World Building 101   Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered how the speculative fiction greats created their realistic fantasy worlds? Me, too.

Yes, I’m a fantasy author, but I stand in awe of writers like JRR Tolkein, Katharine Kerry, Brandon Sanderson and Kate Elliott in their ability to make the magical seem real.

Some of them have been kind enough to blog about how they do it and I have learned a lot from that, which I now pass on to you.

The world we live in is magical. You may not realize that because it seems to familiar, but creating a fantasy world means building a world based upon reality and making sure that the reader knows the rules of that world. For readers to accept and continue to read a story, the write must make them believe in the world the characters inhabit. Characters must remain true to the rules of that world throughout the story for readers to accept what is happening to them.

  1. R. R. Tolkien depicted Middle Earth as a world so real that it has become a classic upon which so many others are based. Tolkien created Middle-earth, the lovable hobbits, the psychic elves and the irrepressible dwarves with incredible description and attention to details. The story contains all the elements of a traditional fantasy — a bumbling hero, an enchanted talisman, dark magic versus the good wizard, and an quest. It’s the gold standard in fantasy fiction.

How to attain something similar in your own writing? It’s not magic. I know I don’t have a wand. I did, however, study about how the greats created worlds their readers readily accepted.

The setting must be believable.

  • Characters should dress appropriately for the period and culture.
  • Weapons must be appropriate to the world.
  • If magic is involved, the writer should define the rules of magic and stick with them throughout their tale.

That looks like a perfect table of contents for a series, so see you next week.


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