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Wayfarer's Guide to Worldbuilding

Wayfarer's Guide to Worldbuilding

By Mythos & Ink
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.
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1.15 Shadow and Bone: An Introduction

Wayfarer's Guide to Worldbuilding

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1.18 Shadow and Bone: Magic and Societal Structure
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?  Notes Support the podcast. Join Mythos & Ink's Discord Community. Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
34:48
May 7, 2021
1.17 Writing Science Fantasy and Cross Genres
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 "So You Want to Make a Graphic Novel: 5 Comic Creators Discuss Launching Their Books"  Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
44:58
May 5, 2021
1.16 Shadow and Bone: Diversity
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 representation. Notes Support organizations working to combat anti-Asian violence. Support the podcast. Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
33:03
April 30, 2021
1.15 Shadow and Bone: An Introduction
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: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
25:04
April 23, 2021
1.14 Mythology-Inspired Tales
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 Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley  Kyle's example: American Gods by Neil Gaiman View the event schedule for "So You Want to Make a Graphic Novel: 5 Comic Creators Discuss Launching Their Books" Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink   Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
26:02
April 21, 2021
1.13 Aliens
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 alien? Notes Emma's example: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine  Steven's example: Paul Kyle's example: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Lyndon's example: Superman View the event schedule for "So You Want to Make a Graphic Novel: 5 Comic Creators Discuss Launching Their Books"  Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
31:35
April 14, 2021
1.12 Magic Systems: Blood, Demonic, and Light Magic
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 system to produce mystical effects. Notes Allison's example: Dragon Age (Blood magic) Kyle's example: Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb (Demonic magic) Emma's example: The Lighbringer Series by Brent Weeks Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink  Join our Discord community: www.mythosink.com/community Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
26:22
April 1, 2021
1.11 Magic Systems: Alchemy, Witchcraft, and Necromancy
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 Alchemist: Brotherhood (alchemy) Emma's example: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (witchcraft) Allison's example: Sabriel by Garth Nix (Necromancy) Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink Join our Discord community: www.mythosink.com/community EDIT: Allison apologizes to her fellow Sabriel fans, as there are NINE precincts of death in the series, not seven. This is potentially a nod to Dante's Inferno, in which there are nine levels of hell. Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
25:53
March 17, 2021
1.10 Magic Systems: Incantations
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 magic rather than the results produced. Join the hosts—Kyle Rudge, Allison Alexander, and Emma Skrumeda—as they delve into superpowers and give you questions to ask yourself when writing stories with incantation magic. Notes Allison's example: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling  Kyle's example: Supernatural (TV show) Emma's example: Eragon by Christopher Paolini Add Thy Geekdom Come (Vol. 2) to Goodreads Check out The Elements of Style by Strunk and White Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
27:27
March 4, 2021
1.09 Magic Systems: Superpowers
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), while others are born with them (like the X-Men). The possibilities are endless, and the lines can blur between superheroes and other types of magic systems, but that’s why it’s fun. Join the hosts, Kyle Rudge, Allison Alexander, and Emma Skrumeda, as they delve into superpowers and give you questions to ask yourself when writing superhero stories. Notes Emma's example: Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate Allison's example: Hunter X Hunter (anime TV series) Kyle's example: My Hero Academia (anime TV series) Get a copy of Under the Lesser Moon by Shelly Campbell, Book 1 in the Marked Son series (Emma mentions she's been editing Book 2) Support the podcast: www.patreon.com/mythosandink Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
25:31
February 19, 2021
1.08 Magic Systems: Elemental Magic
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 others involve more, or different, elements than the traditional four. While these magic systems can appear common or basic, they offer a lot of room for creative storytelling. Notes Emma's example: The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce Kyle's example: The Dragon Prince (Netflix series) Allison's example: The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan Join our Discord Community and participate in our monthly Flash Fiction Challenge! Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
25:01
February 4, 2021
1.07 Magic Systems: Soft vs. Hard
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 Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot. Soft magic, on the other hand, is when magic is a mystical part of the universe and the story doesn’t go into detail about how it works or even why it works. It just does. Think J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Most books are somewhere in the middle of these two systems. Harry Potter, for example, is near the center point of this continuum, as Rowling’s magic has rules and laws, but, as a whole, you’re still not entirely sure what magic is capable of and the system is expanded throughout the series. Notes Emma's example: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Hard magic) Kyle's example: Heroics for Beginners by John More (Soft magic) Allison's example: The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix (somewhere in between) Read Sanderson's Laws of Magic Join our Discord Community Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)
29:54
January 21, 2021
1.06 Religion
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 beliefs, and there is much to be explored in science fiction and fantasy that can deepen your worldbuilding. Notes Allison's example: Dragon Age (video game) Kyle's example: ThresholdRPG (video game) Emma's example: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission).
26:19
January 6, 2021
1.05 Disease
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 Sanderson (Add to Goodreads). Kyle's example: Star Trek Voyager. Emma's example: I Am Legend. Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission).
17:06
December 9, 2020
1.04 Artificial Intelligence
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 (movie). Kyle's example: Star Wars: The Old Republic (video game). Produced by Mythos & Ink.  Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission).
19:19
November 25, 2020
1.03 Prophecy
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. Check out Mythos & Ink's new website. Join our Discord Community for writers—we've got a special channel for NaNoWriMo participants! Produced by Mythos & Ink. Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission).
18:34
November 11, 2020
Dragons with Author Shelly Campbell
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 about one of the most beloved creatures in fantasy fiction. Notes: Get your copy of Under the Lesser Moon—available November 7! Vote in the Dragon vs. Dragon bracket on our Twitter. Support this podcast by leaving a review or joining our Patreon!
26:48
November 1, 2020
1.02 Time Travel
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 this video: Time Travel in Fiction Rundown. If you want to support this podcast, leave us a review or join our Patreon!
19:10
October 29, 2020
1.01 Myth
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.
21:25
October 13, 2020