Worldbuilding Questions: Post #3: Physical Features
Welcome back! It’s been a while since I posted a worldbuilding post, so I wanted to come back to help out my fellow writers! Tonight, I want to talk about building the physical aspects of your world. This is CRUCIAL to any well-written fantasy story for several reasons. Now, the importance of physical aspects should be obvious, especially if you’re covering a wide area of your world through your writing.
If you need a refresher on the link I’m working from, click here!
Now to start off, you need to determine how much ground your story is going to cover. Are we operating in the context of a singular town, or are we traveling all across a realm? This is going to determine the detail of which you craft individual areas as well as the full universe as a whole.
Next, let’s talk about climate. What does the climate look like in various areas of your universe? Is it consistent everywhere (could be an interesting concept to play with)? What areas have the best climate for farming? Which areas have a climate that makes them inhabitable? How do the differences between your universe and our Earth affect your world’s climate (for example, having multiple suns)?
Now for the fun part! Building the landscape. Anything you can think of is fair game. Mountain ranges, valleys, plains, deserts, islands, rivers, oceans, lakes, forests, ponds: and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (ooh, maybe some sort of ice land mass?). What areas have the most fertile farmland? That question is going to be important for establishing economies. Certain areas are going to have economies that are fueled by cash crops and others that have to import those crops to feed their people.
Where are natural resources located? Various minerals, valuable assets like gold and diamonds, industrial assets like oil and coal, where can you find those? What economies are going to benefit by having proximity to those resources? Where are water resources running through? Is it freshwater? Salt water? Is there any sort of water purification system in place for places that don’t have access to the purest water source? What are those water sources used for primarily? Drinking water, irrigation, used to run things like a mill wheel? Think about how that affects the people of your fantasy communities.
Once you’ve addressed the questions above, among a few others in the questionnaire, you’re going to have a really good idea of the physical aspects of your world. Of course, you’re going to need to refine these basic ideas into something a little more detailed. Remember, throughout this whole process, we’re getting you ready to communicate your world effectively in your story through description. Knowing more about your universe is better than knowing less.
I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s edition of Worldbuilding Questions! Stay tuned for Post #4 where I’ll go over building the history of your universe!