Writing Tips Round Up: Castles in the sky4 min read
A round up of writing advice and inspiration
“There are lots of reasons for gaming’s castle fixation. One on level, they’re a good practical level-design proposition – stonework makes for a handy repeating texture, they’re large but self-contained, traps and hazards make at least a modicum of sense. Much of the architecture of real castles was deliberately designed to make passing through them difficult and dangerous for attackers. As any castle-obsessed kid knows, for instance, the direction of the spiral staircases made it difficult to swing a sword as you ascend. But more than that, castles are also part and parcel of the genre inheritance early gaming was built on. They’re a staple of modern fantasy.”
What draws us to castles, and how can a writer make them stick in their audience’s mind? Eurogamer takes you down a memory lane of your favourite fictional video game castles and what makes each special.
“The development of fortifications and the development of siege tactics are inextricably linked. It seems to be human nature that if someone builds a wall, someone else wants to tear it down. The best way to explore tactics is to work our way through a siege from the perspective of the attackers.”
“A favourite among castle tourists and inhabitants alike, the Solitary Tree provides a chance to reflect on the state of the kingdom. Older than all of the local inhabitants, this relic marks a site of historical or magical significance. More importantly, it’s a good gauge of the general mood – see signs of withering or dying, and you’ve spotted yourself an omen. Most of the time, however, the tree will just impress you with its age and majesty, and provide a perch for the resident ravens.”
In this extraordinarily fun post over on Fantasy Faction imagines the best things to do inside a fictional castle: do you fancy a thrilling escape from the dungeons, a wander through secret tunnels, or perhaps a drink in the great hall? Head over for some fantastic fictional castle plot bunnies!
“What would a fantasy world be without castles, turrets, and battlements? Sneaking over the walls in the dark, holding the crenellations from a horde of orcs, or landing on a turret on griffon-back – the castle wall is a staple of fantasy gaming.”
Fantastic Maps is always a superb resource for worldbuilding: in this article, they delve into the particulars of castle walls and their components. If you need some gritty details for your castle’s turrets or trapdoors, this should be your bible!
“The Oubliette – or the ‘forgotten room’ – was a punishment worse than being thrown into a castle dungeon. If you can remember the ‘chokey’ from Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’, the oubliette was a very similar punishment.”
Finally, a castle feature that should not be ‘forgotten’: the oubliette! Exploring Castles is a great little resource for all your castle details, including a complete dissection of the menacing oubliette!
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