Steam Your Punk – World Building for SpecFic


Steampunk, Fantasy and Sword—or Light Sabre—Play

March 10, 2015 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm | Strathcona County Library

World building is serious stuff to the writers of speculative fiction (SF). Just think of the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien or Ursula K. Le Guin, who spent years dreaming up their respective fictional worlds of Middle Earth and Earthsea, replete with characters, languages, flora, fauna, varying cultures, ideologies and religions. Whether you’ve a penchant for dystopic zombies, otherworldly hell-fiends or steam-run vampire automatons, come examine the essential toolkit for fantasy world building.


Bio pic_KerriKerri Campbell

Kerri Campbell is an aspiring fantasy writer living in Sherwood Park, Alberta. She’s a graduate from the Applied Bachelor of Communications and Professional Writing at MacEwan University, and is currently working towards a second degree in Bachelor of Communication Studies, also from MacEwan University. When she can, Kerri volunteers with YouthWrite®, a camp for kids who love to write…just about anything©, where she helped design and edit YouthWrite’s 2013 and 2014 magazine anthologies. For fun, Kerri daydreams and builds worlds for her stories. After all, reality is overrated.

Natasha Retribution CropNatasha Deen

Literacy advocate and author, Natasha Deen and her family moved to Canada to escape the racial violence and political unrest of Guyana, South America.  Often the only mixed-race child in the class, Natasha’s childhood experiences come through in her work. Her books mix action with humour and the power of self, and feature strong female and male characters. She is published in a variety of genres and has written for children, teens, and adults. In 2013, she was the inaugural Regional Writer in Residence for the Metro Edmonton Library Federation.

Tyler EnfieldTyler Enfield

Tyler Enfield is the award-winning author of the Wrush novel series, as well as the upcoming teen-novel, Madder Carmine, due out October 1, 2015. Tyler is also writer/director of the interactive film Invisible Worlds, produced by the National Film Board, and part of the Rasterverse team, which is developing a six-episode animation series. His photography show, Ghosts of Jerusalem, is on exhibition at the Enfield Gallery.

Cathlpw1989een Rootsaert

Cathleen Rootsaert is an award-winning playwright and improviser who moved into the world of game writing. She has worked with EA/BioWare in Edmonton since 2008 where she wrote for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.  Aside from producing her own work, she has written for many of Edmonton’s theatres, CBC-Radio and CBC-TV, and she is a regular improviser and director at Die-Nasty, the improvised soap opera and a member of Hey Ladies! the improvised live talk show series.


Writing Quote: “I never write exercises, but sometimes I write poems which fail and call them exercises.” – Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)

Writing Tip:   For each of the characters in a story you are currently writing, create a “fact sheet” in which you list as much as you know about the character.  Begin with obvious facts like gender and age, then go on to include such info as a favourite TV program, attitude to self, long-range goals.  Find out how far you can go before you begin to discover aspects of your characters that remain unknown to you.  Search through the known facts for clues to the unknown. – from A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins

Writing Prompt: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Read more:  Best First Lines of Novels

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