Fantasy needs some science

Scott Bury gets to the essence of fantasy world-building: give it some scientific underpinnings.

Guild Of Dreams

By Scott Bury

Good fantasy writing has to maintain a strange tension, a balance that makes fantastic elements that are patently impossible believable.

The weekend before last, Chantal Boudreau wrote about basing her fantasy worlds and mythologies on the mythologies of Sami, Thracian, Serbian and Native American people.

I think this is a great idea for any writer of fantasy, because it adds many layers of meaning and symbolism to your writing. And it inspires a lot of ideas, too.

I did the same with my first published novel, The Bones of the Earth. While I made up the cosmology, all the mythology expressed by the characters, and many of the characters themselves, come from the mythologies and religions of ancient eastern European peoples, including the Greeks, Slavs, Germans, Celts and Scythians. Doing this also helped me choose names that didn’t sound like I coughed them out.


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Book Review: An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy | A Fantastical Memoir

Guild Of Dreams

by A.M. Justice


Written by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Artwork by Mary Ann Strandell

Art mirrors life, even for authors of fantasy. Here on the Guild of Dreams, Chantal Boudreau has written a lot about how her interests inform her work (her coffee essay is a favorite); Autumn Birt and Steven Montano have both provided us with photo essays showing their influences in the natural world; and Scott Bury has told us about his inspirations from family members to the change in seasons. I’ve also blogged about my real-life influences, and on the home page of my website, you’ll find some real-world pictures that serve as location shots of Knownearth (they’re there on the homepage, just scroll down). Jane Rosenberg LaForge wrote an entire novel-memoir hybrid in which she traces the key elements of her fantasy to people, places, and events from her youth in 1970s Los Angeles. In the spirit of LaForge’s…

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Cheesy Fantasy Movies, Part 1

Steven Montano offers up his favorite cheesy fantasy films.

Guild Of Dreams

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is pretty awesome.  Game of Thrones, perhaps even better.  For fans of epic fantasy, these efforts represent the culmination of what we love about the genre, everything that pulls us in whenever we pick up a new novel or sit down to play Dungeons & Dragons with our friends — the drama, the politics, the darkness, the sense of danger and wonder and excitement and the discovery of worlds that can only exist in the imagination.

But not every effort to bring epic fantasy to the screen have been nearly so successful.  In fact, it’s safe to say that most of them were pretty awful…and yet we love them anyway.

It’s hard to say why epic fantasy translates so poorly to film, but it seems that much of what feels so sweeping and serious in the personalized experience of reading a novel comes across as a bit…

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Snapshots of a fantasy world

Autumn Birt’s photos remind me of a similar series I did of photos that inspired my work, which you can find on my website,

Guild Of Dreams

by Autumn Birt

Where story inspiration comes from, or even just the bits that make up the plot lines of an epic story, surprises me. Life infiltrates a writer’s mind and somewhere in the subconscious becomes something extraordinay.

I’ve written here about how a painting inspired the town of Mirocyne in my epic fantasy trilogy the Rise of the Fifth Order. On my blog, I’ve written about how a leadership course altered my view of quest groups. Everyone getting along for a common goal? I think not. Someone is going to crack or have a different motive or get into a fist fight over their beloved facing danger. Stress and facing death rarely results in lasting cohesion.

In the last post, Chantal mentioned how nature and tribal settings inspires her writing. Steven Montano has posted some great pictures from outings that inspire him with new fantasy ideas. And…

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Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale!

Guild Of Dreams


Smashwords is kicking off its sixth annual Summer/Winter promotion!

Here in the Northern hemisphere, it’s mid-summer.  Readers everywhere are loading up their e-reading devices for summer beach reading and vacations. But what about the good people South of the equator, who are now in the middle of winter? They deserve to curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a good read too! That’s the story behind the Summer/Winter promotion!

You can check out all the amazing books on sale here. Check out all the fantastic authors and discover a new book to love.

If you are here and already have a fondness for members of the Guild… well I have great news! We’ve joined the sale. See the links below. And happy reading!



Blade of Amber

Revenge is the whetstone for the Blade of Amber in book 1 of the Woern Chronicles! Start the adventure for…

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Guild Of Dreams

By A.M. Justice

How much backstory should I spoon feed my readers?

I belong to a large online writers’ critique group, and I see this question posted almost weekly. Every fantasy and sci-fi writer in the group hops on the thread and gives advice; time and again, the consensus can be summed up as follows:

  • Weave background information and world building into the narrative
  • Avoid data dumps of historical details
  • Under no circumstances put the backstory into a prologue

BowieThese days, prologues have about the same cache as mullets. They might once have been cool, even sexy, but now people just shake their heads and turn the page. I don’t care for mullets, but I do think prologues can serve as a useful gateway to a story (I used one to open Blade of Amber). So long as the first sentence (or paragraph) hooks me, I don’t care whether…

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