So todays topic, my experience of world building, cue the dramatic music ... dumdumdum!
Now J.R.R.Tolkien I am not, Fantasy is a bitch to write, it is even a bigger bitch to write competently.
I've read plenty before I even attempted to pick up a pen myself and one of the best urban fantasy world builders I've come across is Ilona Andrews, their stuff is AMAZING and they are on my automatic but list. However I've also read one book when it was hideous, some weird mix about coming back from the dead, werewolves and something about Greek or Roman gods, little to say at the end of it I did not have A CLUE what was going on and let me tell you that takes some doing.
Ahem, I digress, my latest series that has been submitted to the publisher, The Bride of Fire has two opposing cultures in what I would describe as a 'light' fantasy setting and was my first attempt at world building.
That got me thinking, so what is a culture? Starting with a complete blank page what sort of things would you put down? You have a whole wide world to draw from.
So to start off here are just a few of the things to get you started:
- A style of dress? Better yet what causes these differences in culture, the climate? One culture seems to dress more conservative but this has been caused by the cold climate and the practical need to wrap up.
- How about religion and the mythology behind it.
- Attitudes towards gender roles? Obvious Western cultural tends to be patriarchal with a few rare exceptions but is there an underlying reason these attitudes have developed.
- What is classed as beautiful and attractive? This has changed through out the ages alone, to think the epitome of beauty was to have pale skin at one point to show that you were rich enough not to work in the sun, how having a tan is the rage to demonstrate you can afford holiday abroad.
- The structure of government and hierarchy.
- Technologies available
Phew, my mind spins just thinking about it, what about yours? But don't worry you do not need to hit every single point, just eek out a few and see what else happens to drop in. Next step what ever you do avoid the 'information dump', this is where you would throw everything at the reader at once.All these little details need to slip in to the plot, through either conversation or expanding on a plot point.
Hope you found it useful. Happy writing!