Four Worldbuilding Resources That Make Worldbuilding for Your Fantasy Novel Easy and Fun!
I’ve found some AMAZING resources for worldbuilding your fantasy novel that I just had to share with you guys. As always I want to note that I truly value and believe in high-quality resources that are actionable and deliver actual results. I’m so not about those fluff resources that over promise, underdeliver, and tell you a bunch of things that you already know (“Your made-up world should be believable...” Really? I’m all astonishment!). In fact, I’m so anti-fluff that my pillows are made out of cement. (Just kidding, my pillows are soft and fluffy as clouds.) But I AM anti-fluff when it comes to my blog posts and the resources that I share. So get ready to have your socks knocked off because these resources are seriously useful and truly helpful.
Here are my top four fantasy worldbuilding resources to take your worldbuilding to the next level!
Tool #1: Watch these videos about hard/soft magic systems to get inspiration about how to set up the magic system in your world.
The first video is “Hard Magic Systems in Fantasy” and the second video is “Soft Magic Systems in Fantasy”. They are also both quite hilarious. I totally lol’ed. (I know that looks weird written out, just go with it.)
If you don’t know the difference between hard/soft magic systems, don’t worry--this video explains it all. And even if you aren’t sure which camp yours falls into or you want to make a new hybrid magic system or you think hard/soft magic delinations are for the birds, still watch these because it talks about things that you MUST consider if you want to build a believable magic system--hard, soft, spikey, scratchy or otherwise.
Tool #2: Watch this six-part video series tutorial about how to create a map of your fantasy world.
The creator of these videos uses beans to form the landscape, which is really great if you are like me and you are drawing-challenged (I mean I can draw a pretty great stick figure...but after that my drawings pretty much collapse). Each video focuses on different aspects like mountains, forests, etc… He’s detailed and walks you through each step based on terrain hierarchy (WHAT?! I didn’t even know that was a thing! Then I started drawing my map and I was like “Land is confusing! Oceans are confusing! How do all of these things even connect to each other in a normal way?!”)
Tool #3: The book Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget by Stant Litore.
I found this book by accident. It was free on Kindle Unlimited (which I’m doing a trial of) and so I started reading it on a whim. Best. Idea. Ever. I usually shy away from worldbuilding books because they often take deep dives into things that get you way off track from what matters in your story--and while some people love that, I do not. I love whatever supports my story. I love making my story fun and believable and immersive. I do NOT love creating random government systems (How about a tetrarchy? I’m not even sure if that’s a thing, but it sounds like it might be. Sure, why not!) and devising random ceremonies and cultural beliefs that are built arbitrarily with no reference to anything, let alone my story.
This book isn’t like that. It starts with three basic elements that all immersive fantasy worlds should have. From there you craft culture, government, etc...based on these three core elements. The worldbuilding then makes tons of sense and you are building with the very clay that makes your story--instead of just lobing ideas at your world randomly. It’s pure genius and quite an inspiring read. (If you want to check this book out and you use this link or the one above I get a tiny kickback as a thank you!)
Tool #4: This podcast episode from The Ezra Klein Show where he builds a world during the episode with the help of worldbuilding expert N.K. Jemisin.
I like a lot of things about this episode--one, it’s amazing how little I know about geography and it’s nice to hear that someone else is equally clueless; two, it’s cool to see how each added layer builds on and informs the other layers; three, it’s really cool to hear the world being built in real time.