World Building panel

Medar – digitized in GIS

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being part of a panel on World Building. I don’t claim to be an expert–after all, I’ve only created one world. But I have been building it for quite a long time … I started in 2003!

In preparation for the panel, I did a bit of research on world building, and was relieved to discover I’d done some things right. I guess being an avid science fiction and fantasy fan my whole life paid off!

Here’s some of the key things to think about if you’re wanting to build a world:

  1. World building goes beyond setting – you need to think about the written and unwritten laws:
    1. Technology
    2. Governance
    3. Distance unit
    4. History
    5. Geology
    6. Currency
  2. Use other author’s worlds to inspire yours – there are rules around this, but a general one is change 3 things. For example, in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, she takes a wasp, then makes it genetically modified, adds a hallucinogenic venom and changes its name to ‘tracker-jacker’. But there are some things you can use, like the familiar tropes of elves, gnomes, dwarves and wizards. And others you can’t, like orcs, the Death Star and Oz.
  3. The World is not the main focus!

Plus have a map!

I was pleased to discover I’d thought of most things. In particular, I did have a map. But I was forced to think about the geography a lot more when one of my sisters decided to digitise my world.

“How high is the Golden City?” “How deep is the Chasm?” “How far is the Wall from the Chasm?” These were great questions, and pushed me to consider these elements.

However, as I got further into my trilogy, I discovered that I hadn’t figured out everything about my world, which could have caused a major issue if it hadn’t been for the fortuitous fact that I’m writing fantasy, which means I have magic to sort out a few curly issues. Thank goodness!

So my final piece of advice is: Think about as many elements of your world as you can before you publish. It could save you a lot of time later on.

Book 1 Medar – published August 2017. Click here to purchase.

Book 2 Tyrelia – published March 2019. Click here to purchase.

Book 3 Golden City – published November 2020. Click here to purchase.

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