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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Fantasy Writing Picture Prompts OR Inspiration For Fantasy Locations

When this scheduled post is published, I will be away on holiday. I hope everybody is enjoyed what they can of summer wherever you are, and that you're staying fantasy-focussed!

I thought I'd do a fantasy settings/worlds post. Below are a series of images are may or may not be familiar, depending on where you live, but I found that each one holds an aspect of the Fantastic that can be drawn out and used when writing fantasy literature.

Of course, everybody is inspired by different things, and perhaps these images do nothing for you. But I'm going to share a little bit of what runs through my mind (it would actually be impossible to capture every tiny thought that runs through my mind because when I'm inspired, it races like a cheetah) and perhaps that will give someone a foot up for an idea or piece or writing, or the foundation of building a fantasy world.

Good luck!

Disclaimer - none of the following images below to me. c:

This image is of Jordan. What immediately caught my attention is the rock-cut architecture and how alluring it is to see a building made completely out of rock and not metal of glass. I see a place of high regard, such as a temple or library of rare tomes. 
Reminds Me Of: Wan Shi Tong's Spirit Library from Avatar: The Legend Of Aang

This is also an image of Jordan. My thoughts are; arena (Roman or Greek in my head), pit, trial, play, death. Gladiators! Death. Crowds. Performers, musicians... death.
Reminds Me Of: what I imagined of Roman-style trials and orations from the book Roman Blood by Steven Saylor.

This is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. I'd recommend Google Images as you can't see it clearly here, but it's actually perched up high at the top of a hill. I imagine a very proud and well-elevated family occupying this castle in a fantasy epic. They would be ruthless and very cunning, with lots and lots of daughters, son and extended relatives all plotting together to monopolize an empire.
Reminds Me Of: Hogwarts.

This image is of Colombo. Look at that incredible bumpy slope! What sort of fantasy creatures can you imagine living in this hideaway, so pure and green?
...don't say unicorns.
Reminds Me Of: The Shire, Lord Of The Rings.

And here we have *sardonic applause* Londooooon, my hometown. I must say, this is one of the better images. The reason it caught my eye and my imagination so intensely is because of all the lights; mainly amber, and I also see glowing reds, blues and greens - all beneath an uneasy purple sky. I don't know why but that feels ominous to me. The opposite should be true, but I feel that all of the lights could conceal a terror right underneath the gaze of a fast-moving city.
...Dementors, perhaps?
Reminds Me Of: the book Dream London, by Tom Ballantyne

I simply couldn't do this post without mentioning the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. It one of the most incredible events of this world that occurs naturally but looks like it seeped out of a wizards wand and crawled across the sky and fell asleep.
Reminds Me Of: the children's book Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This is Hatfield Forest Lake. In one of my more recent stories, I wrote about a young woman who witnesses the falling of heaven, instigated by creatures who possess cats, and ill-willed people with wands. In my mind, this is what the breaking of the lower heavens looked like.
Reminds Me Of: my story, The Cats And The Keys.

Taj Mahal. How could I not?
There's nothing to be said.
Reminds Me Of: I have no idea why, but Slumdog Millionaire.

Loch Ness, Scotland. I love this image because of that bizarre branch sticking out of the water. it looks wrong. It looks like something is missing, which makes you wonder - what used to be there, then?
Reminds Me Of: villages built on water - like Laketown in The Lord Of The Rings.

I got really confused because the file name read blah-blah-letters-numbers-columbus-monaco-monte-carlo, so I thought dang, is it Columbus, Monaco, or Monte Carlo? SO CONFUSED! What I understand now is, it's referring to the Columbus Monte-Carlo Hotel which is in Monaco, which is in France. Phew.
Look at the fierce orange lights. Doesn't it look like the city is burning of dragon-fire?
Reminds Me Of: that dragon movie I always forget the name of, and natural-disaster movies like 2012 where everything is burning because of earthquakes and eruptions and whatnot.

South Africa. I don't know if somebody had had too much fun with the contrast button, but if not, then I love how the sky is so vividly blue with these small bursts of floating clouds, and look at how dark the water is. I imagine a steampunk-like industrial city, I see airships being built and tested here and being flown up above the bubble clouds and away.
And if I can get away with some dragons up in here, let's do it.
Reminds Me Of: ...nothing in particular, actually.

What places, from either home or abroad, sets your mind to wonder? Do any of the Seven Wonders Of The World stand out to you as particularly awe-inspiring? Share!

Ashana Lian .


  1. Good post. My favourites are London (of course), the castle in Germany and the France one. The South African one has an ominous tone that I like too - like something is about the break the surface of the water.

    I notice you mention Northern Lights and call it a children's book... when you're in the mood, can you do a post about what constitutes YA as a conclusion to our recent discussions? I am very clear about it but think it would make an interesting post and debate.

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Images serve as a source for many of my fantasy ideas, and I can't seem to stop seeing them when I'm online.

      Sure, I think that's a very good idea. I'll do research on the topic and post my analysis not tomorrow but the following Thursday.


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