Fantasy World Building

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Fantasy World Building

How did I build the world around Red Dragon’s Keep? I could tell you that I spent hours writing up a description of Ard An Tir. I could tell you that every detail was created before the writing started. The answer is frankly, it just grew. From everything I’ve read that’s not the way to create a world.

The first line of the book came to me as I woke up one morning. I’d been thinking about the story for a while and one day, there it was. I could see Thomas swinging the sword and walking towards his father in the forecourt of the castle. So I wrote it down, everything that I saw and heard in the forecourt. Then Thomas had to walk back to the salle and the armory.

So far, so good. A castle and an armory. What else is inside the walls of a castle? Stables, storage, barracks for soldiers, a training area, a garden, wells. I decided I needed a layout of the castle, so I drew one up with my seventeen-year-old Visio program. There it was, on paper – Red Dragon’s Keep.

The name of the castle was already set in my mind – Dragon’s Keep. Through the twists and turns of the story, it became Red Dragon’s Keep, and the central tower became Dragon Tower with a red dragon set in stone rising up its eastern side.

Maybe that Visio program actually brought the whole thing into this world. Hmmm.

Then came the first battle. As I started writing the scene, I realized that, oh boy, if I didn’t have a map I was going to get lost. Out came Visio. Suddenly I could see where everything was going. I could hear the horses walking along the track toward the convergence of the Caladen and the Banuisk rivers. Those names came to me as I wrote. The wagons creaked and swayed as they rolled along behind the horses.

I figured I’d better have a map of the whole continent containing the various countries I’d already written about, and the cities, and the castles. Thank goodness for Visio.

Someday, I’ll have a real map drawn of Ard An Tir – The Shining Lands. But for now, in the best traditions of science fiction and fantasy, there are maps at the beginning of Red Dragon’s Keep so that you can follow along as well.

I hope you like them.

Write On!

Natli VanDerWerken

About Natli VanDerWerken

Natli VanDerWerken loves Dragons. She has 30 that she collected while serving in the Navy as a meteorologist and anti-submarine warfare specialist. She is the multiple award-winning international author of the fantasy series - The Dragon’s Children. The series grew out of a fairytale Natli told her grandchildren one Christmas Eve. The main character in each novel is based on one of those grandchildren. Natli is a native of Colorado. She has a Masters in Computer Information Systems, develops websites, likes to show Shetland Sheepdogs, and quilt in her mostly non-existent spare time.
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