I've decided to start sharing writing tips specifically about writing in the Fantasy genre. Excited? I am! For my first instalment I have chosen to write a post about how to choose a setting for your Fantasy story.
There are many questions you need to ask yourself before you decide on a setting. Is it set on Earth, in a city that already exists? Or does it occur in a completely fictional world? What kind of landscape do your characters have to deal with? Is it set in a medieval-like setting, modern, or futuristic? This is where brainstorming can be very helpful and also one of the most fun aspects of writing.
The basic principle behind brainstorming is to jot down every idea that pops in to your head no matter how silly they seem. Even when you believe you have found the setting you want, keep going. You may find that each point leads to a new point and some will even merge to create a completely original and complex world that your characters can explore.
What is too crazy?
In Fantasy writing, very little is classed as 'too crazy'. If you think you can write it, if it will add another layer to your story, then run with it. But most importantly, if you think you will enjoy writing about it, then do so. Don't worry so much about what other people will think; there will always be the people who don't agree with your ideas and will mock them, but there will likely be a group of people that will love them. Just have fun with it!
Don't be scared because I just wrote 'History'. I'm not necessarily about to tell you to research. Of course, if you are setting your story in Renaissance England then you will likely need to research that time period. However, what I actually mean by 'History' is what is the history of your world? What happened in the past to make it the way it is now? For instance, the setting of my novel Sky Stone, Branzia, is a country cut off from the rest of Earth. How come? Basically the two deities had a disagreement and one of these, the Crimson Knight, decided to 'quarantine' Branzia to stop the spread of magic to the rest of Earth. Because of this separation, Branzia hasn't progressed far beyond the Middle Ages despite the rest of Earth being in the 21st Century.
How about a map?
Maps are always fun to create and can act as an aid to writing and as a reference to your future readers. They remind you of the orientation of your world and the distances between different landmarks. This is especially helpful if you have created a large world.
What next? Once you have chosen a setting there are many other things to consider. How have your characters adapted to the landscape? How do they get around? If your world is covered in water, do they travel by boat or do they fly? What is the temperature? What sort of clothing do your people wear? These worlds are our creation so feel free to make them as weird and amazing as you like!
Scarlett Van Dijk
Other great posts:
'The Basics: So You Want To Write A Novel' – Nat Russo
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
Subscribe to my blog to receive email updates of my latest posts.