EelKat Wendy C Allen - Dark Fantasy Author

The Princess Bride predicting Covid-19?


Please be aware that nearly every page on this website contains spoilers to something. I talk about a lot of fandoms, and go into great detail analyzing them when I do. If I am talking about The Witcher series, InuYasha, Disney Ducks, the Quaraun series, or any other fandom, you WILL encounter spoilers about it. 

Your World: Cultures And Architecture | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

Ads by Share-a-Sale

Your World: Cultures And Architecture | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

What kind of architecture is there in your world? For most people, when you hear the word architecture the first thought is big buildings: pyramids, skyscrapers, Gothic cathedrals and the like. Architecture, however is so much more than big landmarks. Architecture is a part f everything that is built by people. This includes such things as streets, street signs, board walks on the beach, houses, home decor, landscape gardening, etc. So, when is comes to architecture in you world, have you given it any thought? What will it look like?

Architecture doesn't have to be big. Even a primitive tribe of cave men will have architecture. Just think of the cave drawings. How does one cave woman lay out her furs? Is it different than how cave woman #2 does it? Even the tiniest home decorating details are part of the architecture found in your world.

Don't forget that each city/town/village is going to have different styles, tastes, and culture too. A common failing in world creation is to have every village in every realm of your world be nearly the same. How many times have you read about a wandering wizard who goes from one village to the next and every village has the exact same tavern with a different name? Than he finds the same style blacksmyth in each village and the king always lives in the same style palace.

Does every village he visits have the same cobblestone streets? Why are some of them not brick? Or gravel? Did you know that many old time fishing villages paved their streets with ground clam shells? (Some still do, esp in Maine. These beautiful glisten white roads are rare, but amazing when you see them, and boy do they stand out and tell a story of the village.) Are any of your fishing villages paved with remains of the local shell fish? Did you know that from the 1800s into the 1970s the streets of Old Orchard Beach, Maine were paved with crushed clam shells?

Does every village in your world have the same tiny thatched roof houses? Are they always the same size and laid out in the same order? It's a common mistake, and few writers even notice they do it.

Now let's take a look at the real world. Say your wizard lives on earth. First he leaves England and heads to France. He'll probably travel through a few sheep farms and farming hamlets to get there. These are not likely to have taverns in them, and may not have more than 4 or 5 thatched roof houses. Once in France he'll have to cross pass a few dairy/cheese farms and grape vineyards, long before he ends up in the village. And once he reaches a French Manor-house (castle) he'll be dwarfed by the shear magnormous size of them. Now lets say he leave Europe and heads to China. He'll have to go past several cultural and architectural changes before he reaches China. Once in China he'll see such things as Pagodas and Shrines. Your wizard may very well suffer from culture shock.

Now let's take your wizard back to your fantasy world. How many cultures are there REALLY in your world? One? Two? Unless there has been a massive Armageddon event of some sort, it is not going to be believable that your fantasy world has anything less than two or three hundred cultures in it, at the very least. Now granted you don't have to mention all of them in your story, but neither should you at like they are not there either.

Let's look at that wandering wizard again. He has finally come home and settled down. Four or five years have passed since his traveled the world and now it's the time of your story about him. His young apprentice is looking around the house and spies a shelf filled with strange nick-knacks: a jade Buddha statue perhaps? Maybe an Eiffel tower shaped trinket box? A Aboriginal boomerang? These are all strange and odd architecturally shaped items, completely out of place and out of culture for your wizard, but they are things which he brought back with him from his travels around the world. They not only represent your wizard's lifestyle, but they tell a little bit about the various cultures in the world as well. They also tell your reader a little bit about your world's architecture without your story having to go to each place. All you wizard has to do is retell a quick two or three sentence long tale about what the item is. You now have far away places for your apprentice to dream about.

Take a look around your own bedroom. What do you see? I'll look around my room. You know what I see? A French Louie style chair. A tapestry from Persian. Several kimonos from Japan. A Mongolian sheepskin coat. Bamboo curtains. A Spanish model pirate ship. A bright colored charger (plate) from Mexico. I live on the Maine coast and a lot of local sea shells and drift wood are all over my room too. In my room you see local culture as well as culture from all over the globe. The architecture in my bedroom is influenced by many cultures. I'll bet your bedroom is a mix of influences too. Now look at your main character's bedroom. How has the cultures of his fantasy world effected the architecture of his bedroom?

What this all boils down too, is, do not forget when creating your world, that a planet is big and will have hundreds of societies on it, each with it's own style and habits, and those cultures will affect your characters even if your story never leaves your main characters bedroom. So know your world's architecture and make sure it's blended in.

Ads by Amazon

Ads by Amazon

Ads by Amazon

EelKat's Guide to
World Building For Fiction Writers
The Complete Article Index

The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:

<<< Back To

Or Head To Another Article In This Series:

For help in creating characters in genre fiction try:

Even more articles have been written for this series since then:

As there are now more then 100 articles for this series, it now has it's own index page on which to list them all, as there are just too many to keep adding them to this end of article list. You can find the complete listing of all the World Building articles here now:

More on Worldbuilding In Fantasy Novels:

Books I Use When Creating Fantasy Worlds:

*UPDATE: ADDED November 7, 2013 - I suppose one thing I should point out at this point, before we go any farther, is my use of the word fantasy throughout this series. The bulk of this set of articles was written 7 years ago in April of 2006, parts of it appearing on EK's Star Log and other parts of it appearing on my personal Squidoo account. In the 7 years since writing this I've received hundreds of emails regarding it. A common question asked being: "Why do you talk of building a fantasy world if you don't write Fantasy?"

ANSWER: Fantasy with a capital "F" is the name of a type of fiction, in other words Fantasy is a genre. I do not write Fantasy fiction of the Fantasy genre, that is correct. I do however create fantasy realms for my Science Fiction and Horror works. I write Dark Fantasy, which is a sub-genre of Horror and Space Fantasy which is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.

Did you see it? No? Let me point it out: I write about fantasy worls as the exist in Horror and Sci-Fi but I do not write about fantasy world as they exist in Fantasy Fiction.

If it is not real it is fiction, if it exists only in fiction it it fantastical, if it is fantastical it is a fantasy item, because it is not a real item, however being fantastical does not make it part of the Fantasy genre, just as not everything in the Fantasy genre is always fantastical in nature.

The word "fantasy" with a lower case "f" is a word that means "not real" and has nothing to do with the Fantasy genre (capital "F") at all. And therefore when I say "fantasy realm" I mean a world that is NOT the Earth on which you and I live on in the real world, and am in no way, shape, or form referring to the Fantasy genre.

The methods I use to create my fantasy realms can be applied to ANY genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Western, etc.

2013 World-Building Series UPDATE:

Due to issues with content scraping, outright plagiarism, some of my articles appearing on OTHER Squidoo member accounts without my permission, and many of my "Squidoo articles" being stolen off Squidoo and posted without my permission on various  blogs and sites including Wikipedia and Helium; all of my articles are in the process of being removed from Squidoo.

This series of World Building articles in one that has been heavily plagiarized over the years and as of September 2013, it can only OFFICIALLY be found here on - if you find it posted elsewhere, know it was stolen and I am not receiving royalties for it.

2014 Update:

As you know, or not, Squidoo owners Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn stole thousands of Squidoo articles from Squidoo members, and tried to pass them off as their own, resulting in the lawsuit against Squidoo owners for the theft of tens of thousands of articles.

More than 100 of my articles were transferred off my Squidoo account and moved to Bonnie's account,

while my authorship and writing articles, including this world-building series were deleted off my Squidoo account and transferred to Kimberly-Dawn's account!


I am shocked and flabbergasted at what these 2 women have done. That they thought they could get away with stealing so many articles from so many authors! Buying Squidoo from Seth Godin, did not give then the rights to our articles and these two horrible women had no right to delete them off of our member accounts and republish them on their own accounts, trying to pass them off as their own.

More then 100 Squidoo authors have gathered together in lawsuit against Squidoo owners, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn. The result of that is, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn, to avoid their asses being sued to hell and back, have now transferred the Squidoo lenses back to their original owners and deleted the entire Squidoo website.

Squidoo is officially gone. It exists no more. Squidoo is dead. Most Squidoo writers have opted to move to Hub Pages as HubPages has bought the remaining shambles of what is left of Seth Godin's Squidoo after Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn massaquered it in their article stealing frenzy.

While I do have a HubPages account and my remaining Squidoo Lenses can be found there temporarily, they are being moved here and deleted off HubPages as I move them

April 2017 UPDATE:

As of now, all on my 600+ Squidoo pages are now moved here to and no more are remaining on HubPages.

It's hard to believe, Squidoo has been gone for 4 years now. It was such a big part of my life for a decade.