Where do you get inspiration for your story’s location? I’m writing a fantasy story for NaNoWriMo this year. I have a broken arm and shoulder so I gave myself a personal goal of only 10,000 words in place of the usual 50,000. This meant I’d be writing a novella (small novel). But I was bereft of ideas for the location to a particular scene until I remembered my son had invited me to play Skyrim with him one night and — ta da — my characters had a home!
Now, understand that when I say “play” I actually mean watch, (haha) and I know as a writer that copyrights are something to be respected for the original creator. With that in mind I joined my son on a Skyrim walkabout to get the feel of the land and take notes for my own fantasy world.
I also took some notes from the landscapes of LOTR and the breathtaking photos by Ray Majoran in Compassion Gallery. His photos from Iceland are spectacular.
Have you found a particular game, movie or real life location an inspiration for your writing? Leave a comment.
Til next time, remember you are loved by the One who made you in His image.
We have the freedom to create an entirely new world from our own imagination! How amazing is that? We get to decide everything that happens in this world and who lives there. We’ve already decided what our world looks like. Now we’re going to decide how our world works so we can write a society for our fantasy characters to live in.
Your World’s Society, Technology & History
Before you can create your characters you’ll need to know what goes on in the world around them and how they fit into this world. However, if you’ve already drawn up an extensive list of characters and decided what they eat for breakfast, no problem, don’t waste all that creativity, just build the society around them and let it unfold from there.
Here are some things to consider about your world:
What kind of work do they do?
What significant events have shaped the history of this world?
What’s their educational system like?
Do they own businesses or trades?
Are there male and female or children and how do they develop?
What religious beliefs are in play? How do they worship? Write down some of their moral values.
Is there a law enforcement system? How is it run?
Is it a democratic society, dictatorship or monarchy?
How do they communicate? Is there more than one language?
What about transportation?
How do your characters communicate long distance?
What do they do for fun
Does your world run on electricity, steam or natural resources?
Are there warring factions?
What are their weapons?
Ask Yourself, “If This Is True, Then What Needs To Happen?”
• If characters go to work in cities, then where do they live?
• If they live in high-rise buildings, then how do they get to the top floors?
• If by elevators, then how are they powered?
• If by electrical power, then how is it generated?
• If by water, how is it produced?
• If by rain, how is it stored?
You get the idea. Here we have characters that live in high-rise buildings where they get to their apartments by taking an elevator which is powered by electricity produced by water which is held in reservoirs outside of the city.
You can go on from there, filling in the “If This, Then What..?” questions until all the questions about your characters’ needs are met in their world. You only need the details that are relevant to the characters. There’s no need to write lengthy, unnecessary descriptions which aren’t relevant to your story and will only bore your readers. You just need to know how they do what they do.
Remember to show this in your writing, don’t tell it. (More on this later).
You may need to go back and add transportation routes, such as wide rivers and ports for boats, roads for trades’ people, or something like train tracks to your world map — grab the cheat. Add any changes as you write your story so you don’t forget the details.
The easiest way to figure this out is to put yourself in the shoes (hairy feet, hooves) of your characters. Walk around in your world as if you were there and see what you need.
Read. Read. Read. Follow other fantasy writers online, take pieces from every fantasy book you’ve ever read and enjoyed, scribble notes while you watch your favourite fantasy TV show, watch fantasy movies till your eyes get all buggy and you grow antennae. Then when you’re about to burst – Write. Write. Write!
George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, offers this advice when writing fantasy: “…stealing from one source is plagiarism but stealing from lots of sources is research!”
The fantasy world
I believe you can’t add characters until you know where to put them. Feel free to disagree. That’s just a personal opinion because that’s the way my brain works. So before your Elf prince can rescue the fair woodland maiden, you may need a place for them to live in.
If you’re like me and you’re a very visual learner, Pinterest is a great place to start for fantasy images you can save for future reference. You can click through to the websites and read the entire article about the image if you trust the source. You can also create a ‘secret’ board for images you may like to use for settings and characters in your next novel. Another great place to find images to inspire you is DeviantArt, (you can block certain images by using the ‘Mature Content Hidden’ button). Then, when you can steal a minute to yourself, grab your favourite libation and sit back in your chair and daydream of the faraway places and mystical beings on your boards. Or sketch yet-unimagined places and beings of your own!
What does your fantasy world need?
As you collect your images or draw your own art, be thinking what your world needs to make your story a fantastic one.
What kind of terrain and atmosphere will your story need?
Does it need seas, rivers, animals, birds, mountains, valleys?
I love to take a walk in the woods and imagine my characters walking there too. A woodland would be a great place to take some photos of your own if you’re writing a book about Elves and Halflings and use them as ‘gems‘ to promote your book later.
This is one of my favourite things to do when I start a new book. Watch for my next blog post on Fantasy World Mapping with two free cheat sheets!
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
Ready to have more fun? This week I’m sharing an excerpt from a blog a friend of mine wrote. She’s a talented artist and her heart is to help people discover their creativity. Here’s why I’m sharing this with you; she blogged about creating a personal (or group) flag. I thought, seeing as most of you are writers of fantasy like me, you’d love knowing how to add that creative element to your books. You could even create a flag for your fantasy world and use it on your book cover.
On her blog, Ann-Margret digs deeper and gives you links to resource further. Cool, huh? Here’s part of her blog post:
Saturday, March 24, 2018
“This activity is perfect for a family, youth group, classroom or any themed club. It would make a great ice breaker for a big event, too.
I want you to imagine that you (or your group) are a country. What would your flag look like?
There are endless ways to design a flag because you have these options to consider:
Shape (most flags are rectangular but there are a few exceptions)