Writer’s Guide: How to Create a Good Fantasy World
Newbie and experienced writers often make the same mistakes when it comes to building their fantasy worlds. Check this guide and learn how to avoid them.
Writer’s Guide: How to Create a Good Fantasy World
One evening I was reading yet another fantasy novel when I got an idea to write this article. I’ve decided to find the most glaring shortcomings and cliches authors use in their writings, inspect them and create some kind of a guide for newcomers. I’ve decided to reflect on how to create a good fantasy setting, how to make your imagined world logical and help readers believe in it.
I bet you tried to create your own fantasy world at least once. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Most people I know tried it, ultimately figuring out that creating the imagined universe in a logical and correct way is not easy at all.
As a writer you can refer your write my essay request to, I am going to delve deeper into the topic. So, take a look at the most crucial points for a fantasy novel I’ve chosen based on my own reading and writing experience. Hopefully, they will help you create your own beautiful fantasy setting.
Books that attempt to add depth to the characters often assign races to them. You’ve probably thought of J. R. R. Tolkien, which makes sense, as this author’s novels are the prime examples of this tendency. Races usually have differentiating characteristics that create a sense of belonging to a particular community.
One might ask: “Why?” As you might have guessed, races serve to add detail and avoid confusion. Elves are the higher race, humans are the most belligerent, orcs are the strongest and least pleasant among all, dwarfs are the smallest and the most hard-working. It is obvious that this is the most comfortable “platform” to create characters, but it does seem a bit overused.
So, if you want to attract the readers with your world, try to change the established pattern. The typical fantasy worlds have been recreated by numerous writers already, and it is just boring for the audience to read the same old story. They want original solutions and unusual races, so if you strive to be a good fantasy writer, you’d better think of something. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
The way the fantasy world is designed is quite important. Does it have a medieval feel or is it placed in a more contemporary setting? Do you have one country per race, or do representatives of different races coexist peacefully in one big world? Are there settlements or villages, perhaps, there are big cities and megalopolis? You need to answer all of these questions if you want your fantasy world to feel real and logical.
However, not only the world’s landscape and architecture are important in a fantasy novel. The author must also pay close attention to the relations between the races and plan the fantasy setting accordingly. Of course, it is tiring to think over the reasons of wars and conflicts, but you must at least specify whether the relations are friendly, neutral or hostile. These relations must reflect in the world’s structure in order for it to feel genuine and elaborate.
Magic is probably most susceptible to cliches causing those hated “Mary Sue” characters to appear. Why do they show up? Right, the author just does not put any boundaries in the world. There are no roads impossible to cross, so a regular smith can win in a wizard duel against a thousand-year old elf who studied forbidden science throughout his life.
So, if you wish to make your world more beautiful and realistic (yes, this is important in fantasy too), put boundaries nobody can cross at once. And it is better to set individual limits for every race to avoid confusing and irrational situations. Try a different approach to magic. You can replace words and spells with something more original, can’t you?
4. Flora and Fauna
It is not rare for fantasy authors to introduce new animals and plants into their worlds. It’s okay if you want to make the regular boring nature more interesting, just don’t forget that the natural selection still exists, despite the magic, the wizardry, the will of gods, etc.
This means you shouldn’t place very strong and fast predators among the weak and defenseless herbivores or huge trees in tundra plains. This will bring visible imbalance to your world. Not everything should be based on magic. The best fantasy still has logical explanations for the majority of events.
5. Climate Zones
It is quite a frequent occurrence when a hero travels half way across the world through Savannah and suddenly finds themselves amidst the evergreen forests. That’s strange, isn’t it? But many authors refuse to notice this inconsistency and explain everything by magic again.
Try to avoid such lazy writing. Problems of this kind can be easily solved if you just make a map of your world and follow it when deciding upon your hero’s journey.
The idea of creators is not new at all. However, as a fantasy writer, you should create your own control system, relations between “higher” powers, different ranks and responsibilities for them. There are so many details you can think of within just a couple hours! Just remember – there is nothing bad about breaking the usual patterns and giving absolutely unexpected goals to your gods. Empower your gods, give them rational motivations, and your fantasy novel will be amazing.
I would like to draw special attention to this point. Werewolves, metamorphic creatures and other beings of that kind became very popular in recent times. Writers get inspired by the possibility to create characters with a secret life, and they include such heroes into their world overlooking the logic of their existence.
If you include these unusual creatures into your story, try to handle them carefully at least in terms of their psychology. Believe me, a thorough approach to character portrayal will pay off in the future.
If there are several countries and races in your world, you should make their languages at least a little bit different. It will look very strange if humans from two different countries in different parts of the world speak the same language, or if the orcs can understand elves without experiencing any linguistic constraints.
Here is a tip: it is not obligatory to follow the great Tolkien and spend years working on languages. It is enough to come up with the main phrases and make them contrast with one another. Readers only need to know a couple words from each language to feel the difference.
Many authors come to a dead end here. The world may be carefully balanced, with every detail fitting the system perfectly, but it is often on the brink of collapse when it comes to differentiating between cultures. Culture depends on the environmental conditions, relations with other cultures, residents’ lifestyles, etc. It is probably one of the most interesting and complex aspects of a fantasy novel.
As a fantasy writer, you must determine features which characterize this or that culture. Then your reader will be able to figure out your character’s culture without you having to point at it specifically.
10. Planetary System
I’ve encountered novels where the world was equal to the Earth in size with the same distance between it and the Sun. And it may seem that everything is okay. But the novel’s star could be bigger or smaller than the Sun, and there may be other conditions affecting the imagined planet’s atmosphere.
You must take all of the nuances into account when creating your own planetary system, even if it is similar to the Earth. It’s more science fiction than fantasy, yes, but you still shouldn’t neglect this aspect. Otherwise, your world risks getting burned or frozen by the eternal cold.
11. Mythic Creatures
You may have thought of point # 4, but here I’ll review the possibility of some creatures even existing in your fantasy world. Let’s take dragons as an example. These huge, honorable, strong and powerful creatures have entered the fantasy world of countless authors for decades now. Their popularity only grows, and many authors can’t wait to release yet another story about them. But the question arises: if there are so many of these bloodthirsty creatures, why won’t they conquer the world and start ruling over it?
Try to avoid making the most powerful creatures too aggressive. This may be the cause of a cognitive dissonance among your readers, even if your world is full of magic.
At this point, I would like to focus on intelligence races and people. If you created elves as calm and peaceful by default, it will not look believable if they start a war against other countries or people without having serious reasons for that. But if you created humans as they are in our world, there is a low probability for them to sit still without trying to dominate the whole world.
Here we can make a conclusion: give might and power to races and countries only if your reader should expect wars in your fantasy novel. Otherwise, it is just strange if huge orcs armies stay out of conflicts.
Humans should not be less intelligent than orcs, and dwarfs should not be weaker than humans. You should consider that races that do not possess magic powers are more likely to develop technologies. So, dwarfs who are far from wizardry will not fall behind elves in technologies. Of course, this all works only for canonical races.
Try to make races nearly equal, especially if they live in adjacent countries. Do not create a setting for a conflict you do not plan to start.
Here I’m going to finish this article. The list can go on for ages, but I wanted to highlight only the most important aspects.
Remember that every writer is God, and every writer has to care about their creation.