Creating your world when writing a fantasy novel is one of the most important steps when establishing a firm, believable, foundation for your fantasy novel. If your world doesn’t work, or does not make sense, you are fighting an uphill battle in inviting in your reader. Your world should be fully developed before you put your pen to paper. Certainly you will need to consider the thoughts and ideas you are toying with for your novels scenes, plots or quests, but much of the stories action and events will have to have some relationship with the atmosphere and terrain of your world.
Certainly ma ke detailed notes when designing your world and lands, but you could also bring your world alive for yourself by drawings and painting or models and dioramas. I fully recommend doing this.
If your world has many lands, how are they separated? If there are a variety of villages or communities in your novel, there is typically something in the geography, and/ or history that might explain why there are differences.
In creating the terrain for your fantasy novel, you must consider things such as distance and time, certainly you might give your characters some mastery over this concept, but it is a concept that does exist, and one your reader will be sure to notice if it is not consistent, or justify inconsistency.
Keep in mind when developing your fantasy world that your characters and events will relate to their environment somehow.
The terrain or fall of the land, plants and animals must all work in harmony with each other. Big furry animals don’t live in the desert, and you will have a hard time convincing your reader they do. If your fantasy novel does happen to include a big hairy beast living in the desert, you will need to justify this somehow within your pages. Tropical, lush warm weather plants would also be out of place on an ice shelf.
When creating the plants of your fantasy world, consider the food that your characters eat, and the food that your animals will eat. If your characters and animals are all well fed vegetarians, you might consider that they live in an environment rich in vegetation. Although this is a fantasy world, some basic principles of ecology and biology must be present. Your Fantasy world is a real world even though it may only exist in your novel.
With the existence of plant life, there must also be water: if the water is polluted the plant life may not fare so well. How does the water get there?
Animals and creatures are likely to play a part in your fantasy novel. This is a fantasy novel and these are fantasy creatures, but they must belong in their environment. If you are designing a simple dragon, the colours of the dragon might reflect the natural colors found in its environment, a desert dragon would be sandy colored, unless the desert was a dark sand desert in which case the colors might be similar to the darker earth of your world. If your dragon exists or is a traveler from an icy environment, it might be shades of blue and white. A dragon of no fixed address would most likely have a chameleon like ability.
Consider what food your animals eat and their climate when developing their physical characteristics. Do they hunt or stalk? Are their physical attributes capable of such endeavors. Consider their defense mechanism and also their attack ability where it might be a feature; imagine how they move and even how they might smell. Animals and creatures may communicate with each other or across species, when developing your animals and creatures be sure to consider their communication ability.
Don’t be sparing with your imagination when creating your animals and creatures. Their shapes and abilities may be inspired by our earth animals, but this is a fantasy world, either existing in a time before life that we know today or well into an imaginable future, perhaps in a time similar as our today but certainly on another realm. Your animals and creatures must appear as if they belong there and not here.
You may have noticed that I am suggesting an awful lot of minute detail here, much of this detail may not even make the pages of your finished fantasy novel. In fact it is not particularly advisable to force detail to your readers, but if you do not see your world clearly, and know every part of it, you cannot expect your readers to make something up to save you the effort. Besides, in my opinion, this is the most exciting stage in the development of your fantasy novel, this is one process that is far more fun than work, and will certainly keep your inspiration alive during the writing process.
Barry Sheppard is the author of 15 books, featured on Amazon & Google. He is now concentrating on writing various Ebooks and articles for his members. Subjects are diverse such as Making Your Video, Writing Your Ebook, LottoBuster and Writing Your Novel.
Being a very experienced writer with over 25 years experience, he has helped budding authors and can help you to get your book written. Join now. It’s Free.