Five Foundations of World-Building — If you look online or in books about writing fantasy, you often find lengthy lists of questions to ask yourself about the world you’re creating. Everything from “Where are mineral resources located?” to “What shapes are the eating tables?”
A lot of these world building guides also suggest that you draw a map of your fictional world. I actually love to draw maps, and when I was in high school writing fantasy novels, I spent weeks drawing maps and answering these kinds of questions. But what I later discovered was that spending all that time on world building meant that I never started actually writing the story.
Of course, it is important to spend some time on world building, especially if you’re writing a story set in a secondary world. But I don’t think you need to get bogged down in answering 100 questions about the economics and politics and plant life of your world. I suggest you focus on five main issues that will serve as the foundation for your world. All those other details — even the shape of eating tables — can emerge after you’ve established this foundation. Often those details emerge right out of the writing itself. [Continue reading…]