingtheother.com and their many excellent resources, classes, and on-demand webinars.


Transcript for Episode 30 (Thank you, scribes!)

Episode 29: Cornerstones and Building Blocks

July 22nd, 2020

Whether your protagonist is a wholesome farm worker, a high-flying politico, or a bone-weary traveler, sooner or later, there's a good chance they'll end up in The City. But that city can be a character in its own right -- and that means putting some world-building work into figuring out why it exists, how it grew, what sort of people live there, and how they organize their lives! In this episode, we delve deep into the architecture and infrastructure of cities.


Transcript for Episode 29 (Thank you, scribes!)

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