How To World Build: The Beginning


Okay, here goes.

World building is a highly annoying, very rewarding, time-sponge of a thing, memory-intensive, mind-fuck experience only the entirely insane decide to do.

Many people in the past have become successful by simply writing fourteen lines on a single page about a past lover and then pronouncing themselves as the new Shakespeare, and bam: they're successful. World building on the other hand is, well, probably the thing that's made this whole writing malarkey take three bloody years. Ah, I wish i had a blog like this when i started; but, I guess you're the lucky one, because i'll be telling you the do's, donts and tricks of world building in a quick, solid minute.


Sounds crazy, right?

Trust me, you need a bit of crazy. So, run straight into it. Throw a name in the mix, grab a pen and paper and go scribble any shape you like on any piece of paper you can get your insane hands on. Then, you finish your map and sit back and observe. When observing your map, I want you to have little thought for how bad or good it looks, because for now, you've at least got your foot in the door.

Now, begin just spitting out names of places, people, anything you feel sounds right. Who are these people? Where on the map are they from? What kind of lives do they live.

That last point is vital: knowing what kind of lives they live.

Why? well, it's how you'll form the cultures. At the moment, you're creative juices shouldn't be held down by logic - it's too early for that. Once you feel like you've shat out enough bad content, you sit back again, but this time: be critical.

Refine the map and think of where the rivers, mountains, natural landmarks would be. Think of the people you've placed in the world and what those types of people would be like in this new environment you're constructing around them. Research real-life cultures and how they've been influenced by the world around them. Begin fitting their lifestyles you mentioned earlier into the mix. Change peoples, create mountains, form rivers, blow up lakes and smash apart continents.

Before you know it, your world will have its basic structure. Just keep refining and thinking always.


Now that you've got a better map, with cultures that you think feel grounded in their environments. Think of landmarks, locations and places that you think will make your world memorable. Place them in the world and maybe you'll find that one of the cultures worship one of these landmarks, or have built atop them.

A big tip: when constructing the landscape, always modify the cultures and imagine if they were real people interacting with a new land. How would they build? Where do they grow food and collect into cities?

And now, a massive piece of fantasy mystery your world might possibly need. Your gods, higher entities, powers, mysteries. What lays beyond the physical realm in your world. The great thing about this part is that you can be so goddamn creative. It might even make or break your fantasy world and the logic which ties it all together. You could even have colossal space aliens as your supreme overlords. However, if this isn't what you want for your fantasy world, then at least form parts of your world where things aren't as obvious as it sees. Its always a great base for a potential story, and will give your world this special vibe I can't really explain.

Just sprinkle in a little of magic here and there, even if science can explain it, add some more creative ideas into it all, and then yet again, look back and see how this affects your world, how it looks and how the people are affected by it. Give it all a personality. A vibe.


A wise man once said: "If you give up now, you shouldn't have started in the first place."

I'm the wise man. I said that.

Why? Because honestly, this is where you begin to forget what links into what, which races like who and what they eat and wear etc. Where the animals of the world litter the world, but no matter how many you add, it never seems like enough. You'll descend into madness as you realise the world you have just built is shallow and empty, and you'll become saddened by the feeling of total nothingness. I am joking about that last bit, but trust me, i've felt that feeling way too many times to give a heck about it now.

It's easy to watch LOTR and become totally hopeless when looking back at your own world. But please, don't give up, just take your time, and you'll get there. If you start getting overwhelmed, just start writing little short stories of characters inside your world and see where they go. Doing that, actually, does help a lot as you build parts of the world you'd never normally touch.

But yeah, I've always been terrible at organising, so please don't be me and not be organised. Anything important: write it down and store it somewhere safe; When you begin writing a proper story in this world, you'll realise that if you don't organise, you'll get lost in your own world, mixing up names and places, forgetting entire ideas simply because you forgot about it and instead wrote something entirely different, erasing the old idea etc.


Ah, you've made it this far.

Once you've got everything I've said, you've got your foundations. You can begin writing your story securely, but I do advise that when you write your story, you think of how the societies work, economies etc. But i liked doing that while writing the story as i could get a grasp of how it would actually work (as the story you'll write is the most functional and solid aspect of your world-building). But then, you can do you, so just figure it all out in your own special way.

And this is where i dramatically and unexpectedly finish this blog as the rest is all up to you. I've tried to be vague about things as i never like people putting limits on my creativity. If you want, your world doesn't have to be realistic, and it doesn't have to have a logical explanation for everything. But, just make what you like because if you truly like it, then someone out there definitely will.


Thanks for reading my s***tty blog.

Leave a comment, look around the site, and maybe even read my book inspo for your own amazing fantasy venture.

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