Welcome to another meeting of Quills and Spills! Today’s question is, How can I create a believable fantasy world?
There’s something so satisfying about creating a fantasy world with a few strokes of your pen. You can fabricate a whole universe where you can make anything happen. I can spend hours and hours building and dreaming about an imaginary world and love every second of it. Now, let’s get into it!
If you want to find inspiration for worldbuilding, try: researching a variety of real countries and cultures, drawing a map of your imagined world, and looking at the fictional universes in your favorite fantasy books. Details will help you know your story world inside and out.
Here are some things to know when constructing your fictional world:
The geography of your world. Mountains? Deserts? Are there grasslands and steppes, or rolling hills, moors, and oceanside cliffs? Or is your setting underwater, in the grottos and coral reefs of the merpeople?
Bring your story world to life in your writing by describing the colors, smells, and sounds. You could hear the lazy hum of dragonfly wings, or the shouting of market merchants, or feel the touch of palm fronds gently brushing your skin. Use the senses. Use your imagination.
Think of the natural life in your world: animals and plants. Perhaps it’s common to spot a seal or two on your walk to school along the sea, or maybe antelope herds roam the grasslands outside your village. There are also so many possibilities with your botany: trees, grass, flowers, shrubs, herbs, ferns, cacti. You could have palm trees, bamboo groves, or asphodel fields. Even just the fruit you pluck off a tree tells you something about your world. Is it an apple or a coconut? It could be a fig, date, or persimmon, plum, mango, cherry, or peach.
Then, look up into the sky. Is there a sky at all? Maybe spires, domes, and parapets crowd out the skyline, or you see a clear, bright lime-green sky, or maybe the smog blanketing your city is so thick it darkens the sky. Think of the climate. The seasons, the rainfall, the amount of sunshine, any natural disasters. There could be monsoons in the rainy season, or a drought that cracks the parched land.
Next, think of the groups where people share beliefs, ideas, and customs. Kingdoms, empires, provinces, cities, clans, tribes, villages. Races, ethnicities, species. Are there fairies, martians, or elves? Within one city, there could be various cultural groups that have settled different areas. There are different languages, dialects, and writing systems. Is there a government? There could be a monarchy, a dictatorship, a divine council, etc. Build a history for your world, with wars, peace treaties, and the rise and fall of nations.
Develop the cultures. The food, clothing, festivals/holidays, jobs, industries, art, literature, music, customs, and entertainment. What sports and instruments do the people play in their free time? Then there are the religions, mythology, folktales. How do people explain the origin of their world? You must also know the bedtime stories a grandmother would tell. They might whisper tales of the tiger that comes down from the mountains to stalk the village and eat children who throw fits about going to bed, or they might speak of fairies that work mischief on travelers who stray too far into the enchanted wood. Maybe they tell ballads, epic poetry, and sagas around a fire late at night. Do the people believe in ghosts, magic, and miracles?
Develop the society. The core values, the rules, the expectations on young people. What is considered taboo? What elevates or decides someone’s status?
Also, think of the technology, inventions, and innovations. The greatest technological advancement of the time period could be developing steel weapons made of iron that shatters bronze, rifles, hot air balloons, or a machine that can transport people to alternate realities.
If your world has magic, explain its origin, its limits and boundaries. Who can and cannot wield magic? How rare is it?
Finally, think of the power struggles. There could be conflict between the religious branches, the science institutions, and the monarchy, or between different castes. Think of political tension, social hierarchies, and unrest between cultural groups. Is there discrimination and oppression, and what are the social issues? Also, build the power struggles between nations. There could be tension between countries. Maybe one country has a military advantage over another, but one has made a world-changing technological discovery. Decide the natural resources, imports, and exports of countries, who relies on who for trade, the treaties, pacts, and alliances.
I know this was very, very long, so congrats on making it to the end! I hope this was helpful, and have fun creating worlds!
@davysmavy @lunalovegoodfan @jafaristhebest @madnsocal @delilahkitty @book-lover77 @pandafox135 @agathatedros06 @lifeasabookworm @lynxdragon67 @zee110 @lauren813 @2iycrb2qawutob @silver13 @delilahkitty @sophiethequeengoddess @agathatedros06 @cattyrose @jiop
oml this is amazing, tysm this is going to be very helpful to me!
Ah, Dae this was sooooooo helpful!! Now I have a checklist of sorts hehe
:)Thank you, this will help my worldbuilding quite a bit!!!
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