How to Build Your Own Fantasy World

© 2017 Logan Petty

When people find out that I’m a fantasy writer, one of the first questions I hear is “How do you think it up?” Sometimes the question is geared toward names, while other times, it is pointed toward the world as a whole.

The answer to both comes from the same source. A good writer of fantasy is also a good world builder. So what goes into world building?

The first step is to lay a foundation. Your “world” does not have to be an entire world. It can be a single country or an entire planet, depending on the desired scale of your adventure.

Once you’ve settled on the size, begin thinking about what you want your world to feel like. Does it take a modern image or medieval? For example, the world I built for Hammerhold Tales is a medieval inspired fantasy realm with Nordic and Celtic influences. Once you’ve decided on how you want your world to feel, the building process becomes more in-depth.

A society will fall apart without rules. This step is vital to a successful fantasy world. Your world might not be realistic, but it must be believable. Therefore, you define the parameters in which nature and society function, and you do not break those rules.

If your world has magic in it, determine how magic works, what one must do to use magic, and any side effects it may have. Think about what races and creatures exist in your world and determine how they interact with one another.

A fully functioning world needs societies, civilizations, and diverse cultures. Be sure to put thought into how your societies are constructed, what beliefs and values they hold, and how they honor alliances.

From this framework, stories of individuals within the society will form, followed by histories and myths, which will give your world more believability. Those stories will lead you to the stories you want to write about. Before you know it, you have a series of books following the adventures of one or several characters within your world’s library of history and myth.

The world is yours to control, so go forth and tell your tales.
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Logan Petty is author of the Hammerhold Tales series, a native of North Georgia, and a lifelong fan of fantasy and adventure. He writes to share his stories with everyone who shares his passion. He is a graduate of Dalton State College with a B.A. in English. It was during his time at Dalton State that he learned the world of e-publishing and published his first novel, Thrallborn, for his class. He loves the works of JK Rowling, Brian Jacques, JRR Tolkien, and CS Lewis, from whom he draws inspiration for his own story telling and world crafting.


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