Don’t Forget to Research When You Craft Fantasy

currently playing on my iPod: Cinema (Skrillex Remix) by Benny Benassi

Fantasy doesn’t only grow out of a writer’s mind. To be rich and believable, it also springs from history, from culture, from the study of mankind.

Presently, I’m a touch obsessed with Netflix’s Marco Polo.


Well, it’s not just the cute Italian and the amazing costumes and the seriously fun kung fu fighting.

The colorful history and cultural aspects hooked me.

The show’s creators combined both myth and historical records to craft a Mongolian and a Chinese culture we westerners never see.

Kublai Khan’s golden silks speak to his dedication to luxury, his feeling that he deserves such splendor. The deference that Jia Shidao, Chinese minister and general asshat, shows to the very, very young Chinese emperor displays the softer side of the enemy. The Mongol court’s overarching passion for the warrior way of life contrasts beautifully with the Chinese court’s eclectic style and attention to demeanor.

The story has every shadow and color a viewer could want because of the research involved in its evolution. It pulls you in with details that feel true and real and poignant. 

Does your fantasy reflect such painstaking and unique detail? Why not? If you have a bland spot, or God forbid, a plot hole, try looking into history and/or cultures for an answer that will surprise and delight your readers. 

And in case you want a peek into this world of Marco Polo, here is an interview with a few of the fantastic actors.


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