Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TUTORIAL: Making A Unique Fantasy World

How to make a fun, exciting and UNIQUE fantasy world.

I got a bunch of feedback from reviewers of my first book The Divine Tempest and one of the BIGGEST things they are saying is that my fantasy world and the characters therein are unique. I honestly didn't think about that when I was writing up my book. In fact, I just wanted to make a world that would be fun and tantalizing to the imagination. In light of this feedback I want to share the love. Mayhap you will find it enlightening as well or possibly just an entertaining read. Shall we get started?

The first part of the process is rather simple. I do something called stream of thought writing, where I just put ideas that I simply think are cool or awesome on the page. Everyone has these ideas, like “Man wouldn’t it be baddass if…” and then bam! That goes on the page.

I like guns and fire magic. GUN FIRE MAGIC YEAH! Haha, so now you are having fun and you want to write a character that uses gun-fire magic. I’m excited, are you excited? This actually helps develop the character because YOU are giddy about getting started. That level of energy that you can then throw into your project will translate into the character and make them that much better.

The same thing goes for the world. What kinds of things do YOU think make a good fantasy world? Why did you like these ideas? What was it that really made them shine? Think about what you like AND dislike. Do you like werewolves? What about elves, dwarves, and orcs? What is it about these creatures that makes them sing in your head? You may not want to ACTUALLY have orcs, dwarves, and elves in your book, but they are EXTREMELY good influences for fantasy specifically.

As an example, I freaking love werewolves and vampires. Oh man, I can’t get enough of them, but I don’t really enjoy writing horror which is a bit of a problem if I want to include either. (Nothing wrong with the genre, it just isn’t my thing) That was when I started investigating what TRAITS made these races so awesome!

For werewolves I realized I like the shape changing aspect, weak one moment a raging machine of walking death the next. (1..2…3..DEATH!) So, I set out to create a race that would fit this particular bill, but would also fit within the world I was to create that I could also use in the long run and not just as a one shot “Oh this is cool, look it is shiny and fun!” for one scene. Enter the anthra (Short for anthropomorphic kind of sort of). This is a race of beings that can transform into large humanoid animals. (Like a werewolf, but bears, hawks, squirrels, etc.) But, they can only transform at night. I wrote out their society to be nature loving and vaguely influenced by American Indian tradition.

Then vampires. I have always seen vampires as troubled souls that walk a blood filled living nightmare where they are forever a beast, trying to escape by faking their humanity but never truly succeeding. This is tempered by their amazing physical attributes and makes them silent brooding characters with explosive combat ability. One of my characters (shh, spoilers! Special kudo to anyone that guesses which character!) is just that. He is tainted by a cursed bloodline and is constantly haunted by nightmares of his past. I also kept the increased combat abilities (increased durability, strength, and regeneration) but got rid of the daylight sensitivity because that would severely limit his usefulness in the story. Given that there is only one of him, I felt it was okay to make him a bit strong.

These are only a few examples of how to make your book fun and unique. Hopefully it has been helpful! Feel free to follow this blog for future posts and if you have any feedback, feel free to post it in the comments below! Cheers everyone!

-      Herrick

Feel free to follow me on twitter or facebook too! '

I am currently listening to ONION! by One Ok Rock

Check out my kickstarter if you like, I'm funding the editing of my second book and it is a great place to get a copy of either The Divine Tempest or my upcoming book A War of Lies. 

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