World Building 101: In The Beginning.
Welcome! Welcome! People of Earth and beyond! World builders and storyteller of all ages, to my very first blog post! Here you will learn everything you need to know about creating fantasies and building worlds!
.... Okay let's be real this probably isn't the end all be all blog about world building that will make you a master of all things fantasy, but I have been creating my own world for my work in progress fantasy novel for over ten years. In that period of time the world of Ieonia has grown far bigger than what my 8 year old self could have ever comprehended and I have decided to share my experiences on the subject with you all. Alright so enough of the dilly dallying and let's get into world building.
GEOGRAPHY: The Foundation of the World.
So since we are starting in the beginning it would be best to learn about the geography of your world. Geography is the basis of just about everything else. Without a place to stand on all of your living creatures would just be falling through a void of nothingness. But figuring out what you land is going to look like can be difficult.there are many factors to account for such as climate, elevation, heck even magic can play a part in the geography if you want it to.
Let’s first think about the land itself. How big do you want the world to be? Is it the size of earth or a remote island stranded in the middle of the universe? Or perhaps you only need world building for a single city or kingdom so you don’t necessarily need to care too much about the rest of the world.
Next think about what it would look like. Is it one huge continent or a bunch of little islands? Is it maybe similar to Earth in that it has multiple different continents along with a few islands? Or what if your world is an entire planet without very many bodies or water to separate it into multiple land masses.
Got the first two down? Good next is the elevation. How high or low is your land from the sea level? Do you want it to be above the sea level and if so by how much? Is the land of mostly mountains so it is high in the sky? Or do you want to go even higher than that and have the land be floating in mid air?
Maybe you want to go at or below sea level. Where I live in Florida we are basically right at sea level, but there are places on earth that are even below sea such parts of the Netherlands. Perhaps you want to go all out Atlantis up in here and make your entire kingdom completely submerged in the ocean. (In which case then you have to account for race/species of the inhabitants of your kingdom and possibly how they breath underwater which can probably be an entire conversation in itself) You also don’t have to choose one specific elevation, your world could have tons of different elevation levels all over the place. In the example of my own world Ieonia I have multiple different elevations in the same continent. Like there are towns that and high in the mountains and cities where the land is caved in and the kingdom is entirely underground.
Now that you have figured out the basic layout of the land itself we need to work out the climate.Similar with elevation you can have all types of different climates in your world as long as you at least have some sort of reason behind it. The United States has a different climate for almost every state because of its position to the equator (or at least from what I remember from high school geography.) Ieonia has two completely opposite climates in neighboring kingdoms because each one is home to either a tribe of ice giants or fire giants.
Maybe you have a scene in your head about your characters trudging uphill in a blizzard so you want a cold climate, but you also have to think about if you want it to be forever cold like Antarctica and Narnia or is it just a season. Perhaps you image a tropical rain forest full of plants, animals, and a group of amazonian style warriors so you need a warmer, rainier climate.
5. Flora, Fauna and other natural landmarks.
The last thing for today I want to discuss is the type of plants and animals you want in your world as well as any other natural structure you want to add. The climate and elevation can sort of help figure that out somewhat. You wouldn’t find icebergs and polar bears in the desert.
First let’s think about the plants. Say you have a tropical island would you have palm tree and wildflowers or dense forests and vines? Maybe your world is underwater do you want it to have coral reefs or do you want something more like what it would be above land? You could have magic plants, they would always a cool touch to any fantasy world. There could be sentient forest or talking flowers like they have in the Wizard of Oz and Alice and Wonderland. It’s all up to your imagination.
Next think about what kind of animals that are there. Do you have cattle and sheep for food and wool or perhaps there is a magical immortal goat that respawns after you cook and eat it from Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series. Do you have Mystical creatures? Are there Unicorns and Centaurs? Or do you prefer the Dungeons and Dragons style creatures like owlbears and phase spiders?
Lastly are there any types of natural landmarks that you want to have like volcanoes or waterfalls? Are there perhaps a series or caves and caverns? Is there a large lake that is home to a mystical goddess of the sea? Maybe it is similar to the Sahara desert and there is a bunch of sand dunes. Is there a huge waterfall that is covering a massive cavern that is home to and ancient god who has hidden themselves from society.
These are all just things to think about while you are going through the process of creating your very own world for whatever you need that for. And this also is not the mandatory starting place for starting to world build, this is just the place that I thought was a good starting point for my world building series. This isn’t even the first place I started when I began making Ieonia, when I first had the idea in elementary school I just knew that I wanted a fantasy land that with a large castle where I could be a princess and everything just snowballed from there. So if you have a specific idea in mind that has to be a part of your world just build up from that.
So whether it is for a new novel or comic book. Or you are making an rpg game or tabletop campaign guide I hope this helped you get a little bit closer to bringing your fantasy to life.
If you have any suggestions on what to blog about or questions for me feel free to comment down below and be sure to check out the rest of my website to learn a little more about me and my current and upcoming projects.