Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 50

Thread: World Building, how do you do it?

  1. #1
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Zealand: Auckland
    Posts
    1,612

    Default World Building, how do you do it?

    Hello everyone! Just a question for you all.

    This question is mainly directed to people who have, or attempted to, create their own fictional world.

    .............................

    Okay, well, I love Fantasy novels. I adore the complexity of the world that was created, the depth and effort put into such a world.

    How do you guys do it? What method/steps do you guys use?

    Any websites that would be useful for me to check out?

    Now, I realise this is quite a vague question, but I would rather appreciate everyone's opinion/thoughts and advice.

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  2. #2
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 宮體詩人
    Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,671
    Tournaments Joined
    1
    Tournaments Won
    0
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    The main problem is visualization. You have to tweak your writing somewhat to convey what you're imagining. Whilst it's easy to describe things in the real world, it's much tougher trying to explain some monster you've just made up! You need to pay attention to this, so that your reader doesn't get too lost. Take things slow and don't overburden your audience too soon. I guess this might work from a writing perspective too. Start small and then work up. Create a city, write about that, then move up to a country, a continent, then the entire world perhaps. That's one way to do it, to ensure you're not trying to do too much at once. That's why I advocate writing a few short stories in your new setting before moving on to a longer piece, so that you and your audience can get to grips with your new world at a manageable pace.

    There are a few websites I stumbled across in my time, although thinking back, not too many were very useful. I got much more inspiration from reading/watching/playing other fantasy stuff. Drawing pictures and maps is always a bonus too, to help you convey your setting.

    I'm playing about with world-building at the moment, with a potential new fantasy project. Not sure where I want to go with it just yet, but I'm more than happy to discuss the process.
    Last edited by Hitai de Bodemloze; March 21, 2014 at 10:36 AM.
    Yokai
    Chapter 50 - 11.3.16


    Otousan

  3. #3
    Anduril248's Avatar Miles
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Rapid City South Dakota
    Posts
    349

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    I do lots of world building (favorite part)................I often start with a map and the slowly decide the lore of each area, and expand into the geo-political tensions of the world. I world-build several times year, but this last one has been almost year of pre-planning and thought, so I hope to have my prologue done soon. I used to explain the creation of the world, how it formed and bore my reader, i am trying to stray away from that so i hope i can place the lore that is necessary in key points to unfold my world...but then again i have just put pen to paper!
    Of Blades and Bows, CW PROJECT
    "The most incomprehenisble thing about the universe that it is comprehensible"-Albert Einestine

  4. #4
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Zealand: Auckland
    Posts
    1,612

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anduril248 View Post
    I do lots of world building (favorite part)................I often start with a map and the slowly decide the lore of each area, and expand into the geo-political tensions of the world. I world-build several times year, but this last one has been almost year of pre-planning and thought, so I hope to have my prologue done soon. I used to explain the creation of the world, how it formed and bore my reader, i am trying to stray away from that so i hope i can place the lore that is necessary in key points to unfold my world...but then again i have just put pen to paper!
    I had an idea for this, I'll speak more of it below.

    The main problem is visualization. You have to tweak your writing somewhat to convey what you're imagining. Whilst it's easy to describe things in the real world, it's much tougher trying to explain some monster you've just made up! You need to pay attention to this, so that your reader doesn't get too lost. Take things slow and don't overburden your audience too soon. I guess this might work from a writing perspective too. Start small and then work up. Create a city, write about that, then move up to a country, a continent, then the entire world perhaps. That's one way to do it, to ensure you're not trying to do too much at once. That's why I advocate writing a few short stories in your new setting before moving on to a longer piece, so that you and your audience can get to grips with your new world at a manageable pace.

    There are a few websites I stumbled across in my time, although thinking back, not too many were very useful. I got much more inspiration from reading/watching/playing other fantasy stuff. Drawing pictures and maps is always a bonus too, to help you convey your setting.

    I'm playing about with world-building at the moment, with a potential new fantasy project. Not sure where I want to go with it just yet, but I'm more than happy to discuss the process.
    Thank you for your advice, both of you!

    I'll be back very soon, I'll add the rest when I get back!
    Last edited by Tigellinus; March 21, 2014 at 03:32 PM.




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  5. #5
    Lуra's Avatar BOP! BOP! BOP!
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    BCN, Catalunya, ES
    Posts
    8,533

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    I started with maps as well, mainly focusing on political borders and -at most- some Tolkienesque geography. From there it kept complicating till the point that I, in order to advance, I had to actually develop the cultures I was making up. I then realized I need languages for that, so I sort of went off on a tangent and began the huge task of giving my world a natural and realistic language progression. I would say I am more of a con-worlder, wherein I try and make a simulation, artistic as it may be, of a world very similar to ours. I've tried to make it akin to our world, but with its own distinguishing features, as I had grown tired of seeing countless Tolkien rip-offs (maybe too harsh a world, Tolkien-Based, I mean).

    So, you have the choice on how thoroughly you want to do this. Make it a simulation with cultures, history and languages or a vaguer base from where you can launch your story? It's all up to you. I am a slave of the former, though, a horrid perfectionism being like a rusty anchor to my ankle. But, dude, having your own language(s) is cool...

    But on the writing, as f0ma said, you have to ease into this and/or build up to the many exotic and interesting things your world will have to offer to the reader. If it is so complicated, add an appendix; or you can be rather vague in the beginning, slowly bringing to light the sharp details (plot twists, revelations, story mechanisms, explanations) to the surface whenever needed.

    ~Lyra


    The Dread Pirate Roberts IV

  6. #6
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 宮體詩人
    Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,671
    Tournaments Joined
    1
    Tournaments Won
    0
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    I think I only ever invented my own fictional language once and even then it had less than twenty words It was kinda half spoken and half body language. I never got to test it out on an audience though. An interesting fantasy project I actually wouldn't mind going back to one day.
    Yokai
    Chapter 50 - 11.3.16


    Otousan

  7. #7
    Axis Sunsoar's Avatar Campidoctor
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    All along the Watchtower
    Posts
    1,757

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    I have a friend who is a brilliant artist, and I like to press him into drawing me a pencil sketch of a continent/world. When I get the pictures I deface them fairly effectively, marking up places where mountains and such should be, then working my way down the feature scale into cities and other landmarks created by the world's inhabitants. I write a paragraph or two about each location, and then a bit about the events of the area, so I have something of a history book to write from, and then I add in some of the major players, so that in the end I have a complete history to refer to while I'm writing the actual story to help me incorporate all of the elements I have created.


    The story of a single man of Dale - A Dalesman far from home

  8. #8
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,821

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    As a historian (amateur admittedly) that is always where I begin. Starting with 'the basics', such as oral traditions, cultures, tribal links and so forth, then developing bodily aspects, then where they might dwell. Only right at the end do I even consider creating a map and a land for them. Religion, politics, relationships, it all comes first for me.

    Probably no help, but that's how I do it.

  9. #9
    Scottish King's Avatar Campidoctor
    Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    1,821

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    All the advice given above is valid. When I built mine I actually wrote the history behind the world (galaxy for me) and went from there.
    The White Horse: Hanover AAR (On going ETW AAR)
    Tales of Acamar: Legends WS Yearly Award Best Plot Winner (On-going CW Piece)
    The Song of Asnurn: An Epic Poem MCWC VI Winner (On-hold CW Piece)
    Tales of Acamar: Outbreak (Finished)
    To Conquer the World for Islam A Moor AAR (Finished)

  10. #10
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 宮體詩人
    Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,671
    Tournaments Joined
    1
    Tournaments Won
    0
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    It seems a lot of people dream up the entire world first and then narrow in their story ideas from there. I won't criticize this view in the slightest, as I'm sure it works. The reason I advocated the opposite is perhaps down to my own personal writing preference, since I tend to write on the fly and make things up as I go along.
    Yokai
    Chapter 50 - 11.3.16


    Otousan

  11. #11
    Lуra's Avatar BOP! BOP! BOP!
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    BCN, Catalunya, ES
    Posts
    8,533

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    I would say I use a combination of both, as I don't -well, can't- develop a 100% complete history and world for the story when I begin. So I go on inventing some details (major and minor) along with the material I do have at hand. Thus I maintain cohesion and flexibility.

    ~Lyra

    The Dread Pirate Roberts IV

  12. #12
    Scottish King's Avatar Campidoctor
    Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    1,821

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    It's always good to experiment with which way fits your writing style. That's Tigellinus' job now
    The White Horse: Hanover AAR (On going ETW AAR)
    Tales of Acamar: Legends WS Yearly Award Best Plot Winner (On-going CW Piece)
    The Song of Asnurn: An Epic Poem MCWC VI Winner (On-hold CW Piece)
    Tales of Acamar: Outbreak (Finished)
    To Conquer the World for Islam A Moor AAR (Finished)

  13. #13
    Lуra's Avatar BOP! BOP! BOP!
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    BCN, Catalunya, ES
    Posts
    8,533

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    Yush! And so we will wait and see. If you do need any help with language building, hit me up a PM (it's my specialty)


    ~Lyra

    The Dread Pirate Roberts IV

  14. #14
    justdownloading's Avatar Foederatus
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    straylia mate
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    The key to a well-constructed world is... to write it well. I'm not even joking - a good writer can convey a solid sense of setting even if they haven't been sitting down trying to build a world. Some may(controversially) say that Tolkien wasn't that great a writer, but look at his world, it's the most popular fantasy ever made! Well, yes, to the modern eye Tolkien's writing may seem... monotonous... but it is in the evocative emulation of older linguistics that Tolkien created the atmosphere, the true sense of setting (not the crazy little details which, frankly, were not all that amazing IMO). If Tolkien had written the exact same trilogy as a twelve year old kid, it wouldn't have sold one copy (not to say that you are twelve or anything). Welp, sorry about that only semi-relevant rant. To answer your question more succinctly;

    -Write down what inspires you, when it inspires you (get a great idea about how you could do dwarves while watching LOTR? Think you could make an interesting world from the point of view of the orks? WRITE IT DOWN; text document of paper, doesn't matter, just put the ideas down.

    -Expand on that, and as new ideas spring to mind... WRITE THEM DOWN. Doesn't matter if it's completely unrelated... hell, even if you get a cool idea for a sci-fi premise while writing your ork-fantasy world, write it down.

    -Play connect the dots. By now you should have many disparate - but interesting - ideas. Now go around, figuring out how to connect it all into one coherent world. That sci-fi idea you had? Maybe the orks worship a sentient AI that was created by their ancient predecessors... and they call it their connection to God.

    Some more tips;

    -Read, watch, look at, admire, etc. Expose yourself to new ideas always. Creativity is finding interesting ways of stitching together past concepts.
    -Don't be afraid of weirdness. Just go look at Michael Kirkbride, arguably the best thing that ever happened to TES.
    -Look up writing tips, even if they're trashy WikiAnswers articles, expose yourself to ideas. You don't have to take on-board everything you read, but exposure helps you know what's out there.

    -Don't, under any circumstances, be constrained under any set of rules, or schedule, or what have you. This is your world. Make it as you please. Someone tells you to never use Elves or Dwarves because they're too cliche? You go and turn the concept of an Elf on it's head.

    Hope this helps.

  15. #15
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    New Zealand: Auckland
    Posts
    1,612

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    'Speechless'

    Holy crap.

    Thank you! This amount of information is amazing! I am genuinely stunned at the amount of replies received and the advice given! I shall take it all to heart

    @I may just send a few of you a PM for additional advice, if that is alright with you all?

    Thanks for the advice and information!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus


    EDIT:Justdownloading, Ha! I am fourteen, yet the point remains the same Thank you for your advice!
    Last edited by Tigellinus; March 26, 2014 at 04:51 AM.




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  16. #16
    justdownloading's Avatar Foederatus
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    straylia mate
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    Welcome mate

  17. #17

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    If in terms of mapping, I would recommend what I believe inspired George R.R. Martin:

    Take a blank piece of Earth's natural landscape and bend the lines!

    Add lakes, islands, forests, mountains, expand the countryside, make roadways, but as for the geographical aspect, let the world's geographers do the dirty work


    George R.R. Martin's suspected inspiration:

    Westeros - United Kingdom (-Ireland)
    Essos - Europe with an emphasis on Russia
    Sothoryos - Africa

  18. #18
    Lуra's Avatar BOP! BOP! BOP!
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    BCN, Catalunya, ES
    Posts
    8,533

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dance View Post
    If in terms of mapping, I would recommend what I believe inspired George R.R. Martin:

    Take a blank piece of Earth's natural landscape and bend the lines!

    Add lakes, islands, forests, mountains, expand the countryside, make roadways, but as for the geographical aspect, let the world's geographers do the dirty work


    George R.R. Martin's suspected inspiration:

    Westeros - United Kingdom (-Ireland)
    Essos - Europe with an emphasis on Russia
    Sothoryos - Africa
    Personally I don't find this way to be all that nice at all. Because the end result reminds one too much of the inspiration.

    You can easily create natural and good looking landscapes by first, sketching fault-lines and tectonics and then building mountain ranges and continental shelves and then rivers and plains, etc.

    I made the base of this map in about an hour, the heights took an hour more.

    Using this methods gives you a natural looking continent, something which George's maps lack.

    ~Lyra

    The Dread Pirate Roberts IV

  19. #19
    Squeaks's Avatar More full of whinging
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Haunting the Abyss
    Posts
    5,513

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    If I was to take a go, which I generally try not to, then I would sit down in a heap and scrawl. Just start scrawling ideas, names, a small outline of a vague map with a name, some names and simply start making hundreds of pages, loose and in books, when I'm travelling, ill, bored, can't do something I want to do because someone else is doing it in my home....all of this I spend scrawling and imagining. Don't write anything deep, don't write blocks of solid text, then build bits, even if they have nothing to do with other stuff, stay away from intensive time-lines for sure at first.

    Discover it yourself first, or you won't be able to tell anyone else. If you get a cool idea and feel itchy, then write a very short story....even a page or two, then that may well make a load of other things come alive in your mind. One scribbled line of text can do more than a thousand pages at first. If you take a lot of time on every little bit, you'll get bogged and possibly bored or tired. If you are bored or tired, put it to bed until it springs back to excitement again...do this a lot and you'll be very surprised what happens during these breaks - that you really didn't know about until picking it up again.

    You'll find a single line of text that contained an idea, and this will one day burst out into a load more stuff. Also, you will have done this a fair bit. When you make a new world later, or new ideas, you will find that previous stuff is worth it's weight in gold. Little bits of those things will find their way in, and will be ten times the better for finding a new home later on. Even just a name from an old thing, or a 'faction', anything. Brainstorming is the best - I developed loads of bits that simply weren't in the setting's 'written about' area, and their existence was pointless to the main story, but for you, absolutely brilliant to write. Even if you never intend to release any details about that bit.

    I always make games around my stuff...board games that may never be played, other rubbish too, and I do this for me...it's important for me. It's important that everything can be justified, can link together, make sense and join seamlessly-ish to make a whole. Dangling ideas that don't lock into place are no good...it all has to make a whole, or I don't gain that understanding of it all. You can only make a deep setting if there are rules - things that bind the separate ideas together....magic is a biggie. Just having magic without limits of even an idea of how magic happens, these break worlds, as they operate outside the reality you're making. It has to be a reality....although it's imagined by you, it should be real and could be real, because it can make sense.

    Last thing before I shut up is that you cannot make a completely and utterly unique thing in total. Bits can be, whole chunks, huge chunks, but there's no way of making it unique without just having the weirdest crud running around, and no-one will want to read that. You can't help getting ideas from other stuff...it's impossible, but you can take something and make it your something. Even Tolkien used existing stuff for his ideas....not much is really that unique in imagining considering he was inspired by legends...elves, dwarv(f - hate it with a f, makes me think of garden gnomes)es, ultimate good and evil, fate, all of it is drawn from legend, and that's because we love legends. All through time, we've needed legends to entertain and inspire. I use stuff. Usually I will change it, but I use tales and memories and new things too. I LOVE taking existing things like Minotaurs and remaking them. A nod to the 'normal' legends, but made mine as much as I can....I can explain what I did with Minotaurs, but it'd probably bore you.

    I do my stuff to keep me sane, and it barely does, but I do it for me, then other people can see bits....other people being interested is often the gap between abandoning the whole thing and moving on, or finding your thing and sticking with it. Don't worry about completely abandoning something and starting again, as the abandoned bits will have achieved something major for next time.

    Sorry if it's just prattle or arrogance. I don't mean to do that, but I really don't ever do things like this.

  20. #20
    General Brewster's Avatar The Flying Dutchman
    Citizen Censor

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Kingdom of The Netherlands
    Posts
    10,494

    Default Re: World Building, how do you do it?

    How the hell do you guys make maps ? I have no problem at all with general worl building but I always get stuck at maps.. which is the ultimate reason I always abandon my stories lol

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •