World Building 101 – Geography

Over this month, I’ll be posting on world building. Throughout March, I’ll be posting on the basics of world building, geography, history, magic, religion, and government. Today, I’ll continue the series with GEOGRAPHY.

In the last post, I said wrote that maps were probably the best place to begin world building. It doesn’t matter how you construct the map. You can do it with pen and paper, or on a drawing application on the computer. I prefer to use the computer – I can make various copies and if I screw up, it’s easy to fix. For the professionals, you can even try programs devoted to map making, such as SmartDraw and MapMaker. Just Google map making programs.

Once you’ve chosen your method, decide where in the world you’re creating the story is going to take place. If the world only takes place on a particular island/city, there’s not much use in mapping the entire continent.
The best place too start is the same place as your story. Map that location, then map out from there. Consider where everyone is going to live. Elves generally live in large forests, while Dwarves prefer mountains and the underground. Be careful that the geography is realistic. I doubt you would find a desert beside a snowy region.

Draw your map. Add oceans, rivers, mountains, plains, forests, deserts. Anything you want. Add towns and cities.

Once your map is drawn, it’s time to consider other things. Where is the most fertile ground? Where are minerals located? Who uses these resources? What are the primary crops?

Next is climate. Many things are dependent on the climate, including where crops can grow, clothing, houses and recreation.
Which crops can grow in which climate? Climate will determine what residents in the area wear. Climate determines how houses are built -houses in the snow will be built differently to houses in the heat. Climate can also affect recreation: skiing in the snow, camel racing in the desert.

That’s just a summary of questions you can ask yourself. Next, I’ll be talking about history.


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