Worldbuilding for Masochists

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January 6, 2021  

Episode 41: Myths, Legends and Other Lies of History ft. Marie Brennan & Alyc Helms (M.A. Carrick)

We humans are "meaning-making" creatures -- So what stories do your characters tell about themselves, their world, and their culture? The writing team of Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, who together make up M. A. Carrick, join us to talk about weaving the myths, legends, and folklore that can help your imagined world feel fully textured and lived-in!


Transcript for Episode 41 (thank you, lovely scribes!)

December 23, 2020  

Episode 40: The Sacred and the Profane, ft. K. B. WAGERS!

We get asked about fantasy cussing all the time -- but before you can explore profanity, you have to decide what a culture holds sacred. What objects, rituals, or social contracts are inviolable? What bodily functions are unseemly for public discourse? What lines are there between etiquette and sacralization? Author K. B. Wagers joins us to explore building concepts of the sacred and the profane into your imagined world!

Transcript for Episode 40 (with thanks to our scribes! who had to do a lot of referential parsing in this episode, particularly)

December 9, 2020  

Episode 39: Episode 39: Three-pourri

It's another viewer Q&A episode! Your hosts answer your queries on topics such as magic and disability, art styles that suit our stories, and the bits of worldbuilding we've poured our hearts and masochistic minds into but haven't managed to fit into our books yet. Plus, cooking with angel meat.

Transcript for Episode 39 (with thanks to our amazing scribes!)

November 25, 2020  

Episode 38: Writing the Dark Side ft. ANNA STEPHENS

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!

November 11, 2020  

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

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!)

October 28, 2020  

Episode 36: Toil and Trouble

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!

October 14, 2020  

Episode 35: The Circle of Life

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!)

September 30, 2020  

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

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!)

September 16, 2020  

Episode 33: Disability and Inclusion ft. ELSA SJUNNESON

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!)

September 2, 2020  

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

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!)

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