Let's think about your characters and the world they live in for a bit. Where exactly do they live?
If they are a tribe deep in a jungle region they may live in straw hut or tall tree houses. Or do they carry their houses on their back, sleeping in a hammock hung each night in a new spot?
If they live on a planet who's temperature is so hot that the rocks melt, than your people may have to take to living miles below the surface in order to avoid being burnt to a crisp.
Are they sea folk living at the bottom f the ocean? Than they may live in clam encrusted caves, or maybe they carve palaces out of coral? Or do they bed down in a patch of sea kelp at night? Or do they live in fishing shacks along the shore, sleeping there at night and swimming under the sea by day?
Why are these things important? Because where your character lives affects who they are and how your reader imagines them when reading your book. Where your character calls home, tells your reader wither your character is a master or a servant, a king or a slave, a white collar worker or a blue collar worker, a wandering nomad or a solitary hermit. Where your character lives tells your reader the type of lifestyle you character has.
Where your character lives may have a great effect on your story. For example, in my Twighlight Manor series, most of the stories take place inside the Manor itself. A huge haunted mansion tells the readers that these characters have enough money to live in this massive fortress. It also tells the reader that these characters are pretty strong willed to refuse to move out of a house that one by one is eating members of their family. The house in effect become a character in the story and is very important to the plot and effects everything that the characters do and say.
Now granted your characters probably don't live in a house that eats people, but still where your character lives affects how they live and how other characters react to them and more importantly how your readers react to them.
Remember, when you are creating your fantasy world, to create houses to match the local. Your characters have to live somewhere, even if they are a family of squirrels living in a tree. Remember too, that in a fantasy world, just like in the real world, everyone will live in different types of places depending on income and climate, so take those things into consideration as well.
The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:
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:
*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 EelKat.com - if you find it posted elsewhere, know it was stolen and I am not receiving royalties for it.
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 EelKat.com 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.