by Randy Ellefson
Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time.
CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world – places. It includes chapters on inventing planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.
Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.
CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.
All flying animals that are depicted as being ridable are imaginary. The likelihood is that none of them would get off the ground with a rider, but there’s no fun in that. We must take being realistic with a bigger grain of salt than normal. This can suggest doing whatever we want, and we certainly can, but there are often useful details and considerations that arise from trying to being realistic anyway. And these serve to make our work more believable.
While flying can generally be assumed to be done in a straight line, factors change this. Mountains can be tall enough that they must be circumnavigated. Real birds struggle to get over the Himalayas, for example, because the air is thinner. Larger creatures like a dragon would suffer even more from this. Dragons are often depicted as all powerful, but this is one way to make them less formidable and realistic at once. The difficulty of climbing over tall mountains is one reason, along with rain shadows, for characterizing any land features we’ve created; in this case, we’ll decide which mountains ranges are this tall (hint from chapter 4: the tallest peaks are in the interior of a continent, not on its coast).
Hostile territories can also change flight patterns, whether that hostility is other animals or sentient beings like humans. Even dragons are preyed upon by other dragons. A lone dragon might fear to fly through an area full of other dragons, especially if the latter are territorial or of another kind hostile to its own kind. If the dragon is unafraid, his rider might be more cautious.
Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.
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The book series has a new podcast where even more details are discussed. This podcast is free to listen! Follow along here!
Randy Ellefson will be awarding an ultimate world builder\’s package to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.