So, I’m going to start each new post with #mymillion word challenge progress! Today, October 1st, 2014, is the eleventh day and by the end I’m going to need at least 30,140 words written. I started out ahead, writing 10k in three days, but school came and took my life by surprise and I fell behind. Right now I’m right on target at 28,000 words right now. I just need 2k more and I’ll be caught up!
Now that that’s over, let’s move on to what I’m sure some people have been waiting for for a while: the first post of my world building series. See, I told you guys I’d get to it!
Geography is extremely important to a world. When creating one, there are so many things that are based off of the terrain of the people. The things they have words for, their culture, their food, their clothes, and so on. So getting it down is a very important thing to do. The best way? To draw a map.
Look at that beauty. Now that’s what I call a map! Of course, a political map is important too. Don’t forget that. Marking the geography of a world is important, but so is knowing what country goes where. Well, assuming you have multiple countries. But anyway! Maps are very useful. Why? We’re an extremely visual species. It’s like when you give something a name. All of a sudden, that something is real. It’s not just there, it has meaning and depth. When you give a land a map, you give it purpose. You’ve explored the world and drawn what you see. It’s no longer in your head. You can touch it. Taste it if you want but that sounds gross to me. Too much ink.
But how does one go about a map? Well first you need a piece of paper. And a pencil. NOT A PEN! When you use a pen you can’t erase and what if you have this perfect, beautiful map that is ruined because you drew it in pen and marked the wrong thing. I’ve had it happen before and it sucks. Don’t let it happen to you.
Once you have that piece of paper, my suggestion is to start by figuring out which way is North. Now you’re going to say, “But Linnea, what if my world has something OTHER than north!” and I will tell you to shut your mouth. When a new comer walks through the lands of an unknown world, do they not describe things in terms of their own language?
When north is established, I like to draw the outline of the country. I figure out the ocean borders first, and then move into the dirty little details about the geography.
Now let’s talk about the good stuff. How to build a geographical area.
For one thing, RESEARCH GEOGRAPHY. I’m not even kidding, it makes things so much easier. I took geography last year, and now I look at some of my old maps and roll my eyes at how inaccurate they are. Seriously tho, who has mountains that stick up out of nowhere and then the terrain is exactly the same on both sides? Well, I suppose that can happen, but still! It’s good to know how geography in our world works, especially if you have no intentions on changing the dynamics of the world. Like, the physics, or science. If you decide to do that, well… have fun. I’m far too lazy.
What you give a country for geography is super important. Do a lot of rivers flow through this land? If so, how does that affect food, culture, clothes, etc. What’s the weather like and how does that influence the geography? I have a lot of mountains in my stories, and when you have mountains you have places that are lower. How are things different between the two? It’s also good to look up plants and animals and see what kinds of creatures live and thrive in the geography you want to be prominent. This research is not only fun (well, my definition of fun), but it also adds tiny little details to the story that bring the reader in so much more.
A few things that you might want to make sure make it into a rough draft of your map:
- Land borders
- Ocean borders
- and civilizations
Interesting thing about the civilization part. If it’s in a mediaeval type setting, then they will always, always, ALWAYS be near water. Life cannot survive without water, and therefore, they must settle near a steady flow of water. Also, for ports. Why do you think, when you look at a map of the world, the biggest cities are always by the ocean? They have access to water, to boats, to everything!
It’s a good thing to look out for.
Anyway, that’s all I got right now. Time to go write more in Namida (speaking of water) and catch up on my challenge!
Anyone got any questions or comments? Anyone doing the challenge? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
Till next time!