EelKat Wendy C Allen - Dark Fantasy Author

EelKat's Guide to
World Building For Fiction Writers -
What is your world like?

/ /

Ads by Share-a-Sale

What is your world like?

Think of your setting, your city, your planet, your realm as though it was a character in your story. Why? Because like any other character in your book, your world is going to effect your main character and his story.

Like a villain, your world could through a hurricane at your main character and delay his journey, causing him to miss a very important meeting. Or like a great god, the hurricane could send the villains ship out to sea, buying the hero his much needed spare time to escape. When creating your fantasy world, think of it as though it was one of your main characters. Think of all the ways it could affect your characters, both the good ways and the bad ways, and how it will affect both heroes and villains.

The questions in this section could apply to your entire planet, or just one city... your world, your choice.

  • Does it look like earth, with mixed realms, deserts, swamps, forests, fields, jungles, seasons, warm, cold, everything all mixed together on one planet? 
  • Or is it nothing like earth at all? 
  • Is is barren rock like Mars?
  • Is it a single environment realm: 
  • ice realm, 
  • fire realm, 
  • swamp world, 
  • sandy wasteland, 
  • other?
  • What type of people live there? 
  • Do they resemble humans? 
  • Alien insects? Reptilian? 
  • Green skinned humanoids? 
  • Faeries?
  • What type of animal life is in your world? 
  • Mammals? 
  • Birds? 
  • Insects? 
  • Fish? 
  • Reptiles? 
  • A little of each? 
  • A lot of one and none of the others?
  • What kind of plant life is there in your world? 
  • Lots of lush greenery? 
  • Are plants rare? 
  • Plentiful? 
  • Fruit bearing? 
  • Thorny? 
  • Pretty but deadly? 
  • Edible? 
  • Poisonous? 
  • Are plants "alive" and eat people?
  • Is there much water in your world? 
  • Large oceans or only small streams in a sandy wasteland?
  • Are there many forests or is the woodland quickly disappearing? 
  • Or is it a place where trees could never grow at all?
  • What season is it during the time of your story? 
  • Or, let's expand this: 
  • What seasons does your realm have in it? 
  • Are they Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter? 
  • Time of Rain and Time of Harvest? 
  • Always summer? 
  • Always winter?
  • What type of weather does your land have? 
  • Lots of snow? 
  • Raining fire? 
  • Long stretches of dry weather? 
  • How do weather patterns affect your characters? 
  • Does acid rain keep them hidden in caves for weeks at a time?
  • Don't forget history. 
  • What was the geographic past like? 
  • How did it affect the present? 
  • What does the future hold? 
  • Did giant glaciers create canyons? 
  • Do volcanoes create islands? 
  • When? 
  • How? 
  • Where?
  • What kind of architecture is there? 
  • This includes such things as streets, houses, home decor, landscape gardening, etc. 
  • Don't forget that each city/town/village is going to have different styles, tastes, and culture too.


This article was originally written on: April 2006

This page last updated on: November 2013

Ads by Google

The End?

No, you have NOT reached the end of this article! What you have reached is the end of what it currently online. The rest is coming, hopefully it'll be on here in a day or three so keep checking back. I will remove this message at the same time I put the rest of it online.

As my long time readers will already know a server crash took down most of the old free-hosted site on June 4, 2013 (which was online since 1997 and had reached 6,000+ pages). Thankfully everything was saved on a separate hard-drive and the site is being rebuilt with a new host and for the first time on it's own domain. YAY!

I am currently moving all 6,000 questions&answer articles to this site one page at a time, at a rate of about 4 to 7 new pages being added each day, so be patient. Not all links are yet clickable. This process started on September 2, 2013 and will be ongoing at least through to January 2014. (And it may be well into 2017 before all 6,000 pages will be back online if I continue at this rate of 5 a day.)

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.