The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #86: Worldbuilding in Scifi and Fantasy Audio From Big Apple Con 2017

Episode #86: How Scifi and Fantasy Authors Build The Worlds of Their Books

Ever read a fantasy or science fiction novel immersive enough to make you want to finish it in one sitting?

Ever wonder how the author created something convincing enough to make you sad when it ended?

That’s what today’s show is about.   It’s a Q and A panel from the Big Apple Comic Con a few weeks ago.  Think of it as a behind the scenes window into the minds of six authors who write a variety of styles within scifi and fantasy.  Some of the topics covered:

-What’s your creative process like: outline? freeform?

-Which is more important?  Characters vs. plot?

-How to create full realized characters you want to read about

-How to create characters that are true to themselves and the world you’ve created for them

-How do you find the time to write?

-Writing through writer’s block

-How much time should it ideally take for a reader to get a sense of your world?

Here are the authors on the panel.  Click on their names to go to their Amazon or GR profile pages and the book cover by their name for a representative fantasy work.

Tabitha Lord


Heather Rigney


Mike Squatrito


Sean Faye Wolfe


Joshua Blum

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Chris Paniccia


Many thanks to Mike Carbanaro and the staff at the Big Apple Comic Con for inviting us to speak, and thanks to Mike Squatrito for doing the legwork to get us there.


If you’re a writer or illustrator yourself (or are interested in becoming one) and are interested in the organization we were representing, you can learn more about ARIA, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, here.

The ending track, a synthesizer remixed version of “Reed Pipes That Echo,” is now out for download or streaming off of bandcamp.  (Music has always been both an inspiration and essential part of the stories I’ve created.  So you could say, it’s one of the ways I “world build.”)

reed pipes remixed.jpg

Next week, fantasy author Joshua Robertson comes back on the show.  It was great to catch up after over a year, and we covered a lot – if you liked what was discussed today, it only gets better next week, so stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

(Image at the top of the screen courtesy of


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Joshua Blum Interview by Author Coreena McBurnie

Thanks to Coreena McBurnie, author of the mythological fantasy book Prophesy, Book 1, Antigone: The True Storyfor featuring this interview of me on her blog.  I had a chance to talk about topics like the creation of The Thirteenth Hour, how it was influenced by 80s fantasy, scifi, and John Huges teen movies, and how I envisioned the characters, especially their struggle to become adults in a world that doesn’t quite know what to do with people that are not quite teenagers but not yet firmly ensconced in the supposed security of middle adulthood (kind of like our actual world).  Watch for Coreena’s interview coming here soon as well as her appearance on the weekly podcast!