Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Building a World for Fantasy

You know by my post yesterday that I've just gotten ideas for a brand new book. And being that this book will take place in another world almost exclusively, I know that I will have to take time to create that new world.

Those of you who write fantasy know that you need to know your character's world very intimately before you get too far down the road with it. If you write science fiction, especially, you have to do the homework and work on every little aspect of that world.

With me so far?

My world has a name, I call it Darkland. I have a few characters and I know where they originated from, and I'm working out why they came to be where they are, and what they are. I've decided that there will be no sun. But there will be moons. Their intelligence is extraordinary and they are highly magical, as well as the majority are vampires. The vampires are the higher echelon of other beings. But there are different kinds of vampires. They don't all need blood to survive.
Demons, werewolves and humans also make up a portion of their population.

Now you might just be posed with this very delema yourself, one day, so how does it all work and where do you start? Rome, they say, wasn't built in a day!

It would be helpful that you have some sort of reference book. Mine is "The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference" from Writer's Digest. This is a necessary tool to help you get the basics down, help fill in some of the gaps, and you won't have to take repeated trips to the library, unless you need something more specific. But we'll do the very basics here.

So, this afternoon I wrote on note cards the basic things I need to know about this world.

Social Order (Upper, middle, lower classes)
Economy (money, trades etc.)
Military/Police (as well as judicial system)
Government (Feudalism, manorialism [medieval Europe], religious order? Or something else?)
Architecture/Art, etc.
Clothing/style (what do they wear is important! How/where do they get the materials to make clothing)
Energy source (electricity? or something else?)
Food (what do they eat, if there is no sunlight?)
Light (If there is not sunlight, then there must be moons for light, but if there is no electricity, could there be something else? Like some sort of glowing animal, bird or bug?)

So, you see there is a lot to think about if you must create a whole new world, should you not be using Mother Earth. Even if you are, and the story takes place in a different time period, you must know what that time period used for each of these things.

Did I miss anything?


  1. Congrats on starting a new novel! It sounds excellent. I've got to get this reference book you speak of. Sounds like it would be really helpful! Good luck and have fun creating.

  2. Yes, I highly reccomend this book. Or any that you can get your hands on. This has an introduction by Terry Brooks. Very well organized, and detailed.

  3. Lorelei, this is a very interesting post. I will be creating a new world in my next novel as well, which is entirely new to me, but the idea has been brewing for so many years now I couldn't put it aside any longer.

  4. It is a huge step in developing a whole new world. J.L. I did it with my book "Spell of the Black Unicorn". Even though the first book took place on Earth, Zofia and her family had to have their own ways, and their world has been the most fastinating one I've ever built from ground zero.

    And for those who want to find this book I'd listed in my blog, I found it in back of Writer's Digest magazine in the May/June issue, it is now a combo of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing. So Heather, and anyone who expressed an interest, this is the new title. I hope to find it and maybe post the cover, if I'm able so you all can find it easier.

    Hope to become chapter-buds!


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