Fantasy Writing & World Building

This week is about helping writers form the basic building blocks of their fantasy stories. At the beginning of the week, we went over romance in fantasy writing and we’ve covered letting your characters speak to convey the stories emotion and mood. The rest of the week is going to cover building the rest of your fantasy world. As ServiceScape, a resource for writers say, the world you build becomes its own character in the story. We can use our lessons from showing, not telling as we build or worlds one castle at a time.

The world will live and breath with our characters. Incorporating elements of sight, sound, taste, and touch will bring a world life. Think about painting a new world one brush stroke at a time. Elements of light, dark, smells, and noise all play a part. Adding in motion to those elements complete your scene, just like a movie that plays out on the page. Details are the cement to your readers.

ServiceScape helps us break this process down into bite size pieces. Here are the exercises that they share to create small details that give a story a sense of time and space.

  1. Write down how wake up each morning in as much detail as possible? Is there light, windows, what are you wearing? What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
  1. Do you have breakfast? What do you eat? How is your food prepared?
  1. How does this change for your fantasy world?
  1. What’s the first thing our characters see when they leave for the day? What are the sights, sounds, smells, and noises?
  1. How do characters travel from place to another? Futuristic flying vehicles, unicorns, or giant monsters?

Remember, we are showing and not telling. Readers need to experience these small details with your characters and see themselves in the protagonists shoes.
Continuing with building our world one stone at a time, we need more details. Write down the answers to the following questions.

  1. What is the world’s history? Are there laws or rules? History is important because it shapes culture. Cultures have origin stories and it is tied to characters. Culture is based on common experiences for large populations. Is there a social order?
  1. If you had to map it, how is the world laid out? What is the geography?
  1. Is the planet similar to earth?
  1. How many species live there? What is the role of each species? What is their history? What is the social order in their culture and with the rest of the fantasy world?
  1. How many languages are spoken and which one is the dominant language? What are your language rules? Many writers blend different foreign languages or combine rules of two languages.
  1. Do characters have certain abilities or magic? Are there rules or limits? There are all kinds of ways to use this question. Do your characters have power and ability because of a main source? Is this something passed through the generations? Did they gain the ability through an accident or is it natural? Is training required to harness the ability?

Answering the questions above before we begin will cement the details so that we can keep the world vivid for our reader. If our mind is fuzzy, then our world will be out of focus to our reader.

I hope this helps with the next building block in your novel. You can find the reference for today at ServiceScape

Follow as I post on my progress throughout the month and share the experience.
~Yoon Ju

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Published by yoonjuwrites

I’m an author in Minnesota who started out writing and illustrating Children’s books. I’ve published poetry and adult Romance Novels. I created my website and social media to reach out to other writers because the process can be lonely. I wanted to reach out to readers, writers, and those with a dream of finishing “that” novel. I share the advice of other writers and the tools I use to create my stories.

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