We all love sci-fi and fantasy. And who among us doesn’t know about the epic created by Tolkein? The Middle Earth has been an inspiration for generations of writers to indulge themselves in the world of fantasy. Likewise, Pern has etched itself in the mind of almost all dragon keepers. No one can deny the enormity of the creation of Dune also.
We all love it when things go towards the thrill of unknown. Creating a world for the sole purpose of giving life to a story is tough as hell. Let us find out what does it take to make a tiny Big Bang of our own.
Need of a new World
What if the LOTR had been set up on earth? Somewhere around Africa maybe? Or maybe America? Wait! It might have been Asia? LOL.
The LOTR got its soul from the creation of the Middle Earth. Imagine Tolkein working on an atlas to find a suitable spot for Mordor or taking notes of swamps atound valleys for his book. Would it have gotten LOTR as famous? The simple answer is NO.
We stumble upon quite a number of created worlds or altered timelines as we move through fiction. Lets find out!! why they are created.
→ Fiction authors have to alter a lot of known rules to create their story. At some point, It becomes impossible to fit it all into our world without tweaking it towards awkwardness. The only option left to the authors is to tweak the reality itself or create an alternate one.
→ Often the story demands an alternate reality and the authors work according to its needs.
→ Many fictions are based upon the existance of parallel worlds. The Sword of the Truth couldn’t have been even started if not for the three lands.
→ Many authors mess a little with the most obvious facts to get a sense off reality into their stories.
We find different levels of parallel and alternate realities in many stories. Some of them are as vast as LOTR or Inheritance while some of them have minor tweaks as in Harry Potter.
The future worlds like The Hunger Games or the Uglies are easier to create since they require only a little speculation.
Skeleton for the new world
You need a basic structure to create your world. You should determine it according to the needs of your storyline.
→ Start with making a crude sketch of the places you are going to include in your story.
→ Don’t mark all the places at once. Keep modifying your sketch with the story until you have a rough map with scale of some degree.
→ Add Landscapes relevant to your story.
→ If you are writing about an alternate reality or different timeline, try to superimpose your work upon a readymade map of similar scale.
→ If you are going extraterrestrial, fix the distance from parent star, time period per day, time units, weather and land : water ratio at first.
→ Don’t go into details initially. If the map decides your storyline, create a simple, borderline, on-scale map for reference.
Once you have your initial on-scale sketch ready, you can spend your time in giving soul to it.
→ Try defining your world in detail after the halfway mark of your story.
→ You have the major storylines, direction of story and side quests ready when you reach the halfway point. It is a good time to work on the details of the map.
→ If you are writing an adventure story, always create two possible ways further. It makes the map more interesting.
→ Make the areas near your focus relevant to the story. If your lead is a group, adding a side quest for an individual off the main storyline is a good thing.
→ Don’t try to draw the maps of populated areas until the end. When your story is finished, you have a lot of time to explore the possibilities of your world.
Some useful tips
→ Try to make all your sketches on graph paper if possible.
→ Create terrains at your will. You are the God for your world.
→ Try to create different species of animals if possible. Many writers don’t care about beasts. But if you have created different species of sentient beings, different species of animals make things more real.
→ Try to design a functioning society. (Don’t put a farm in the middle of desert 😉 )
→ Keep it different. There is no point in another world if everything there is simillar to earth.
These are some basic tips to create your fantasy world. You can improvise as much as you like.
I am all open to your ideas! 🙂