Making a World

Today, I thought it would be fun to peek inside my head (ok, maybe not) and see how I handle some of the fantasy processes. It’s time to make a world!


I talked before about how everyone makes their own fantasy worlds (whether it is just in thinking about a job they don’t have or one with dragons and unicorns), but making those worlds come to life is a whole different subject. Everything I do starts with one idea or image. For this discussion, let’s say I had the idea that elves existed and were so good at infusing magic into technology, they slowly became the rulers of the world (so think same world we are in, but what if there had always been elves that, etc, etc). Well good, so now I have a world. But what are these elves like? What kind of magic do they do? What are the limits of the magic? Is some of it more powerful than others? How did they get this magic? What about the humans? And the questions go on and on. If I were to jump into writing the story right after I came up with the idea, it would be weak and confusing. Instead, I let the idea germinate. The answers come, but more importantly, scenes that show the answers come. Month by month, even year by year, the world fleshes out and changes and takes a life of its own. I let it settle some more. I make sure I’m not really excited about the idea anymore. Then I can write. By that time, the world has developed and grown so much, all the answers about what kind of laws and limits this or that has are all answered.

It may seem like an odd process, if you have an idea, shouldn’t you just start writing? I’m sure others do and it works out well for them. Not for me. I believe if I really want to write about that new world, I need to have lived in it for a while (you can’t write about visiting France without, you know, actually going there, right?). I don’t know if it cuts down on editing or turns out to be better than any other process. And I don’t care. That time spent in that world, thinking about what could happen, watching scenes unfold, is the most fun I could possible have.


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