writing help

World Building Part One: The Land

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Today is part one of my six part series on world building.  I’m supper fricking excited to get into this.  I love creating worlds and all that mess.  You would think that I play D&D because of how much I love creating new worlds, but nah I don’t.  Not that there’s anything wrong with playing D&D it’s just I don’t have anyone around me who plays so I never had the opportunity.  Any way, lets get started.  

So you’ve decided that you have to create a whole new world for your story.  That’s awesome but where do you start first?  My suggestion is the land where the story will take place.  Here are 5 things to ponder while creating your world

1. Is it one country or a whole bunch?

One country is a whole lot easier to manage than let’s say a continent.  But with a continent, you will get more diversity in your world and therefore, a world that’s more believable.  You can have multiple climates in one country (for reference check out Tamora Pierce) but you still have to apply logic.  If you decide to go the multiple country route, you don’t have to go crazy (like me) and create countries that you may not even go to.  You can always add countries later so staring out with only two or three could be more than enough to get you started.  So let’s say for the point of this post that you choose to have multiple countries.  The best thing for you to do is to tackle each country individually.  Don’t worry about how they connect, you can deal with that at the very end when you create your map of your new world.  Which leads us to the next point….

2.  What’s the topography?

What land masses make up your country.  Now bear in mind that most countries have more than one.  Does your country have mountains?  Is it a flat plane?  Are there forests?  Hills?  Cliffs?  Glaciers?  What about swamps and marshlands?  Deserts?  You can combine as many or as little of these as you want.  When using land features you should also keep in mind what other uses could the land mass be.  Sometimes they make for good boarders or even territories within the country for different cultures.  Go as wild as you like but try to stay on this side of logic, you can’t go from arctic to savanna with only a small mountain range separating it (unless you have a magical explanation).

3. Waterways

Most countries, even desert ones, have some type of water.  Water is life so it’s important to include it in some fashion.  You could have a river that cuts through your countries serving as a natural boarder.  You could even have massive lakes.  Having your country back up to the ocean is by far the easiest option.  Don’t forget to think about your farmers or work out how the water gets to the people.  Do they build wells?  Are there tributaries?  Irrigation canals?  Just having a vague thought now in the planning process can help deter a major headache later on.

4. Climate

You can’t develop a country without thinking about it’s climate.  You can have mountains in the desert that have snow and flatlands that get a fair amount of rain.  Does your world have normal seasons or is it irregular like in Westeros.  Or is it one season all the time like Narnia during the rein of the White Witch?  These factors will help you develop the cultures and peoples in your world.  People who live in harsh climates use every last scrap of whatever they get while people in milder climes can be wasteful because there’s always an abundance.  Milder climates mean easier to produce goods which can lead to some countries being wealthier than other.  Just use our own world as a guide when choosing a climate for your world.

5. Cities

You don’t have to put every possible city, town, or village on the map.  But it does help to think about the placement of a few major cities.  It’s at these places that most of your population will live in.  The first city you would place is the capital.  It doesn’t need to be in the heart of your country, but it can be.  You could even have it backing up to some of your other land masses.   I have the capital in my new book backing up to a cliff side with a drop straight to a rocky coast.  This serves as a natural safeguard for the capital and the royal family.  No hostiles can encircle the capital and they have to fight up hill to get to the ruling family.  Towns along coast lines, rivers, and before mountain ranges, all have the potential to be ports or trade cities.  If you’re going to have a class of people who rule your country, you could include some of their homes on the maps.  But if you are, maybe think about what those ruling people contribute.  They could provide lumber, so that means near woods.  Or mined minerals?  Or even crops and livestock.   Just put like a half a second thought into the places you add.

 

Well that’s all that I have for this weeks installment.  If you think I left something out or want to expand on what I talked about please comment below.  I actually, truly and honestly love getting comments.  I love connecting to my audience.

 

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See ya next time!

 

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