Worldbuilding made easy

Xuankongsi_hanging_temple_thumbnailSometimes I feel like I’m cheating. You almost don’t have to work that hard to create a fantasy world when it’s set in China. The names are lofty and symbolic and the legends and folktales are more imaginative than anything I would come up with on my own; from the five sacred mountains to the City of the Dead in Fengdu.

Here’s where my research took me last night. My hero and heroine were headed for the Northern Great Mountain and I wanted some inspiration. Googling for monasteries on the Hengshan mountains leads me to the Hanging Monastery.

The monastery is over a thousand years old and is built into a mountainside suspended over a gorge. It’s the perfect place for meeting a mysterious Taoist master, don’t you think? I did take one liberty of elevating the location to near the summit above the cloudline. More dramatic that way.