Hello everyone, and welcome to Novel With Me. A series which takes you on a writing journey from start to finish.
Today we’re rounding off world building with our final post- architecture, flora and fauna, and language. If you would like to see the full video, you can find it here.
For the last parts of world building we’re going to talk about architecture, flora and fauna, and language.
We’ve covered the world and country surrounding it but now it’s time to get to world on building your city. Or at least, building on what it looks like.
Architecture is inspired and built on the geographical location, the available materials in your world, and the culture.
What materials are you buildings made out of?
How does culture affect how the buildings are designed?
How do the rich vs commoners live?
Architecture changes constantly. As your civilization has advanced, so have the building materials, the abilities of your builders and the knowledge of your people.
If one culture invades another, they bring their architecture with them. Or builders could have been inspired by another culture when making new buildings.
Architecture serves to show the reader what your cities look like, and how the residents live. It can show the difference between different classes, or races if you have them. Don’t stick to the tired medieval trope of stone castles and tudor style homes. Get creative, get researching and think outside the box.
Flora and fauna
First you need to decide if you’re going to use the same flora and fauna we have in our own world. If you are, then get researching and learn which plants grow in which climates naturally and use those to decorate your world.
If you’re going to create your own, remember that a little research needs doing, but you can pretty much do what you want. If it’s just for setting, then having a yellow flower with large oval petals, or a tree with grey and white striped bark and bronze leaves is as easy as writing the description.
Of course, you also need to think about if people use these flora and fauna for anything, such as dyeing fabric, making furniture or healing. Is any of it poisonous to humans or animals? How easy is it to grow, or is it rare?
We’re going to create our own language! No, that was a joke, we’re not.
I’m going to keep language simple, because it’s very easy to make it complicated. Different countries have different languages. And within those languages you can have different dialects and accents which tell you what part of the country they’re from.
Some countries even have multiple languages, each of them similar in style but different in translation.
You can use descriptions to explain how the languages sound to your readers, to give them an idea.
Is it a fast language? Do they pronounce their consonants softly, or harshly? Is it romantic, slurred, musical, flat, smooth? Do they curl their tongue around letters, use long words, or short?
Does you culture speak multiple languages?
Are there languages that no longer exist?
What about the written word?
And don’t forget slang. Every culture has some sort of slang within it, and it’s a great, personal detail to add to create more depth and realism.
These elements of world building can play an important role in creating your world and making it more realistic, but they’re also ones you can keep really simple. You can describe the outside of the buildings without delving to the build and style inside, describe the flowers without giving names and say someone spoke with an (insert country here,) accent and not lose any depth, because it’s still painting a realistic picture.
Every writer is different. You don’t need to plan every aspect of world building we’ve talked about these past four weeks unless you really need to within your plot. You can just focus on your city and not worry about what’s beyond the gate unless you need to travel. You don’t need to delve into politics if you have no use for it in your plot.
I realise that I haven’t spoken about races in regards to world building, but everyone knows about the fantasy four- elves, orcs, dwarves and humans- so it’s really pointless for me to try and expand much on it. Just, think outside the box and make them different- give them a fresh twist.
Add diversity. This is a fantasy world where anything is possible. People living in warmer climates will naturally have darker skin than those who don’t, so it’s unrealistic to forget them altogether. Be mindful of how you describe your different ethnicities, especially if they’re inspired by our own.
The most important thing to remember with world building, is have fun! You’re creating your very own world here. There’s a lot of research involved, so try to enjoy the creative parts as much as you can once the boring- but necessary- logical stuff is out of the way.
Next week, we’re going to delve into the fantastical mystery of creating your magic system.
Good thoughts and happy writing!