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World Creation & World-Building: Invaluable Steps In Writing

June 6, 2012

Several years ago, I began slowly piecing together a fantasy world. Like… epic fantasy world. I’ve shown readers bits and pieces of it through my writing. Egaea is massive. It’s just… it will be my life’s work. It spans a whole world, with multiple continents and many types of sentient life. This year, my plan is to finally work out the timeline of events so K. and I can begin truly working on the first book. Timeline of events is difficult, as there are two continents I need to do timelines for.

The creation process has been slow, but evolution usually is. It began with the Maith, a long-lived race of human-like creatures that possessed latent, untapped magic and lived on the continent of Sephryn. Only a few Maith—Leigheas and his triplet sons Justyn, Jevyn, and Jasyn, Bleidd, and Tavish—had the ability to tap into that magic. What they didn’t know was that there was a race of feral-Maith who had, thousands of years before, tapped into that magic, binding their spirits to that of animals. The first generation feral-Maith had only the slightest of animal features, but as they bred, those features became more pronounced. After the first generation, the feral-Maith didn’t bind their souls to animals because they had become half-animal themselves.

From there came the creation of Elves. Elves and Maith shared a common ancestor before the continents split. Elves were the long-lived race of magical beings. That magic also made them more prone to war. They live on the continent of Tridéa, and that land has been ripped apart by infighting and war. Originally, there were five Houses that ruled Tridéa: House of Fire, House of Life, House of Death, House of Air, and House of Earth. Through the events of the First Guild War, those five Houses fractured into eight Houses plus the non-affiliated City Guilds. It became the House of Fire, House of Water, House of Ice, House of Shadows, House of Spirits, House of Clouds, House of Earth, and House of Wood.

With the creation of the House and magic, we had to define that magic. We had to define House structure. We had to define laws and culture (such as religion, murder, slavery, and marriage). We had to define so much with the Elves that it made our heads spin. 😄 With the Elves, we had to go so far as to create the creation gods, their lands, their lesser gods, and whether or not they were active in the lives of their creations.

When we created the next race, the Varan, we kept it far more simple. The Varan are a snow-dwelling race that live off meat, some basic vegetables, and blood. Blood is their primary source of nutrition. Their continent is connected to another continent that houses Humans. Humans are a race the Varan hunt and capture, breed like cattle so their race can survive and thrive. They are humanoid, but are white skinned, pale-haired, and have red eyes. They while they can go out in the sunlight, they don’t particularly like to. They are night hunters, using the snow and darkness to their advantage. They are also the most bestial and primitive of our races.

Humans are human. 😄 We haven’t done much with them yet. There is also the continent where dragons and their humanoid masters live, but we haven’t developed them much yet. It’s a slow process, as I said, and each section and race needs as much thought and development as possible. The most detailed and real they are to K. and me, the more real they’ll be to our readers. And that’s the most important goal of world creation: believability and realism. While I want readers to suspend disbelief, I need them to do so in a nature, easy way. 🙂 So, we endeavor to do that through thorough building of races, continents, and the world as a whole.

This is what I cannot stress enough to other authors: this it all through. Every aspect of your world, even if it’s a contemporary one. Readers notice when shit doesn’t make sense or things don’t add up right, so while it may be a pain the ass to do it, think it all through. Make sure the world and people you’re using to tell your story fit together in logical ways so people don’t wind up thinking you’re off your nut in a bad way. Will you necessarily use all your research and planning? No. But it’s good to have it.

So, don’t half-ass your world creation process. You’ll get called on it by someone, I promise.

(We even went so far as to find a geologist and a theoretical astrophysicist to discuss the geography and geological progression of the continents themselves, and the astrophysicist because Egaea has two moons and we needed to know what that would truly do to the world itself. 😄 We were thorough!)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Carole-Ann permalink
    June 6, 2012 1:55 pm

    🙂 I’ve ALWAYS admired writers who can world-build! Quite a few from way-back-when…..Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley; Raymond Feist; Piers Anthony (fun!) and lots more!

    And you are right: once a reader understands the world, incongruencies can stand out like a sore thumb!! So, Thank You, for taking the time (and using all your energy) to create a new, untried world!

    Hugs
    Carole-Ann

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