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.



  1. Dara
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 07:41:38

    I love when you find out that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction while researching. I find the same types of things when I’m researching for Lady of the Snow–it’s just so easy to have a world set in a place so deep with such fantastical creatures and beliefs.

  2. Victoria Dixon
    Apr 14, 2010 @ 20:46:05

    Holy Frijoles! Sorry. Wrong culture. God, what a gorgeous picture and set up. That’s perfect. I’ve been out of things for two weeks and wanted to walk around a bit tonight. Thought I’d say hi. So is this part of the story you posted the other day in the Yahoo group?

  3. Jeannie Lin
    Apr 21, 2010 @ 06:03:02

    Dara – It seems as if mythology is more deeply intertwined in Japanese and Chinese culture. It almost feels natural to weave it into the story.

    Victoria – This is indeed part of the Sorcerer’s Daughter. I think part of what fuels my process is my innate wanderlust. I have to channel it into something constructive since I don’t get to travel much anymore.