pretty polar bears

anonymous asked:

Hi! I don't know if you answered something like this, I'm new to Tumblr and your profile, and I'm sorry if you have, but I just started writing a fantasy, and I as wondering if you could give some tips on physical world building, stuff like the terrain, buildings, animals, the colors, and some good describing words to help the world pop off the screen. I'm in no rush so take you time, thank you!

If I had answered something similar then I’d link you to it! I can’t blame repeat questions when I have a bad answer-organization system.

The thing about your question though, is that the answer is it all depends on your world. I recognize that “it depends” doesn’t help, so I will expand, but I can’t give you a concrete list of exact details because each story is so different and requires different care.

What I can do is give you some questions to potentially prompt answers from your mind. Part of being a writer is determining your own way to describe things, and there are no descriptor words that are “good”. It’s all relative to the mood/tone of the scene and what image you’re trying to convey.

What kind of world do you want to build?

From there you can move on to sculpting the details to your desire. Are you creating a planet, or just a few countries? You only need to plan as much as your story will be showing, but some people like to get a little more grand. Accept early on that unless a detail is plot-relevant, it may not show up in your story.

Culture before physical features and traits.

Not everyone does it this way, but for most people it’s easier to work with because it keeps the ideas in a tiny box. Know what kind of culture you want the fantasy societies to have and base the terrain, building, animals, on that. (Otherwise you’re just making up random stuff that may not realistically work together.) Some of this may require geography research to see how cultures (and the basic features of land) develop differently.

A few examples:

- A landlocked country probably isn’t going to be big on fishing or water-sports. Water might be a precious commodity, and/or the settlements may be concentrated on rivers.

- A hot island culture will probably eat a lot of fish, might not hold common activities during the hottest part of the day, and people might not wear as much clothing due to humidity. Biodiversity is highest in equatorial regions due to high amounts of rain and sun.

- Hot desert culture tends to involve lightweight pale-colored clothing that covers the body to protect it from the sun. Animals may have large ears for regulated heat release or water-storing adaptations, and plants will be succulents like cacti (water-storage plants). Activity may not happen during the sun’s highest point.

You also might consider how cultures can move and blend, especially with technology and city development. The Caribbean is good historic example of a mix of African, south Asian, English/French, and native culture, but the Africans, Asians, and Europeans were not originally there. New York City is a good modern example of how cultures can interact in a city space

Describing fantasy features and traits.

Who’s your narrator? It all depends on them. A protagonist who’s native to a certain culture isn’t going to marvel at how their people do things. It’ll just be a normal daily occurrence and should be narrated as such. Put them in a different place, and they might start admiring the buildings, the clothing, the city layout, it’s all relative to who they are and what perspectives they hold. Things that are “foreign” to you as the writer are not necessarily “foreign” to the character.

You should also keep in mind what may or may not exist in their culture (or world-view). This can vary based on time period. I know what bears look like thanks to the internet, but I only recently learned that black bears are pretty small and polar bears are huge. Someone who has never seen a bear would not describe something as “bear-like” or use a bear for comparison. 

It also helps to learn animal groups for general naming. You can get away with calling something a “cat” (maybe add a special identifier, like “forest cat”) because “cat” actually refers to a group of animals with certain features, not an individual earth species. When tweaking physical appearance of earth-animals, you can give it an understandable name and then comment on the physical difference. 

“The mottled cat watched me from up the tree, its two tails twitching in annoyance that I ruined its dinnertime.”

Look at how other authors do it.

I could sit here for hours typing out the various ways to describe land and colors when it’s really best to learn by example. Once again, it’s all relative to your narrator, so unless your narrator is a painter or color-fanatic, you really shouldn’t be writing things like “eburnean white” in the first place. I do have this post that I reblogged about some color names, but keep them in-character to use.

For the writing process, here’s How to World-Build Without Boring Your Readers.

Good luck with your world!

Mammals that exhibit non-heterosexual behaviour:

And that’s just the mammals. There’s even more birds than there are mammals, and many others, too.

But please, do go on about how it is ‘unnatural.’

Daiya characters with their son/daughter…




and also…