EelKat Wendy C Allen - Dark Fantasy Author

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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: Water | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

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Your World: Water | EelKat's Guide To World Building - The Squidoo Series

Water is a part of your world's landscape, but it deserves special consideration on it's own, because water is very important to all forms of life. Where there is water there is life. Without water there can be no life.

A realm without water, has to explain how it can sustain life in either a very scientific or extremely magic can to anything manner, otherwise no reader is going to believe that life can exist in a realm with zero water.

Did you ever look at a population density map? The areas in green means there is little or no population there, while the areas in red mean that place is extremely compacted and over populated. Orange and yellow areas cover the spot between the red and green.

Looking at one of these maps you will quickly notice a pattern: dessert, Savannah, and tundra areas have little to no population, while lakes, rivers, and coastlines all have red spikes.

The answer to this is simple: where there is little water, there are fewer people. Where there is plenty of water, there are lots and lots of people.

People gather at water.

People are attracted to water.

People need water to survive.

Make sure when creating your fantasy world you take this fact into consideration, because real or fictional, people are always going to settle down in a place where they have access to a good water supply.

Since the 1940s, meat has moved front and centre into the primary staple of most modern diets, and because of this, few authors consider the fact that BEFORE the 1940s, meat was scarce, rare, and difficult to come by. Large scale farms producing meat, would not be invented until the 1950s. Before then, if a farmer had livestock, it was not for meat production: cows and goats were for milk, chickens for eggs, horses and ox for plowing and transportation, and pigs... pigs were an evil taboo that no Christian, Jew, or Muslim would dream of touching, considering the Bible, Torah, and Koran all commanded not to even look at, let alone touch a pig, and eating a pig was a one way ticket to hell on many levels... all three scriptures put eating pig as a worse sin than murder - a murderer can repent, eating ig, was absolute blasphemy. Few modern Christina even know what the Bible says and even those that do rarey obey it, so today only Jews and Muslim avoid pig, thus modern authors forget that from Bible times until the 1940s Christians also did not eat pig.

In the 1300s, chickens were so hard to come by that merchants sold them for 130 silver coins - the 2017 equivalent of $1,000. Even kings could rarely afford to buy a chicken. It was because of the exorbitant price of chicken, that mythical tales of golden eggs surfaced.

What does any of this have to do with water?


In Bible times, in Medieval times, and all other times right up to the 1940s... fish was the primary staple food of most populations. And this was a major factor in WHY such huge populations/cities rose up around so many rivers, lakes, and bays.

For most of the world, rice was and still is, the most important staple of diet, and rice grows under water. Rice can only be grown in flooded fields, river deltas, and estuaries.

Papyrus (paper) until recent years was made out of tall swamp grassses including papyraus, pammus, cattails, and reeds. Wood did not become a popular paper making material until the 1700s when mils began to surface more often. These plants only grown in water.

Wheat, corn, rye, and oats are all primary food staples, all require irrigation to grow, and a large, fast river to power the mill wheel to turn the grind stone to produce the flour.

Without water, humans have no fish, no grain, no paper, and no flour; and while people can survive without paper, for centuries it was not possible for humanity to survive without fish and bread, the two food the formed the near entirety of the Human diet for almost 4,000 years.

Perhaps all of this is a history lesson you did not expect to find here, but remember, the goal of all of this is to create a believable fantasy world for your characters to live in.

All too often I fins myself reading novels where the author took no consideration for how the land affects the people.

Even people who live in a forest, live near a creek or mountain stream, people in deserts seek out oasis to live on. Always near water. Always.

And yet so rarely does an author locate their characters near water, making the story incredibly difficult to get into, because of the extreme unbelievability of where the characters live in relation to their world..

Water brings life, and it takes it. Water is beautiful and deadly.

Writing about water can evoke peace or dread. The quiet ripple of the ocean can lull you to sleep, while it's crash waves can shatter your skull on the rocks.

Water is one of the few things that can so deeply effect so many things and evoke such a wide variety of emotions.

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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,