Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to Make Your Fantasy World Feel Real

Though I'm working on a science-fiction novel now, my first love was fantasy. In fact, I plan to work on my fantasy series during my break from my science-fiction this summer.

I love Fantasy, especially High Fantasy, because of the massive creative freedom of it. It is so much fun to create a completely new world, but like any world it's very complicated. To make a fantasy that is both unique and believable, details are the key.

1.) Politics - Is your fantastical world a republic? Monarchy? Tribal? Oligarchy? If it's a monarchy does the king or queen have lords, dukes, counts and such beneath him or her?

2.) Economy - What kind of money does your culture use? Do they trade? Is the country/countries prosperous or poor? What is their primary crop or export? If your character is low class, then this could effect their lifestyle.

3.) Culture - What traditions and festivals does this fantasy world have? A good trick for culture is basing it off of one of our world's cultures then combining and adding your own twists to it. I combined Egyptian, German, and Russian cultures together for one of my fantasy realms.

Culture also affects architecture. Are they more peaceful or warmongering? If they covet war, they will probably sanction how battles are won with tributes to great victories. If they are more towards peace, they will have a more peaceful environment with gardens and libraries. This along with flora and fauna will affect how your world's residents dress too.

4.) Flora - Your environment is very important too and will affect culture. Is it tropical, mountainous, desert,
Lady's Slipper
 tundra, woodland, plains? The native plants and stones will affect how buildings are constructed and reflect in art and weaponry.

Also adding some new plants doesn't hurt either. There are so many amazing plants in our world. Try looking up some and then changing them into something magical. Make the grass blue if you want. Have fun with it.

5.) Sky - Your sky is something you can play around with too. Do you have multiple suns or moons? How long are days (the time it takes the planet to rotate around your sun or suns) in your world?

In my fantasy world, days are twenty-eight hours long with an extended night. Is your sky purple? Are there other planets? What different constellations are there? Are their festivals for celestial activities?

6.) Fauna - What kind of animals do you have? Do you have just earthly ones or do you have some fantasy animals tossed in? Griffins? Dragons? Unicorns? Some creatures of your own making? If you want some unique creatures, look up lists of fantasy creatures on Wikipedia. There are so many different creatures that aren't commonly used. I personally have a ton of fantastical creatures in my books both traditional and of my own making. Do your creatures speak?

7.) People - Are the people of your fantasy world human, human and other sentient beings, or are they unicorns or another four-legged creature? Do they have different languages? If you have multiple races, do they get along? Do they live in the same lands, or do they have their own territories?

8.) Magic - Does your fantasy realm have magic? What are the limitations? What races have magic, or can use magic? Are there different kinds of magic?

I hope this posts helps you make a more realistic fantasy world! Happy writing! Thanks for reading! :)

What's something unique about your fantasy world? What's something unique you like about a particular fantasy world you've read about?

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  1. my favorite fantasy series is Narnia. I like how CSLewis made the magic more like the natural laws in our world vs magic like say the fairy godmother in Cinderella.

    1. Very cool. I'm a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, too. :)

    2. awesome it's like my favorite series.

  2. I have a cylindrical world where water comes in every color of the rainbow, and every color has a different smell/taste/use. It's inhabited by two main peoples, humans and elves, and on one of the islands dwell the steeds, which are horse-like creature that come in several varieties and can talk. Magic belongs mostly to the elves (who are physically weaker than the humans) and to the steeds. The four kings and queens of the mainland, however, have gifts, and sometimes Jeptha, the Jesus figure of the world, chooses to bless one or another with extra powers if there is need ... such as trying to get rid of a pesky 5,000 year-old woman who can turn herself into a dragon. Flora? Well let's just say that leaves can come in any color, but if they're green, it's fall.

    Believe it or not, this world was originally inspired by Narnia, which I adore.

    I love world building, it's one of my favorite parts of writing.

    1. Wow. Your world sounds very interesting. :) I am a fan of Narnia, too. Yes, world building is indeed fun. :)

    2. And it's just one of my worlds ...

      What I've seen of your world sounds fascinating too!

    3. Thank you. :) I have multiple ones too. ;)

  3. As a Christian, how do you deal with writing fantasy and manage to keep to your faith? I stay well away from Wicca and such and though I've asked other Christian fantasy authors before, I wanted to know you manage to write fantasy so freely. I sometimes struggle and some advice from another young writer might help make the difference :)
    And I guess I haven't considered much depth into my fantasy worlds now that I've seen these tips. I'll be sure to take them on board for the one I'm working on now!

    1. Well fantasy can be taken in a lot of different ways. Fantasy isn't necessarily elves and wizards. It a genre including fantastical elements. The Christmas Carol you could consider low fantasy because of the ghosts element. One of the most debated subjects which I think you're touching on is magic. A lot of my magic isn't necessarily "magic" it's just the natural abilities of the race like a firefly glows naturally. It's house it was made. I think the most important part of magic is making a clear demarcation between good and bad magic and don't let your good characters stray to that side and if they do, make sure it's considered bad. Like don't have your good character raise zombies or something like that. That's obviously an evil kind of magic. I do have tainted versions of my "magic", but that is because mortals have abused their natural gifts and distorted them just how you could misuse any gift like having a gift for painting and then painting illegal forgeries. If you're writing Christian, you don't want to go overboard with rituals, because there are some pretty nasty ones. Magic is a very debated topic in the Christian market, but that is my opinion on it. If you feel comfortable writing about magic, then do it. If it bothers you, don't. But I feel fine doing it. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien did so and they were strong Christians whose books impacted literature and lives for the good. I've also thought of magic as like unexplained anomalies in science sort of how Thor sees it in the movie "Thor". Electricity would've been considered magic in medieval times. There's my two scents. I hope it helps.
      Depth in your fantasy is very important especially if you have a different world. I'm glad my post could help you. :)