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Worldbuilding 1 – Creating a Fantasy World July 16, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in Worldbuilding.
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You want to write a series of stories based on a fantasy world large enough to allow you to write about any time period during its history.  This is a huge task.  You’ll need good maps, languages, and most important of all – a world history complete enough that your characters will not stumble over historical time lines involving people, places, and things.  This requires an incredible amount of reference and back-story.

This is the task I set upon in late 1989.  First, I needed a foundation, something that would connect our real world with my fantasy world.  I wanted the premise to be both practical and realistic.  I had long been a student of the various legends concerning the Bermuda Triangle.  The one thing I noticed about all of them was the Triangle appeared to be a one-way street.  Writers wrote about ships and aircraft disappearing but wrote nothing about where the people in those vessels ended up.  Nor did anyone ever write a story about the people from ‘there’ (wherever ‘there’ was)  coming here to Earth.  I felt addressing this situation would make an excellent premise for my books.

I knew this wasn’t much to hang my hat on, but it was a start.  I realized I had a lot of work in front of me.  I understood that this fantasy world needed to be created before I could populate it with people.  This was necessary to give the consistency to my writing that would be required.  You know, there are people out there with nothing more to do in life than to find inconsistencies in published novels.  Any character I plopped into this world had to know where they lived, who they were, what they did and why they did it.  They would need to know families and friends names, place names, local landmarks and the history of the area (on some level) where they lived.

Questions became obvious to me.  “Does everyone speak the same language?”  “What level of technology existed there and who/how were people trained to use it?” “How long did people live in this world?”  “If people came from our world to theirs, do they age at the same rate?”  “Was this new fantasy world going to be a bizarre place or would it be very similar to our own world?”

This gave me a place to begin.  Things started to flesh out and I answered question after question for myself.  I called my new world “Erde.”  I know this is the German word for “Earth,” but I had reasons for using this word.  I gave considerable thought to what the first people from our world (whom I called “OutSiders”) would be like.  Little by little their history became outlined in my mind.  I could see how these people interacted with the native people.  I reckoned the first OutSiders would obviously be Vikings.  I came up with two names for areas of Erde that they began to inhabit, “Uppsala” and “Sigtuna.”  I figured people coming from here would use place names that were the same or similar to place names in our World.

It was a start.



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