The Shale Project is a multimedia storytelling initiative roughly in the shape of a planet. It's about three things:


On Shale, no story is truly a stand-alone. Each work further adds to the planet’s history, building the world across continents and over centuries. We aim to create an engaging home base for the stories we tell, and explore everything from international trade disputes to local coming-of-age ceremonies.


Art often requires us to be geologists and linguists and occasional assassins. But above all, we are storytellers. The Shale Project is a place for us to explore our love of storytelling through a variety of mediums, and to create exciting, dynamic content for a curious audience.

Art as Medicine

Our philosophy is that the stories we tell on Shale should not only serve to entertain, but to help us critically examine our own lives and experiences on Earth (or whatever planet you currently inhabit!). Through our stories, we strive to foster a culture of connection, empathy, and curiosity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wait, so what is this exactly?

Shale can be described as a multimedia storytelling initiative roughly in the shape of a planet! It serves as a hub for the different stories we intend to publish, and is essentially a world building playground. The website itself offers you the tools to navigate different parts of the world featured in our stories, and gives more in-depth information on these places. Feel free to ask us questions about the specific places as well–your questions are what help us know what kind of information people might like to see when exploring!

Why build a planet?

Well, because we wanted to. We believe that storytelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and that it is absolutely essential to the human experience. At the very least, it’s how we keep ourselves sane. Using the entire planet as a resource gives us the opportunity to interweave these stories on a large scale. As artists, it creates a sense of consequence. Sometimes, the tiniest things can change the entire world. Sometimes, the big things aren’t actually that big. We’re just trying to process the whole point of existence. No biggie.

On a less existentially fraught note, it’s just a whole lot of fun to do! There are a lot of questions we have about our own world that we are able to explore and play with here. How do people navigate a world far less globalized than Earth? What if money wasn’t the primary tool of exchange? Precisely how big and ugly can we make a creature called a “molewhale” before it goes from an adorable mascot to a blight on society?

Where can I find your fine works?

Our current flagship piece, The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming, is available both through the website and on Amazon. The first chapters are also available to read for free, so you can get an idea if it might be your vibe! If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to leave a review on Goodreads and spread the word about both the book and Shale itself!

I want to write a story for Shale!

We’re so glad that you’re excited about the project! Unfortunately, we are not currently accepting story submissions. However, if you are interested in worldbuilding alongside us and have a specific skill to offer (visual artists, costumers, musicians, etc), please shoot us an email at We may be interested in checking out your portfolio and seeing if you’d be a good fit as a one-time or regular contributor!

When are you gonna do something on Cygmia? I heard Avi say something about… dinosaurs?

It takes a while to write a story, but I assure you that we intend to touch down on every continent! Sign up for our email list and you will know precisely when Avi’s dinosaur dreams come true.

I want to smooch Ronoah, is that allowed?

That’s his choice, really. We’re just the publicists.

Creators and

It takes a pantheon to build a planet. As of now, Avi and Sienna are the primary contributors to Shale, but we would not be here without the help of Carisa Van de Wetering, Rebecca Spence, Alex Wright, and Neil Hughes. As the planet grows, we hope to see the pantheon do the same.

Sienna Tristen is the author of Shale’s flagship project, The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming. As the Shale’s resident linguist, she’s responsible for nearly all of the planet’s languages and names. Many of the regions’ economic and agricultural realities come from her hours of eager research, and she can spit out a creation myth any time. She is currently working on the second book of The Heretic’s Guide.


Sienna Tristen

Fickle God of the Harvest

Avi Silver is the author of Shale’s ongoing serial, Tales from a Library. They are also responsible for much of the website’s upkeep and content creation. Their special interests on Shale include pre-Shattering civilizations, the early Bereni Recovery Period, examinations of gender roles, and the development of world religions. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it was their choice to make shalledrim capable of purring.



Avi Silver

Meddling God of Despair