Hi. My name’s Claire, and I spend all of my time writing. I have for as long as I can remember, because it is as close to magic as reality lets me get.
Saffron the Wonder Dog
We got Saffron when I was very young. I’m not sure exactly how old, but I know that there was a conversation around either getting a dog or a rabbit. Saffron was much better than any rabbit ever could have been. She was the fluffiest golden retriever I have ever known, with pale yellow fur that never darkened to the rich gold I’ve seen in other retrievers since.
The Gypsy Horse
Fair warning: Bella was not mine in truth. She was ‘mine’ in the sense that every volunteer at the Riding for the Disabled Association stables I went to had a horse that they worked with. But I loved her. She was a red bay gypsy cob and was sold to the stable when she was pregnant.
If you go to North Yorkshire and walk along the River Nidd, you will find one of the most mysterious places within Britain. Or so it was when a nearby cave became the birthplace of Ursula Southeil, the girl who would eventually become known as Mother Shipton. The nearby waterfall and the pool beneath it have the ability to turn items left in the water to stone. Naturally, this has been explained by science in the centuries since, but in 1488, the Petrifying Well was a place of magic.
I get one of two reactions when people learn that I have rats – fascination or horror. Sometimes a mixture of both. Truthfully, I got them as a matter of elimination. My flat is too small to make having a dog or cat practical, I knew if I got guinea pigs I’d want to breed them and I didn’t feel I had the emotional or physical resources for that, I’ve always found hamsters too bitey, and rabbits have never appealed. So I settled on rats. And I am thrilled that I did.
100 Years of Gardening
It is well known that an outdoor lifestyle with moderate physical activity is linked to longer life. As we age, both seem to become increasingly difficult to manage, given the multitude of responsibilities that life comes with. Time to go and explore nature is a scarce thing, and it is always easier to use that time on other things. For those who cannot get into the wilds to go hiking, gardening is an excellent alternative. It offers a routine of work and daily low-intensity physical activity.
Natural Disasters in Fiction
When natural disasters show up in fiction at all, they tend to be the focus of the plot. So why bother thinking about them in a range of articles on worldbuilding? Well, because they do affect worldbuilding. They will affect how your characters view the world, the stories they tell, the houses they live in.
Forests in Fantasy
Forests are almost an essential part of fantasy fiction. From the Greenwood of the Robin Hood legends, to Mirkwood and Fangorn in Middle Earth, the cool, richly scented shade of forests looms large across the genre. They are the home of monsters and wonders, the source of great magic and deadly enchantments. In the most cliché of examples, they are also home to elves, who will doubtless offer some useful bit of magic or knowledge to the hapless adventurer before sending them on their way.
Deserts in Fantasy
Deserts are one of the most frequently used biomes in fantasy, but they are often written by people who have never been in one. I count myself in this, although I have experienced the arid areas of northern Victoria in Australia. Most writers who include deserts in their stories seem to feel that all that is needed are some descriptions of never-ending heat and sand dunes, replacing horses with camels, and offer a twist to local cultures which makes water a precious resource, and you’re done.