World-Builders Series: World and Land Creation
World-Builders Series: Special Item Creation
World-Builders Series: Race Creation
World-Builders Series: Creature Creation
World-Builders Series: Deity Creation
World-Builders Series: Character Creation
World-Builders Series: Building Creation
World-Builders Series: Vehicle Creation
Over the last year or so, I have had several people ask me how I create my fantasy and science fiction worlds when I write. At first, I was stumped. How do I describe the methods I use to create my world maps, my races and creatures, my cultures? I would try, and I would try hard, but in the end, I only ended up with a glassy-eyed conversationalist who had long since zoned out. So, one day, I looked at my process, and I decided that I would stream-line it, create templates that would not only help me but would also help other writers and even game players who had to create their characters for the worlds they and their friends played in.
For the rest of the month of October and all of November, I will be sharing the eight templates that I use to build my worlds. Some of the worksheets are thorough, walking you through the ins and outs of what you need to create, and others serve more as jumping-off points. You may use only one to create a character, but you may use several of them to create a land, and all of them to create a world. It all depends on how in-depth you want to be when it comes to your world.
World and Land Creation
This week, I will begin with the big picture: world and land creation. Every story has a world. You can’t have characters, races, creatures, or societies without a world to put them in. Your story world may be small, or it may be very large. That’s okay. You can make it whatever size you want it to be—it’s your world—and you can use as many of the following worksheet as you want to create your story world.
If your story world exists from beginning to end in one small area, then use one of the Land Creation Sheets below to get you started and draw how you see your world. Your story map does not have to be pretty. It can be squares and circles with squiggly lines or it can be as epic as the map for Lord of the Rings. It really doesn’t matter as long as you know where everything is in your world so that you can describe it. You don’t want to say that Five Points if west of Valkin in chapter four of your book only to have your characters traveling east from Valkin to reach Five Points.
Readers do notice stuff like that.
If your world is massive, such as my story world for the Chronicles of Ithmere, you can use multiple copies of the Land Creation Sheet for each realm or country within the world. I used ten of these sheets to help me visualize my fantasy world of Ithmere, and then I drew the map below so that I could see the world dynamic. This map is rough, and it’s really not that pretty, but it helps me “see” my world, which, in the end, makes it easier for me to write my world and make it feel real.
Use this worksheet as much as you want, share it with others, and build your worlds. Please do not claim this worksheet as your own, and give proper credit to me by linking back to my website. Thank you!