Fantasy World Building: A How to Guide

Fantasy world building can be a fun adventure for old and new writers alike. However, it can also seem like a daunting project. The scope alone can seem intimidating and a lot of people don’t know where to begin.  They might lose motivation when they start their book and realize how much work goes into creating an entirely new world.  This article will talk about how to go about building a fantasy world.

Fantasy World Building

Continents and Geography in your Fantasy World

One of the most important things to figure out when your building your fantasy world is the size.  How large do you want your world to be? Is it only a few continents? Are there dozens? What are the sizes of the different geographical locations?  How religious are they?  Do you have deserts?  Mountains? Plains? Each continent can be different depending on where they’re located.  This can determine a lot, such as the wildlife that grows there, the population density, even the style of dress your characters prefer.


Breaking Down the Government

Once you’ve decided on your continents, you need to decide how your continents are broken down into different regions.  How many kingdoms belong to each continent?  Are any of them  divided into countries? How many are empires?  This can be important to figuring out governments. Each different region could have similar or vastly different governments which could, in turn, lead to disputes among the different countries, kingdoms, and empires. Depending on the geography, mentioned above, knowing your government can help you consider trade routes among different regions. If, for example, the northern continents are mountainous and snowy, crops might not grow there.  They might have to trade ore for food.


Religion in your Fantasy World

What kind of religion does your fantasy world practice? Does the entire world practice the same sort of religion or is it broken down based on where characters live?  Is religion mandated or voluntary? Do your characters worship one god or multiple? Or do they worship no god at all? This ties into magic.  Is magic related to religion or is it separate? Can your characters even use magic?  There are also ceremonies to consider, holidays, and other religion related topics.  Are there religious zealots in your world? Do they fight among the different regions, trying to spread what they believe as truth? This can lead to civil unrest and even war.


 Starting off Small

If all this seems rather daunting, it can be easier to start small when building your fantasy world.  Take your main character and consider where they live. How is their bedroom set-up What knick-knacks do they keep? Which style of clothing hangs in their closet? Then compare it to the rest of their household.  Are there other characters have similar taste? Is it possible these people wear similar clothing? Do the practice similar religious and societal beliefs?  Move on from there.  What’s the neighborhood like?  How does this compare to the city they live in?

Compare the city to the kingdom, empire, or country? Now compare this to their neighbors.  Do they practice the same views? Do they have the same beliefs? Once you’ve figured that out, keep moving outward until you’ve compared it to the world at large.  You’d be surprised at how simple it can be once you break it down to one character and move to include your entire world’s populace.


Make a Map

A map doesn’t have to be something fancy.  You can start by just scribbling down a few continents, drawing in mountains or coloring in deserts.  This will give you a general idea of how big your world is, and how it relates to each other.  This can help you figure out trading routes, compare religions, and ultimately set up for whatever plot you’ve decided to write. However, you can also use a map making site to help you out.


Have fun with your Fantasy World

The most important thing in building a fantasy world is to have fun. Because you’re creating something from scratch, it can seem like a huge project. Therefore, remember that it’s your project.  There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to setting up a world for your story to take place in! Just stay motivated and remember to think things through and you’re going to wow people with your fantasy novel.

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Posted August 1, 2018 by Spencer McCoy in category "Uncategorized