In January of 2020, I wrote a column on world building but without a specific focus on any genre. In today’s column, the focus in on worldbuilding for fantasy writers. Worldbuilding is a term that you’ll hear a lot about if you write fantasy or sci-fi as many of these stories are set in worlds that the author creates and getting it right can be the difference between success and failure in the eyes of your reader. The links I’ve chosen for this column should hopefully help you understand how essential worldbuilding is when writing fantasy and the steps you need to take to create a unique world that your readers will fall in love with.
- https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/the-ultimate-guide-to-world-building-how-to-write-fantasy-sci-fi-and-real-life-worlds/ – The Ultimate Guide to World-Building: How to Write Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Real-Life Worlds: This is an excellent in-depth article that is broken down into a number of sections. It covers Imaginary Worlds, Alternate Reality, and Actual Locations. Creating an imaginary world is something most fantasy writes too and it can be complex. You have to look at a number of elements including the geography of your world, the history, language, lore, characters, social customs, politics, religion, and more. There are some examples of famous worlds that have been created along with questions you can ask yourself about your world. There’s lots of information in this article and I recommend reading it to see what you can use.
- https://self-publishingschool.com/fantasy-world-building/ – Fantasy World Building: How to World Build for Your Fantasy Novel: This article is packed with great tips on worldbuilding for fantasy writers and the article begins with a list of 13 tips which include understanding what makes a fantasy book, how to get started, time in your world building, laws and governments, how to build your society, magical systems, economy, and much more. Each of these tips is then given its own section where it is explained in greater detail. There is a lot of work that goes into creating a fantasy world and this article breaks it all down into simple steps that you can complete before you start writing your story.
- https://jerryjenkins.com/worldbuilding/ – The Writer’s Guide to Worldbuilding: How to Create Captivating Settings: This article provides tips for worldbuilding as well as things to avoid. He emphasises the fact that worldbuilding is serious and that it is important to create a world in which readers can lose themselves. He gives examples of worlds that have been a huge success such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and even the Marvel Universe. There are two types of worldbuilding; real-world fantasy such as Outlander or Second-world fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings. This is then followed by a complete worldbuilding guide with exercises you can complete. There are worldbuilding questions you can answer which really helps you to plan things out. These include things like the weather, natural resources, and how much of your world do you need to show for your story. There are worldbuilding character questions as well as how to establish the history of your world. This is a fairly detailed guide and one I recommend bookmarking so you can return to it time and time again.
- https://nybookeditors.com/2017/07/fantasy-world-building-101-create-breathing-world-fantasy-novel/ – Fantasy World Building 101: How to Create a Breathing World for Your Fantasy Novel: This article starts off with an overview of the fantasy genre and then answers the question, why is world building important for fantasy novels? It also emphasises the fact that not every element of your world will be revealed to your reader and creating this new world is essentially for the writer so you have a clear understanding of how it looks and feels. Writing down the rules and infrastructure of your world gives you something to refer to as your write your story. The next section looks at the elements to consider when worldbuilding. These include time, location, population, society, history, laws and government, magic, daily life, sentiment, religion, and physical attributes. Your world should also make sense scientifically. There’s a suggestion for drawing your own map and the article ends with some links to additional resources if you are creating a dystopian world.
- https://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/04/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/ – Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions: This is a fantastic resource from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website. It is a list of questions to help fantasy writers create believable worlds. The questions are broken down into different sections with links to the pages with all the information you need. These include categories such as The World, Physical and Historical Features, Magic and Magicians, People and Customs, Social Organization, Commerce, Trade, and Public Life, and Daily Life. Each of these categories has sub sections too. In the World section you can find questions on the basics, alternate Earth, and not Earth at all. There is a lot of fantastic information and this is a page that every fantasy writer needs to bookmark.
- https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-an-engaging-fictional-world – Worldbulding Tips: How to Write and Engaging Fictional World: This final article is from MasterClass and it explains how the worldbuilding process is an important aspect of writing fantasy and sci-fi. The article offers 10 worldbuilding tips for writers and these include establishing the type of world you want, deciding where to start, listing the rules and laws, describing the environment, defining the culture, language, history, developing characters, and planning. The tips are excellent and a great starting point when planning your fantasy world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the links this week and now have the tools and advice necessary to start creating your fantasy world. If there is a topic you’d like to see me cover, all you need to do is get in touch with me via any of my social media links.
(c) Amanda J Evans