History for Fantasy Writers: Craft Guilds

Guilds have long been a popular device in fantasy writing. They are used all the time in gaming, where they serve as a place for the player to get missions and rewards. These guilds bear little resemblance to historical guilds, and that’s fine. But can historical guilds provide writers with useful details? I think they … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: How Old Was Old?

People died at such a young age, you were old at forty. So many infants and children died, adults did not bond with them. Even then, the children were treated like adults; “childhood” is a modern invention. I have heard this, and variations on this, all my life (and I really am old). It’s wrong … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: How to Cross a River

That scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, the one where Frodo and Sam cross the Brandywine, has always bothered me. How did hobbits, famously averse to water travel, know how to steer the raft? Wouldn’t they have been carried by the current a mile or two downstream? In the book, Tolkien has Merry push … Read more

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