Worldbuilding My Fantasy Series

First, sorry this is late. And that it isn’t Whimsical Whatnots. I’ll do that next week; I just want to give myself a chance to edit it at least a little.

 

I’ve been busy worldbuilding for my new series, and I find I like it more than I thought I would. Of course, I draw heavily from other sources, for reasons which will become clear.

 

An old English painting of Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil, one conception of the world tree

The story takes place on another world that is located near ours on the world tree. The worlds are spirit linked, and ideas pass between worlds easily, and the closer the worlds are the more ideas seep through. Things pass more rarely, though it is known. In fact, humans inhabit nearly all the worlds, as they are very adaptable and curious, and our platypus originally came from the world my series is set in. Plants are more or less the same on all worlds, as they are all given life from the world tree.

Since ideas pass easily, we have many myths from these other worlds. Most are from the world my series is set in, since it is the closest to us, but others come from other nearby worlds and a handful have made their way from far-off worlds.

Since the worlds are spirit linked, that means that where the ideas (not just myths, but cultural stuff and many inventions too) end up in our world is the equivalent area of where they came from in that world. So chupacabras inhabit that world’s version of Latin America. Each of the books in the series will be based in a different mythology which, as the author, I’ll learn about as I travel to those places. I’ll pick up books of legends and myths and take pictures of plant life, buildings, etc. and pick up some things about the culture as I go for research. I intend to have people from those cultures read them to make sure I didn’t say anything incredibly stupid or offensive before I release them.

The first book will be set in Welsh mythology, however. I haven’t been there, but I wanted to start with something that will be at least somewhat familiar to Western fantasy readers. The main character will be Anabelle, who is from our world. She’s set to be a recurring character in future books, but only the protagonist in the first.

 

The worldbuilding process is made a little more difficult by the fact that I’m doing it on two levels. I’m trying to figure out what this world’s equivalent of Wales is like (not an easy task; Welsh myth as we know it has a LOT of Christian influence), but also to figure out what the world as a whole is like. Since the idea is to be as true as possible as many myths as possible, I have to consider that when I’m creating my magic system or deciding how death works, for example.

Of course, I know that I can’t be 100% true to everything. I’m aided by the fact that there are other worlds than ours where I can stick myths I don’t want to deal with or that conflict with the world as I’ve already presented it. I’ve already decided devils and demons aren’t from this world. I think they’re from a world of black and white morality where I’ll stick anything overwhelmingly viewed as good or evil. Black and white morality bores me, unless it’s exploring the concept in the form of a character who thinks that way.

Otherwise, I can always just hand-wave it as the myth being misunderstood or misremembered. But I’d understandably prefer to minimize that.

 

So that’s the major project I’ve been working on in between my short fiction. I don’t plan to publish it for a couple of years, when I start travelling. But I’ll try to occasionally post about it (as well as the other books I have planned once I start working on them). I’m still figuring out this blogging thing and what people are interested in. What sorts of things would you like me to post about my books? Character profiles? World mechanics? Plot points? Something else?

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6 Replies to “Worldbuilding My Fantasy Series”

  1. I could always hop over to Wales for you and do some research, ha ha!

    Great to hear you’ve got this project going on and have so many ideas. I look forward to finding out how it develops.

    • Hah! I gots good books, and soon I will try looking at many photos and maps.
      Thanks for reading and commenting as always!

  2. I live close to Wales, but I don’t know much about its mythology. It’s Celtic, I guess. I did recently do some research on my own city, Bristol, and read up on the legend of Ghyston and Goram, two giants whose stories are used to account for certain geographical features in and around the city. Apparently there is long line of giant myths all the way from Cornwall up to Bristol.

    • It’s definitely Celtic. The major split of Celtic mythology seems to be Irish (and nearby) and Welsh (and nearby), though those are also related. Irish has more resources, but I couldn’t find evidence that they have dragons, so I went with Welsh.

  3. Worldbuilding is always interesting with fantasy because we’re all making up our own world in our own way.

    But I can imagine it’s a lot more difficult when you’re building on something that’s already established, such as mythology, or you’re trying to stay true to a certain real life place.
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    • It’s certainly been interesting so far. I never thought I’d like worldbuilding, but I’ve found myself really getting into it.
      In a way it’s easier to have a lot of it worked out for me, but then I have to try to make the sometimes contradictory myths make some sort of unified sense, like a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces, and it also adds a worry that I’ll do something very stupid or insulting.