EelKat Wendy C Allen - Dark Fantasy Author

Your World: Bugs | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

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Your World: Bugs | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

Now here's an animal that you don't see too often in fantasy books: insects. You know what? That is just wrong. Why? Well, nine times out of ten, fantasy characters are either out in the fields or out in the woods, and you know what? Cutting hay in the fields by hand is murder, because every swipe of the scythe stirs up yet another swarm of black flies and mosquitoes. Even worse is when you drive you scythe straight through a hornets nest. How do I know this happens? Because once upon a time I owned a horse and I cut her hay by hand. (Yes, I don't just dress in Medieval gowns, I also live in a very Medieval lifestyle as well, that's how I can write Medieval style fantasy so well: I write what I know, I write what I do.)

Worse than the fields are the forests, esp as you start getting closer to water. Bugs will drive you batty. They don't give you a break. They cover you in an instant. Sleeping on the ground in the forest at night is dangerous. You MUST keep your skin covered at night, otherwise you'll wake up in the morning with huge red welts all over you hands, feet, and face, because the mosquitoes covered you during the night. Been there. Done that. Painful. Not fun. Don't try it. Don't let your characters try it either. Sleeping unprotected from bugs in the woods is the biggest mistake fantasy authors make. Buggless woods is probably the worst of the fantasy cliches and yet no one ever mentions it!

Another thing to note: Have you ever walked in the woods? Leaves are slippery. Leaves hold water between them. You step on leaves and you are liable to go flying on your butt. The fall is not the worst of it though. The slugs are. Because the leaves are wet, slugs nestle up between them, making the fallen brown leaves more slippery than a sheet of polished ice. Slugs are slippery. You step on a slug, they squish. You step on a wet leaf on a slug, the leaf goes one way, you go the other, and now you have squashed slug on your butt, on your back, and in your hair.

Slugs travel in hoards.

Where there is one slug, there will be hundreds. They'll all be hiding under the leaves, and you probably won't see them while you are waking, but when you fall, you'll land on them, and you'll know it.

There's nothing like spending an hour by the creek, trying to wash orange slug slime off your cloths either.


And yet, how often do fantasy stories ever mention this off forest wandering phenomenon?



Because the author did not live in the forest and had no way of knowing that this happens. I live in the forest. It doesn't happen to me, because I've learned (as does every one else who lives in the forest) to control my balance like a ballerina. If your characters live in the forest, they will walk with a light step to avoid a tumble when stepping on slugs. If they have never walked in the woods before, they will fall a few times at least.

Maybe adding bugs to your world is a bit too detailed for you, but hey, the real world has bugs, so why shouldn't a fantasy world have bugs too?

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EelKat's Guide to
World Building For Fiction Writers
The Complete Article Index

The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:

<<< Back To

Or Head To Another Article In This Series:

For help in creating characters in genre fiction try:

Even more articles have been written for this series since then:

As there are now more then 100 articles for this series, it now has it's own index page on which to list them all, as there are just too many to keep adding them to this end of article list. You can find the complete listing of all the World Building articles here now:

More on Worldbuilding In Fantasy Novels:

Books I Use When Creating Fantasy Worlds:

*UPDATE: ADDED November 7, 2013 - I suppose one thing I should point out at this point, before we go any farther, is my use of the word fantasy throughout this series. The bulk of this set of articles was written 7 years ago in April of 2006, parts of it appearing on EK's Star Log and other parts of it appearing on my personal Squidoo account. In the 7 years since writing this I've received hundreds of emails regarding it. A common question asked being: "Why do you talk of building a fantasy world if you don't write Fantasy?"

ANSWER: Fantasy with a capital "F" is the name of a type of fiction, in other words Fantasy is a genre. I do not write Fantasy fiction of the Fantasy genre, that is correct. I do however create fantasy realms for my Science Fiction and Horror works. I write Dark Fantasy, which is a sub-genre of Horror and Space Fantasy which is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.

Did you see it? No? Let me point it out: I write about fantasy worls as the exist in Horror and Sci-Fi but I do not write about fantasy world as they exist in Fantasy Fiction.

If it is not real it is fiction, if it exists only in fiction it it fantastical, if it is fantastical it is a fantasy item, because it is not a real item, however being fantastical does not make it part of the Fantasy genre, just as not everything in the Fantasy genre is always fantastical in nature.

The word "fantasy" with a lower case "f" is a word that means "not real" and has nothing to do with the Fantasy genre (capital "F") at all. And therefore when I say "fantasy realm" I mean a world that is NOT the Earth on which you and I live on in the real world, and am in no way, shape, or form referring to the Fantasy genre.

The methods I use to create my fantasy realms can be applied to ANY genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Western, etc.

2013 World-Building Series UPDATE:

Due to issues with content scraping, outright plagiarism, some of my articles appearing on OTHER Squidoo member accounts without my permission, and many of my "Squidoo articles" being stolen off Squidoo and posted without my permission on various  blogs and sites including Wikipedia and Helium; all of my articles are in the process of being removed from Squidoo.

This series of World Building articles in one that has been heavily plagiarized over the years and as of September 2013, it can only OFFICIALLY be found here on - if you find it posted elsewhere, know it was stolen and I am not receiving royalties for it.

2014 Update:

As you know, or not, Squidoo owners Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn stole thousands of Squidoo articles from Squidoo members, and tried to pass them off as their own, resulting in the lawsuit against Squidoo owners for the theft of tens of thousands of articles.

More than 100 of my articles were transferred off my Squidoo account and moved to Bonnie's account,

while my authorship and writing articles, including this world-building series were deleted off my Squidoo account and transferred to Kimberly-Dawn's account!


I am shocked and flabbergasted at what these 2 women have done. That they thought they could get away with stealing so many articles from so many authors! Buying Squidoo from Seth Godin, did not give then the rights to our articles and these two horrible women had no right to delete them off of our member accounts and republish them on their own accounts, trying to pass them off as their own.

More then 100 Squidoo authors have gathered together in lawsuit against Squidoo owners, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn. The result of that is, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn, to avoid their asses being sued to hell and back, have now transferred the Squidoo lenses back to their original owners and deleted the entire Squidoo website.

Squidoo is officially gone. It exists no more. Squidoo is dead. Most Squidoo writers have opted to move to Hub Pages as HubPages has bought the remaining shambles of what is left of Seth Godin's Squidoo after Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn massaquered it in their article stealing frenzy.

While I do have a HubPages account and my remaining Squidoo Lenses can be found there temporarily, they are being moved here and deleted off HubPages as I move them

April 2017 UPDATE:

As of now, all on my 600+ Squidoo pages are now moved here to and no more are remaining on HubPages.

It's hard to believe, Squidoo has been gone for 4 years now. It was such a big part of my life for a decade.