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Fantasy World Building

If you need help creating a setting for your novel, try these fantasy world building questions. Topics include: The World (Basics, Alternate Earth, Not Earth at All), Physical and Historical Features, Magic and Magicians, Peoples and Customs, Social Organization, Commerce and Trade, Daily Life.

All of the questions may not apply to the story you’re writing, but they should give you a good place to start brainstorming.

7 thoughts on “Fantasy World Building”

  1. I thought that was a great checklist for fantasy world building.

    I liked your post from above. You’re spot on. I didn’t take the time to world build like other fantasy authors, as my novel is more historical fantasy and takes place in an actual medieval setting, so most of the terminology and descriptions are self-explanatory. For example, the term “cathedral” or “bishop” creates an immediate image in the readers’ mind without going into overly descriptive detail.

    How long have you been working on your novel? What’s your word count up to?

  2. Thank you, Steven! I have been working on my novel for a year and a half. It is currently 65,000 words and changing daily as I edit. 🙂 As my post says, much of my story takes place in a real setting, but the culture surrounding the characters is what mostly calls for world building. Maybe in my case what I am actually doing is culture building. Either way, it’s a fascinating topic! Your book sounds right up my alley. I love fantasy and historical fiction.

  3. I’ve read with first novels it’s a good idea to keep the word count low or a publisher is not likely to print it due to cost / risk scenarios. With fantasy novels, that word count might be a little higher than other genres, due to the nature of world building. For fantasy novels, it’s a good idea to try and keep it around 100,000 words or less. I haven’t done a word count on my novel in a while, since I’m feverishly editing once again. Last I checked, I was way over that mark, something like 120,000 words, but I’ve cut out a couple of chapters this time, so that should bring it down.

    You should be good hovering right around the 65,000 mark. Good luck with it! I’ve subscribed to your blog, so I’ll keep following your progress.

  4. Thanks for the follow! What you said about world building in regard to fantasies being longer makes perfect sense. In most cases, there is so much more to describe in a fantasy. The young adult genre typically has a lower word count than most other genres (though you wouldn’t know if from best-sellers like HARRY POTTER and TWILIGHT), but my writing tends to be concise, so I’m rarely up at the top of word count ranges.

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