How to Create a Fantasy World/Have No Friends in 6 Easy Steps

Hello again!

It’s Sunday, it’s spring and it’s sunny. Most people my age are catching up on their Vitamin D or relaxing at home, staring out the window at blue skies, secretly filled with dread for the work-week to come. Very few (if any) are wondering what the weather’s like above the palace in a land they’ve invented. But for those who’ve always yearned to write fantasy (or for those who are just curious to see the thought process of those who do), I’ve decided to make a quick list of everything you should avoid  stick to rigidly if your fantasy world is going to take its place among the Middle Earth’s and the Narnia’s.

1. Place

The first rule of creating a fantasy world is to take out a sheet of paper, draw two to three medium-sized landmasses and immediately determine which one is ugly enough to be the nation of Evil Villain. Label this country “Blackened McScorchBone” and fill it with dusty mountains. Then, pick the largest country and colour it green. This will be the home of all the nice people, plentiful water supplies and the only functioning agriculture in the entire known world. Over in Blackened McScorchBone, they eat….rocks…scorpions? I dunno.

Next, take out a blue crayon and draw rivers everywhere. In woods, in valleys, in mountains-EVERYWHERE. Ask google on at least four occasions where rivers are supposed to start. Once convinced, run them across the whole map anyway. To be safe.

Now that you have at least 1 x mountain, 1 x forest and 1 x river, you can start adding in cities and other places of interest. Most of them should be huge castles, far from any source of food, water, trade. They ought to have names like “King’s Tower” or “Elfdorm”. In Blackened McScorchBone, names such as “Clawtooth” and “The Dead City” are recommended. For good measure, call something “The Valley of Fear” and something else “The Grey Waste”, and don’t even remotely address the latter at any stage of your writing. Roads should be as-the-crow-flies, even if they cross hills, lakes, whatever. Outside of cities, pretty much the entire country should be abandoned, filled with a bit treasure here and there and a village if you look hard enough.

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2. People

The world might be max half-Europe in size but there should probably be enough races to make the Olympics feel small. If there are dwarves, throw ’em up in the hills or under some mountains. And make sure to put all the pirates and the ugly things in Blackened McScorchBone. Ughh. Everything there has yellow teeth.

In green-means-good country, cities roughly a stone’s throw apart should have entirely different cultures, languages, ways of life. Literally no two cities should share any sort of common value or commerce. There will be one trade per city, please.

If your hero is <18, they must grow up in the only village you’ve got round to. If they’re an adult, they either live in the royal palace or “grow up in sight of it”. None of your characters should be different than, well, you and your friends. Diversity has no place in DragonLand.

Half of all people must actively serve in the military. How a nation like that is supposed to feed itself? Damnit, man, I’m a fantasy writer not a politician. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Politics

All places will be monarchies except Blackened McScorchBone which is obviously ruled by  a dictator  evil itself. The Kings and Queens should be loved by all. Democracy should be shunned especially if it interferes with any sort of century-long conflict. There should never be peace agreements, only BLOOD AND WAR. Legitimately no ambassadors should exist between nations and there ought to be very little reason for anybody to be fighting in the first place. If there is, go outside and kick a football. You will never make it as a fantasy writer.

Have in place what you think is a “Medieval Economy” but under no circumstances actually research what that might entail. Just invent several peasants, as many knights and one lord who will be fat (*elbow* because he can afford to eat).

4. Politics (again?)

Everyone in your world should be religious. There are no atheists allowed. People should practice freely and there ought to be no clear link between religion and state (lolz why would there be?). Evil Villain should be his own religion and should have millions of ugly followers despite not offering much.

Twice per novel, there ought to be a festival celebrating some God. People that live in the mountains will pay tribute to their……Sea God? *Shrugs* Makes sense to me.

5. Purpose

It’s best practice to just drop things all over your world that have no discernible place there. A giant snake monster that evolved out of nothing? Can’t argue that’s not cool.

You might also place huge value on members of society such as poets and ship captains though *glances both ways* literally nobody in the world ever mentions the arts or talks about the importance of the shipping trade. Everyone should have a horse, a sword and a house to their name even if they’re poor and working as a farmhand.

6. Powers

Just dump whatever fantasy you want into the pot and stir for 30 minutes. Dragons, hands that shoot fire, lay-people marrying the Queen. Have as much magic as you like but still have everyone walk around like it’s just another day in the 15th century. Give Evil Villain enough power to destroy the world twelve times over and then just park him in a corner long enough for someone to figure out how to defeat him. Never use magic for everyday convenience. Only use it to solve plot holes and other sticky situations.

And there you have it. If you do all of the above (plus paint your map with coffee-it looks so old!), you too can create your own fantasy world and say goodbye to what’s left of your social life.

 

Galway Girl: How Ed Sheeran Wrote the Most Laughable Irish Song Ever

Before I begin, I should inform you that I don’t actually mind Ed Sheeran’s music. And as far as I can see, he seems like a nice guy too. I mean, just look at this tweet. Try telling me this man doesn’t deserve a hair tussle and a goodie bag.

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But I take issue with one of the songs on his new album. So much so that I’ve decided to write a whole blog about it.

Now *cracks knuckles*, let’s see how much I can Divide your opinion on “Galway Girl”.

[Verse 1]
I met her on Grafton street right outside of the bar
She shared a cigarette with me while her brother played the guitar

Five seconds in, Ed invents a brother and a guitar. Because rhyming. Then, perhaps knowing that literally nobody outside Ireland can name a single street in the country, he drops this imaginary bar onto Grafton Street, home to venues as wild as the Disney Store. To be fair, I could be wrong here. He might be using the 5 minutes or so Captain America’s spend cooking their food to share a cheeky cigarette on their doorstep. Better rush back upstairs you guys. Woo Woo’s on me.

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She asked me what does it mean, the Gaelic ink on your arm?
Said it was one of my friend’s songs, do you want to drink on?

Right, so one of two things occurs here. Either this woman is a fraud. Not from Ireland. Not Galway. Fake Cailín, okay.

Or, Ed wants the American audience to recognise the mythical language of the leprechauns. Either way, I hate it. Anyway, here’s Balla Iontach.

She took Jamie as a chaser, Jack for the fun
She got Arthur on the table with Johnny riding a shotgun
Chatted some more, one more drink at the bar
Then put Van on the jukebox, got up to dance

See these are all in fact drinks, not men, and nothing is as Irish as lashing back a pint of Guiness and washing it down with some hard whiskey (????). Especially after destroying a dirty Chicken Burger and a fudge sundae at Captain America’s.  Grrrr. Give me the bill and that fucking plate of Murray Mints, I demand Brown-Eyed Girl!!

You know she beat me at darts and then she beat me at pool
And then she kissed me like there was nobody else in the room

Irish women are raised in pubs. She beat him at rings too but he was too ashamed to admit it. Nobody else in the room? Well, they’ve obviously left Captain America’s, site of Ireland’s last workhouse and highest population density.

As last orders were called was when she stood on the stool
After dancing to céilidh singing to trad tunes

“Finish up there please” *lights flicking* “Time to go home there”

Ed, nobody in Ireland requests “The Siege of Ennis ” on a night out. You could have just been honest and told us she was fist-pumping to Maniac 2000 like a good Irish catholic.

And why are you trying to tick off so many Irishisms anyway? I’m half expecting the next verse to revolve around the two of you drinking tea in the Burren while an Irish Mammy complains about the immersion.

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I never heard Carrickfergus ever sung so sweet

Agreed. You’ve never heard it at all *pictures Ed frantically googling Irish music the night before his album is due*.

Acapella in the bar using her feet for a beat
Oh, I could have that voice playing on repeat for a week
And in this packed out room swear she was singing to me

Ed, if you want the words “Cause I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober” sang to your for a week, we may have to steer this blog towards an intervention.

You know, she played the fiddle in an Irish band
But she fell in love with an English man
Kissed her on the neck and then I took her by the hand
Said, “Baby, I just want to dance”

Oh Sheery boy, you’re on thin ice here. You’re John Smith and she’s Pocahontus, is it? Also, we all know you settled for fiddle. You originally wrote harp, didn’t ya. Didn’t ya?

And c’mere, you can’t just kiss ’em on the neck. There’s an established protocol

  1. Stare at them for five minutes. Eventually make eye contact
  2. Freeze, get sweaty and go buy a jaegerbomb
  3. Stand and dance like near them, not with them. Just near.
  4. Give up, go home and slap yourself in front of the mirror.
  5. Rinse and repeat weekly

My pretty little Galway Girl

#RipOff #RiseUp #JusticeForSteveEarle #VivaSharonShannon

And now we’ve outstayed our welcome and it’s closing time

Preach.

I was holding her hand, her hand was holding mine

I predict a hand war.

Our coats both smell of smoke, whisky and wine
As we fill up our lungs with the cold air of the night

If this was a real Irish night out they wouldn’t be your coats, they’d be whatever you found stuffed down the back of the chairs people were shifting on.

I walked her home then she took me inside
To finish some Doritos and another bottle of wine

Hang on. You arrive home. You break out a bottle of wine (why are you so intent on making this woman vomit?) and then you go for the Doritos (?!?!?!) Short of busting out a bag of Mighty Munch or that weird paste glue you tried not to eat as a four-year-old, could you make your hands any messier right now? I’m curious, what flavour Doritos?

I swear I’m gonna put you in a song…..
….about…………………… a perfect night

Ah, okay. They were Chilli Heatwave.

Bonus “Castle on the Hill” round

Ehh, isn’t it really weird how Ed Sheeran basically insults all his friends in this song? Take a closer look.

One had two kids but lives alone
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by

Hmm. Imagine what it will be like when he does arrive home.

“Oh look, all the old gang came out to see me. Made a little welcome party. Wonder why they’re all holding bats.”

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