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World Building in a Novel

Part of the fun of being an author is in the creation of worlds. Even if you're writing something contemporary set in the here and now, you can have fun with it. Not only that but the creation of the world plays just as important a part as the characters who fill it. There are some genres where the setting almost takes precedence over characterization, or at lease is on par with the characters. The world becomes a sort of character itself.


When writing fantasy, building the worlds from scratch can be freeing but also a daunting task.


Readers want their fictional worlds to feel realistic. That means putting attention on every little detail from geography to monetary systems and religion or rule. George RR Martin and JK Rowling are well known for their elaborate world building. Rowling herself has said she created entire backstories for her novels that will never be included in the books but it helps her to propel the stories forwards.



Image  of Hobbiton from Unsplash


When I started my A Time of Dragons fantasy adventure series, I answered alot of questions from the jump. This helped me to get the feel for the world I was building. Long-running TV shows have what's called their "bible" which holds all the information needed about the characters, world, and more to help keep everything straight. I did the same.


Here is a sneak peek behind-the-scenes of writing a fantasy novel:


Time of Dragons Bible

  • How does magic fit in? Magic is based on the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. It is believed these elements came together to create the world of Atharia. Those that possess magic powers are said to be more closely rooted to the “Sources Gods." Now magic is waning except for hidden magic markets where they sell primal stones to conduct outlawed magic.

  • How many languages are there? One common tongue on Atharia. When you venture to Ischon and Kartha, the language changes.

  • How do most people make a living here? Farming; export; sell sword; taverns; whores; fishermen; blacksmith; etc

  • What personal weapons are available to anyone who can afford them? Lower class are armed with what they can afford which is usually dull or even blunted weapons. Most of the best weapons & spices (including Ashwa weed) come from Ischon. Kartha trades skins & exotic meats. Atharia has the best fish and seafood along with certain illegal minerals for magic making.


These are just a few of the questions I answered for myself when building the world of Atharia and beyond for A Time of Dragons. Read the series on Amazon and discover the world for yourself!



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"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy, writer wellness, and my author journey.

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