June 21, 2010

More on World-Building

So, fantasy writers, we've talked about beginning to develop your fantasy world, mapping it out, beginning to learn about and explore it. So let's continue with that train of thought, shall we?
Once you have the basics of your world - geography, countries, people groups, - figured out, where do you go from there?
For me it seems to be a gradual process. I never really sat down and said 'Today I am going to develop the Athragani culture' or 'I will now work out all the details of the Rheuhark social system.' Those things just sort of developed themselves over time, as I worked more and more with the characters from those cultures.
Oddly enough, the culture of the Taravels, which are the race closest to us Earth Humans in my book, is the least developed of all the cultures in Reyem. For me, it is actually a bit difficult to develop a culture that has a fantasy flavor to it. Human nature is the same, regardless, so there are aspects of human culture that will carry over, even into other worlds (commerce, family relations, moral ideals, love of art and music, etc.). In order for your readers to connect with your characters, they have to be able to identify with them on some level, so you have to maintain at least some aspects of human nature in your characters. At the same time, you have to take human nature/culture and give it the flavor of other-worldliness.
So how do you do that? How do you maintain enough human nature in your characters to allow your readers to identify with them, while still giving their culture the flavor of a fantasy world?


  1. Just to let you know - for some reason, comments that you post don't always go through from the moderation page onto this page, even when I choose to publish them. So if you've posted a comment that hasn't been published, don't freak out and worry that you have offended me or something. ; )

  2. It's funny when you work stuff out--I worked out theology of my NaNo world while scrubbing doors at work.

  3. I'm not good at world building, as such. Things come as they are needed--the one time I've really tried to do much in the world of culture is in my current AP story--and it's getting so bogged down in the writing that I'm not sure it isn't getting in the way of the plot.


What are your thoughts on this post? I'd love to hear your comments, questions, or ideas, even if you don't agree with me. Please be aware that I reserve the right to delete comments that are uncivil or vulgar, however.