Today I am hosting fantasy author, Susan Gourley.
So many things must be considered when creating a world different from the contemporary Earth we take for granted everyday. Sometimes the simplest part to create is the physical parts of a fantasy world. What is the topography? What is the climate like? Are there seasons like our world? Are the flora and fauna the same or similar? This can be kept simple. In my fantasy series, Futhark is an island kingdom sitting high above an unexplored ocean. It has seasons similar to a temperate climate on Earth. Oak trees are still oak trees in the world of Futhark and horses are horses. In movies, such as Avatar, a totally colorful and exotic world can be created for the eye to see. It would take pages of composition to describe even a first glimpse of Pandora. I wouldn’t try it. Your readers will either put down the book or snooze.
The government and societal rankings must be considered. Some glimpses into history usually needs to be mixed into a good fantasy world as the past so often comes back to haunt mankind. The Futhark Chronicles take place in a medieval society with class rankings of nobility, merchants, and peasants. Going further into depth in a fantasy world, one must think about education. Can most people read? Do they all use a common language? Religion is often huge in fantasy and can be the center of many conflicts. Going along with that will be customs on the treatment of the dead. Do they bury them, cremate them and believe in an afterlife?
In The Futhark Chronicles, illnesses and injuries are treated with herbal remedies and sometimes-magical intervention. Most fantasy and science fiction novels involve some fast, exciting action. Believe me, someone will get hurt. How will they be treated? By a medical professional, magical healing or leeches?
What types of homes populate your cities in your fantasy world? Or is the world a collection of small villages? Will they know brick making? Do they construct domiciles of skins and roofs comprised of straw or reeds? Perhaps the world in inhabited by nomadic people or seafaring races. I’ve never tried that, as I know nothing about sailing. What type of clothing? Manufactured? Homespun cotton? Wool? Leathers? What is the coinage or the realm? Are gold and silver valuable there? What is the agriculture like? What crops are raised?
I’ve saved perhaps the most important question for last. If the world you’re created is for a science fiction novel, how is that science different from contemporary Earth? If it is a fantasy novel, what are the rules for the magic of this world? Science and magic may affect a writer’s decision about all the things I named above. Do they ride horses, hovercrafts or perhaps fly by their own powers? Can they create food, buildings and clothing with magic or science? Can they use magic or science to keep themselves warm or protect against an attack. Does the magic and science make sense even though it isn’t real? And how is the science or magic limited? And it must be limited or there can be no conflict beyond emotional.
After all these things and many more have been decided, you can create a fantasy world. Don’t dump all the information in the first chapter. Let the reader discover it as they travel through your tale. I keep a journal with a roughly drawn map for all my series. I call it my book bible. Inside are details of all the things I mentioned and many more. If I didn’t write them down, I couldn’t keep them straight especially through multiple novels.
Beyond the Gate is now available from all major book retailers. I hope you’ll check out the fantasy world I created. I’d love to hear your insights.
Purchase the eBook of Beyond the Gate HERE and visit Susan's awesome website and blog.