My Current World-Building Process

I say “process” in the title as if I actually have one, but I really don’t. I’ll write places as whatever I need them to be for the chapter, and then I’ll add in details later, usually on the reverse page of the notebook I write in so I can edit in the new additions while I type it up later. For example, in the first chapter of the book, I needed a few things to happen. First, I needed the capitol of this kingdom to be largely poor and disgusting, like an image of a medieval serf village, so that this chapter’s viewpoint character, a poor journeyman, could reasonably afford a place to stay. Second, I needed his rival to be a snooty, elitist noble, an officer in the kingdom’s knights, but one that would choose to drink in a bar that smells of piss and shit. Finally, I needed the king to be available to this character at a moment’s notice.

So when I initially wrote this chapter, these were all just contrivances to push the plot forward. I had only a barebones understanding of this world itself, and really still do, and most of that is outlining from five or six years ago, when this was an entirely different concept with a tremendously different set of characters and storylines. So obviously, like everything else, the world has been morphing as I write, as well. Which leaves the question, why am I talking about this?

Well, as progress on my third chapter begins, my mind has also been drifting back to this first one and filling in the blanks. And I just thought I could share some of it with you.

So first, why is the capitol basically a slum? Well, it’s not. Not entirely. The bulk of the capitol is a slum, but there is an area I’m currently calling the Noble’s Quarters which will most likely not receive a name change unless I’m actually a creative person. The Noble’s Quarters lies behind the king’s castle, and is one of only two places in the entire kingdom to exhibit any sort of wealth. This is because the kingdom is actually in its dying days, as they’ve basically been shut out of all trade by their neighboring country, Berkeley (a country from that original outline that I just love in every way and had to carry over to this new iteration). Berkeley will not be playing a major role in this book, but they do loom in the background as a major political and trade rival.

Next, why is this snooty knight drinking in the worst pub in town? Well, initially I was going to give him this backstory where he’s a disowned noble’s child working his way into the king’s favor so that he might return to that society, but I’ve largely ditched that, partly because the way he acts would not and does not earn him any favor, and mostly because while characters do have backstory, I won’t be examining them except in how they relate to their present day actions. Nobody will flashback to their childhoods, there won’t be any chapters set in the past (unless I have a really cool idea for one or it becomes necessary to explain some plot element, in which case I will break my rule for convenience’s sake), and unless it’s directly addressed in the story, these plot elements will largely only ever be alluded to. So if I can’t use my generic, cliched garbage backstory, what can I use to justify this? Well, in an effort to ground the children of these nobles in a deeper sense of reality, the king has disallowed any knights in his service from entering the Noble’s Quarters, an action he took just after *looks up the name* Donald joined the knights. Oh, you know, that’s a holdover name from when there wasn’t a terrible Donald ruining people’s lives on a daily basis. I should change that to Paul or Ryan. Oh, wait-!

And then there’s the easy access to the king. Well, this one was a bit simpler. As my story has spread out from Lowe, the capitol of this kingdom (in fact, so far only one of three chapters is set there and I haven’t returned to these characters yet at all) has become far less central to the story, and so my cast of characters, most of which are also knights under the king’s command, have had to spread out across the kingdom, and I just… didn’t increase the number of knights there are. So the king has only a handful or maybe a little more of his knights at his disposal at any given time, which means that when one comes to see him, he makes it a priority, even when it’s *sigh* Donald barging into the room to exaggeratedly call for a man’s execution for looking at him wrong. This allows the shortage of knights to play to the necessities of the story (if the king had other choices, he could just kick Donald out) while also allowing it to play as an example of how little wealth and power this kingdom truly has at this moment in time.

Anyway, that’s just what’s been added to completed work so far. Figured that might be interesting. Anyway, now I need to find a new name for Donald because every time I type it out I kind of want to vomit. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I’m aware this method is terrible and will create a mess of inconsistencies unless I’m constantly checking and double-checking past work, but don’t ask me to sit down and craft a world first. I get so bored with that shit, I’d never finish the book.


Author: Wombat Lord

I am a not-so-great writer of video game nonsense and, hopefully in the near future, fictional fantasy stories that are heavily derivative and not really nothing you haven't read before. Sometimes I write about music, too, though that ends up looking even worse than the other stuff.

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