EelKat Wendy C Allen - Dark Fantasy Author

NOTE: Chat is set to emote only on my Twitch channel and my personal contact information has been removed from my website and every place else, due to the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of false reports of "information", along with vile hateful memes about the murder of my family being sent to me by trolls who think mocking the murder of my family is funny.

FBI Agent Andy Drewer out of the Portland, Maine FBI office is in charge of the of the April 10, 2015 kidnapping of my 12 children by 14 Ku Klux Klan men who invaded our home and the subsequent May 15, 2015 murder of 10 of the 12 whom had their heads nailed to my front door. If you have information about the case, give it to him not me. He can be reached @ +1-(207)-774-9322 

If you could recommend I watch one VOD that best represented your channel, which would it be?

This one....

The Princess Bride predicting Covid-19?

Avallac'h's a Good Tutor?
Of What? How to Better Bed Kings?


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. 

Travel & World Size 
Fantasy Worldbuilding For Novelists

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Travel & World Size  
Fantasy Worldbuilding For Novelists

So, I was over on Reddit, you like I often am, and found this question. And answered it, like I do. However, the answer I initially gave was a simple generic answer. If you want to read my original answer unaltered, simply click on Reddit's embed feature links which Reddit provides for webmasters to be able to post their answers on their websites, while linking back to the original thread on Reddit (if you didn't know Reddit offered and encouraged the use of this feature, look for it in the "share" features underneath every post, comment, and reply on Reddit).

I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.

In any case, as with all of my Reddit answers found on my site here, my original post on Reddit is much shorter then the article here.

Travel & World Size  
Fantasy Worldbuilding For Novelists

>>I'm rather new to worldbuilding/fantasy writing.

Welcome! You are in for a fun (and sometimes frustrating) ride.

>>I've been building a foundation for my own world and stories but I'm having trouble deciding on a scale for my world.

I did this when I first started. I had, I think 3 characters, no story, and a great idea for a planet I wanted to build. I wasn't really into writing that much back then (in the 1970s). Back then, I just wanted to build this amazing planet I had thought up, and then I wanted to explore it, so I created people to explore it, and it was an amazing source of pretend time for me and a few of my cousins to then run around the yard pretending we were in this world.

After a while though my cousins "grew up" (as they put it) and didn't play pretend anymore. That's when I turned to writing stories about the character, and my focus turned from worldbuilding to writing stories about the world.

I never had any idea of scale, and (being heavily influenced by Star Trek) my idea of world building I think could better be described as galaxy building, because I was creating full planets and then sending ships back and forth between them.

My perception of Fantasy races, was that Elves originated on one planet, Dwarfs were from another planet, Humans were from Earth, and so on. So I set out the create every planet from which each of the Fantasy races came from. Then I concluded different types of Elves came from different planets... so you can see how I just ran with world building and had no scale at all, but rather ran wild in my ever expanding universe.

In my early years, you saw me publishing only 1 or 2 stories a year. This was because I spent a lot of time world building. In my most productive years I was publishing 2 or 3 short stories a week and a novel a month - this was a period after I had the world fully built and was writing lots of stories with-in it; in the past 5 years, you've seen me back to publishing only 2 or 3 stories a year because health issues (Parkinson's) have desperately slowed down my ability to do a lot of writing any more.

>>I've looked at other fantasy worlds and their sizes, and it varies pretty greatly. Some are the size of Europe, or smaller. Some are bigger than Earth. To me, this spawns some questions.

My world, spans 3 solar systems and multiple planets with-in them. My world is massive. The entire glob of 3 planets and 2 moons are fully mapped, complete with dozens of countries, cultures, religions, ethnicities, and MOST of these things have never even been used in any novel of the series.

>>What's too big? I know it really depends on the scale of your story, but that's TOO big for a fantasy story?

No. There is no such thing as too much world building.

There is, however such a thing as too much "world building procrastination"!

There is nothing wrong with constantly building and expanding your world... and if you are a hobby writer, writing for your own pleasure with no intention of publishing, then you can press forward world building to your heart's content with ever writing a word of your novel at all (and a lot of people do this... it's a great hobby to have)... BUT... if you goal is to be a published career author, then it can become an issue, if you are forever world building, but never writing. So remember to balance world building with novel writing.

>>What's too small? I know most of my current story will probably take place in a very small portion of the world, however I'm not sure what would be simply too small of a world.

I don't think there is any such thing as too small.

For example...

Not a part of my primary series of novels, I also have a series of stand alone short stories. Each story is under 5,000 words. Many of the stories in this set were written as part of a writing challenge called "the 8 hour writing challenge".

The 8 hour challenge was started by Joe Konrath (a horror author - if you google him, you can find hs blog and the blog post about the 8 hour challenge). He only did it once, but after that, most people who joined the original challenge, started doing it monthly on their own, I was one of these.

The challenge is this:

Pick a day when you have an 8 hour stretch of time you can devote to this. Then, set your alarm to 8 hours from the start time. Now, without any pre-planning, write, edit, format, create a cover, AND publish on Amazon, a story. Do EVERYTHING within that 8 hour time, including to do ALL of your world building and character creation.

Most people who do the challenge, spen 1 hour worldbuilding/plotting/character-creating, 4 hours writing, 2 hours editing, and the final hour making the cover and formatting and uploading to Amazon.

I've done this challenge about 20 times in the past 5 or so years. In each case I ended up with a story about 5k words long, most of them done in Slice of Life format, with only 1 character, dealing with some major messed up life-shit. For example in one story a guy wakes up to find vampires stole the roof off his house during the night; another story a guy is in a high speed chase escaping police, hits a pedestrian, jumps out of his car, through a portal, and comes out in front of car escaping police (he hit himself); another story a 4 year old girl is building a sandcastle that she says Faeries live in, adults laugh at her, a shitty adult destroys the sand castle and Faeries massacre everyone on the beach...each of these stories were published on Amazon 7 hours after I started creating the world they happened in.

In each case, the story occurs in a very "small world".

For example the vampire one (Where In The Heck Is The Ceiling), takes place on a single street. It features the inside of a house, the outside of a house, the street the house is on, and the inside of an office building across town. You never see any other parts of the world or know where this street exists.

In the car crash one (Wasted Time), the entire story takes place in one tiny isolated section of road, just as the road leaves town and enters the forest. Of any world I've ever created, this is probably the smallest one as it takes place in a space about 200 feet in diameter.

In the sand castle story (Sand Castle), it starts out on the back porch of a beach house, then expands to a cold North Atlantic beach, and mentions that the beach boarders a tourist town. So this one has a full town, but only a small section of it is seen.

In the Oak Tree, the entire story takes place on a hill, in a field, under a man-eating oak tree.

Emmet opens with a scam artist being chased by an angry mob out of a village, during a storm, getting lost in the forest, and seeking shelter in a haunted house. From there the entire story exists in the front parlour of the house, where the man is terrorized by ghostly black cats who argue how they will kill him.

Shifting Sands, is set on the exact same beach as Sand Castle, this time an evil town manager is destroying nature to to turn the town into a money making tourist attraction, but his plans are thwarted by the same Faeries as before, calling up the crabs and seagulls in to tourist eating massacre.

Lucky Number 7 takes place in 3 locations: an 7th floor apartment, bus #7, and an office building on 7th street where the 7 son of a 7th son works with 7 employees whom he is convinced are plotting to kill him on the 7th hour of the 7th day of the 7th month, so he plots to kill them first.

In a Tale of Tall Grass we see for a 3rd time that same beach as in Sand Castle and Shifting Sands, this time an elderly woman sit on her lawn overlooking the beach and watches her 2 neighbours compete in a lawn mowing frenzy of who has the better lawn, while the old woman, who has never cut her grass in ever, has waist length dune grass hiding the blood-thirsty Faeries inside, once again the Faeries attack the threats of nature, this time turning the lawn mowers on the men, slaughtering them in the bloodiest Faerie attach yet.

In Road Rage we return to that beach town for a 4th time, this time the old woman is driving home and witnesses the insanity of what happens when a full moon shines town on the cursed town.

In BloodFall in Playland, we return to the same beach town yet again, this 5th time following a group of teens to the Amusement park, only to have them get stuck on top of a ferris wheel and witness as everyone on the beach gets eaten by a zombie alien attack.

In The Attack of The Zombie Pizza Boys, we are at that same beach for a 6th time, and now the town is entirely zombies, running a tourist resort to have a steady supply of brains.

These, of course are examples of extremely small worlds, built on spur of the moment seat of the pants for a contest, but still, it shows you that there is no such thing as too small of a world. In each case, only enough world was built, to allow the story to take place logically, and nothing more of the world was built.

>>How do you decide and scale your world?

At this point in my career, I don't do much world building... I'm 130 novels into the series, which I started publishing in 1978, this year being the 40th anniversary since volume 1 of the series was published. But as I said, I ran wild with my world building, and never stopped, just forever expanding as needed for each story I added to the series. In the end, I ran wild and free never worrying about an end goal of the scale.

>>In addition to scale, also keep in mind the speed of available travel.

>>If walking is your primary mode of transportation along poor roads or no roads at all, then traveling across a continent the size of Europe becomes long, complicated and uncertain.

THIS^ Is so important for me and my series.

The main character is a wandering vagabond wizard and his unicorn. Though he has a horse (of sorts) he absolutely refuses to ride said horse, thinking of him instead as a companion rather then a beast of burden. The end result is, 90% of the time he's walking, and the only time he's not walking is if he's traveling with some group he meet along the way, and got invited to ride in their wagon with them.

As I myself am someone who did not have a car until I was 37, and walked everywhere, I knew from experience the amount of distance I, myself, personally could walk over various terrains. I can walk 13 miles a day across beach sand (I live on a 7 mile long beach and frequently walk it and back, daily) or I could when I was younger. Now that I'm older and on a cane, I struggle to walk 2 miles on the beach sand. On paved sidewalks, I could easily walk 16 miles a day... but trying to walk that same distance in summer, was a struggle due to heat, then now on a cane, the hip pain kicks in after 7 miles and I can no longer make the full 16 mile -3 town- walk I used to walk to do my shopping. I knew that 4 miles of harsh, deep forest, deer trail, mountain hiking was my limit without an extended break to rest, but that I could do 3 of those 4 mile stretches in one day...and after having the cane, I now require more breaks more often, and because of this am limited to a 10 mile forest/mountain/trail hike instead. Each of these things is further effected by weather: heat, cold, rain, snow, wind, mud, etc, all change the difficulty and amount of mileage I can make. Plus I have many other distances, terrain, conditions I have trekked over the past 50 years, and kept track of, so can look back at and reference, today as writing notes.

Well, because the series I write is set in my native region (Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, Nova Scotia) but set in a fictional, quasi medieval-like version of it, that was largely based off Dungeons and Dragons, if D&D was set in New England and Maritime Canada, and if that region had been the center of the world instead of Europe. So, I've taken a very real location, and given it fiction towns, and an alternate history.

Well, I know from walking the area every day for the last 5 decades, that most small towns with farms and forest between them, tend to be almost exactly 10 miles between each town, and are marked with granite mile markers (many of which were built in the 1640s and are still standing today in 2018). I also know that cemeteries are put every 5 miles, and always face to the East. And most of these were also built in the 1640s.

Being someone who has spent most of my life cooking outside and sleeping under the stars, I also know what you can and can not cook on the road (like the fact that stew takes 5 days of none stop boiling to make, and no one is walking around luging a 75lb cauldron around with them). I know too that sleeping on roots and rocks is not fun on the back and that the best place to sleep is near tall grass or oak trees, so that you can put piles of grass and leaves under your bedroll.

In the end, I take all of these various factors, and use that info when writing my wandering wizard. Early in the series when he's younger, he can walk greater distances. Later in the series after sustaining a leg injury that put him on a cane, he's slowed down quite a bit. Tons are about 10 miles apart, so he can usually get to a town before dark, but inclimate weather slows him down. Heat makes travell slow and when a blizzard strikes it can take a week or more to reach a distance that should only take a day.

The entire series is a travelogue type story of sorts, with the plot itself being minimumal, and the story being his interactions with people he meets on the road and in the towns he visits. Thus travel, and writing travel on foot accurately, becomes a major concern for me as a writer. And thus this:

>>In addition to scale, also keep in mind the speed of available travel.

>>If walking is your primary mode of transportation along poor roads or no roads at all, then traveling across a continent the size of Europe becomes long, complicated and uncertain.

Is the sort of thing I think about constantly when doing any type of world building for my series. I probably think about it too much, LOL! But still, for me and my series, thinking about how my world effects how my character travels, is perhaps the biggest issue I have to worry about, due to the fact that travel on foot is a constant, steady, every page event, of every novel in the series.

>>When i see worlds that are 1 continent i just immediately put down that book or whatever.

Considering less than 10% of Fantasy novels contain a map, and more than 90% of Fantasy maps only show a single continent, that translates into, you rarely if ever read any Fantasy books at all.

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