First things first, you decide how many countries, kingdoms and continents you’ll have, then you draw them out. Voila! The structure is built.
What’s next? Decide where it is hot, where they have a lot of greenery and nature and if there’s a place in between. Think about Earth in this case, up north we have colder places like Scandinavia, Iceland, Russia, and so on. Down south we have places like Egypt, Africa and the middle east.
Hierarchy and races
Once this has been established, decide who rules each place. A brief history of all the places you’ll use in your novel is important. Do you have Kings and Queens, Emperors, Lords and Nobles?
Create them and place them around your map.
Do you have elves, dragons, goblins or anything else in your world? If you for example have a dragon living up in the icy parts of your map, answer to yourself in your head why this dragon lives there – and not down in the heat? Maybe he doesn’t like heat, or maybe he got chased up there back in history – because of a conflict.
Ask the same questions for your elves and all other races.
Decide how their hierarchy works, where they live and establish why they can all live in this world, is there any conflict?
Conflict brings us to our next subject.
Structure, war and peace
Now comes the most important part, one many writers actually miss completely.
Ask yourself these following questions:
1. Why are there many different countries? Why not 1 or 2 huge ones?
2. Was there ever a war, what about?
3. How does the trade system work? Why doesn’t kingdom A attack kingdom B right now?
4. Establish all truces, why is there a truce, and what are the conditions?
5. What places have access to ships, and why doesn’t others?
These are just a few questions that needs an answer. You don’t need to have all of this information within your story, but you – as the writer – need to know these things.
If the system of the world doesn’t make sense, the story won’t make sense.
World building software
Lastly, my favourite place for world building. Go to https://inkarnate.com/ and start exploring!
©Melina Wedin 2017