Some of the best fantasy stories are defined by the world they take place in, stories like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Discworld all take place in wonderful fictional places filled with monsters, creatures and people the likes of which readers all over the world have come to love and cherish. These worlds whisk us away and fill our imagination with new possible stories and characters we may meet during our time, so much so that it can lead to brand new stories that take place completely separate from the characters we’ve come to know. Perhaps you know exactly what I’m talking about already and are thinking of trying to create a world of your own to set your adventures in. If that is the case here are a few tips to help you form that world of your own.
The Minor Details
So, you’ve got a loose idea of what you want your world to be like, maybe it’s a pirate haven or a samurai ruled land or even an alien planet, knowing exactly what you want to create is an obviously important part of the process. But once you’ve decided it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and really flesh out that world, plugging up all the holes you come across so that the reader will always feel in the know and not like they’ve missed something along the way.
Firstly, it’s important to establish exactly what kind of world it is you are creating. Perhaps it’s a distant planet with next to no gravity, perhaps it’s a fiery world or an icy plane, maybe it’s all of these things, the point is you have to completely establish the place you’re creating. When doing this it can often help to draw out a map so that you can really visualise the place and don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a work of art, just something that you can understand. Remember this is your world and you can do whatever you want with it so get creative.
Why is your world the way that it is? Were there wars? Were there floods? Did global warming take complete control? Maybe the gods created a haven? Whatever your reasoning you need to think about the history behind the lands you’re creating. Everything is what it is because of its history and here you can really help your reader connect with the place you’re creating.
The laws of the world are both what defines the way things work and the way society operates. I’m talking both the laws of physics and the legal system within your world. The laws of physics are yours to play with, perhaps low gravity changes the way everyone moves about or maybe magic allows machinery to operate in marvellous ways. This will add certain characteristics to the way everything operates. Similarly, the legal laws will change the way characters interact, perhaps they live under the rule of a suppressive tyrant and want nothing but freedom? Think about this and how it relates to your story and the same with the other points, before you know it your book will be writing itself.