World Building

Work is crazy! Cat Kitty Pryde is terribly sick!  So not a whole lot else going on. I have a couple of stories laying around I need to fire off somewhere just so I can feel productive.

The Writer’s Ink crew just started up a world building exercise. I have laid claim to the bitterly cold frozen tundras of the north east. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and start naming things, but I think I’ll be aiming for a mixture of Scottish, Finnish, and Welsh. Should result in some stuff that’s got the right sound but not cliche.

World building is sometimes the most fun aspect of writing fantasy or science fiction. You can let your imagination roam and create anything that comes to mind. That’s probably the first exercise in storytelling I ever engaged in; I still have little pencil-drawn maps in ancient spiral notebooks with all sorts of improbable geography and crazy names. Each nation had its own little epic history and a Lego hero to call its own. I remember spending tons of time writing these histories and never actually writing any stories in them, heh.

It’ll be interesting to see what this shared world will generate. At the moment there’s six of working on it, so we should come up with a wide variety of cultures populating this place.

Anyway, here’s a few websites I’ve found massively useful (discovered while working on my first failed NaNo a couple years ago).

Medieval Demographics Made Easy (handy for getting a grasp on how big is big for ancient towns and what sort of tradesmen might be in any given population center)

http://www.io.com/~sjohn/demog.htm

The Language Construction Kit (handy if you’re insane and want to create a language for your people)

http://www.zompist.com/kit

Horses in fiction (awesome little article with a few basic facts about horses)

http://fantasy.fictionfactor.com/articles/horses.html

Guide to Gods and Mythology (useful as inspiration if your people are of a religious nature)

http://www.godchecker.com/

Creating and Earthlike Planet (tons and tons of information about some of the basic science behind climate and geography, with tons of links to other resources)

http://www.cix.co.uk/~morven/worldkit/index.html

8 thoughts on “World Building”

  1. This has been different for me. I usually start with a vague idea of the world and flesh it out as I write. My fantasy world, Tyden, has gotten progressively more detailed the more I’ve written in it. I really need to create a good map for it!

    So, this exercise is coming at it from the opposite direction. I will be interested to see what stories come out of this. 🙂

  2. I already have story ideas for my little islands on the map, but I can’t think of names for anything. I’ve never done world-mapping before! I should make one for my Beth Hughes zombie town, Newfield.

  3. For names I’ve found Behindthename.com to be enormously useful. Just pick a few languages that have the same general sound you want your people to sound like, then grind out a few dozen names from the Random Name Generator. Pick a few you like (and look at the meanings, if you like) and viola, you’ve got place names.

  4. Sturm! My stupid work filter blocks the demographics page. That would’ve saved me lots of time when writing “Papillon”. I had to hunt all over to find the population of Paris circa 1250.

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