Mark T. Barnes lives in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of the epic fantasy Echoes of Empire series, published by 47North. The series includes The Garden of Stones (released May 2013), The Obsidian Heart (released October 2013), and the forthcoming third and final volume in the trilogy, The Pillars of Sand (out May 20, 2014). You can find out more at www.marktbarnes.com, his Facebook page, or follow Mark on Twitter as @MarkTBarnes.

Five World Building Tips for Aspiring Epic Fantasists

by Mark T. Barnes

Mark Twain once said, “The difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction has to be believable.” As readers we’re sometimes more inclined to believe the most incredulous things in the world around us, but are less forgiving about what happens in fantasy.

As a writer, the chance to start with a blank canvas and speculate on everything is one of the best parts of my job. But Mark Twain was right: our fiction needs to be believable, and that starts with the worlds we build. In building my own epic fantasy universe, these were a few of the core principles I found useful:
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