Goodness, I'm so late posting this, my apologies…
So you have answered your main worldbuilding question, you’ve gone ahead and created your rigging and you’re all set! Now you get to research for your world- you are about to sink your teeth in the juicy, succulent meat of the data that will make your world awesome, real, engaging and charming or mesmerizing.
There’s really no way to do it but just jump in- there is no shallow end in this particular pool. You just need to start working on getting the information you need. That isn’t to say you can’t be methodical; you can and you should. But you should always keep in mind that in research you can’t cut corners or find a magic shortcut that will give you what you need in a short amount of time. Depending on how big and lush your fantasy world will be, the amount of research you will need to do will also be proportionate to that. And that’s okay- the better you know your own world, the more it’ll pay off when you write your story.
I have already talked about a good basic, ubiquitous method on conducting research, so I won’t go into it again here.
What I want to talk about is how that very research you do will probably shape your story to fit your world.
It is good to have your basic, very rough, plot down before you start your research (assuming you don’t start off with your plot in the first place, before even getting down to worldbuilding). The best format for this would be a straight line with points on it. These points are the pivotal plot-advancing moments that you feel are ABSOLUTELY necessary to exist in order for your story to be. So you could have something like this:
* POINT A: Sir Knight finds student————- * POINT B: Sir Knight’s student dies mysteriously ———- * POINT C: Sir knight finds what killed his squire ——– * POINT D: Sir knight has to decide what to do with this knowledge (because it’s forbidden) ——– * POINT E: Sir Knight decides to go rogue ——– * POINT F: Sir knight saves the realm
Keep your outline by you as you research. Start with the basics of your questions as listed in the previous part about the world rigging, and always keep in mind what sort of elements you want in the pivots of your story (your points in your outline). As you start off, you might have in mind that what kills the squire is evil magic, and it’s what the knight will need to go up against to save the realm before everyone dies like his squire did.
But as you research, you might find (as you research medieval era countries, and so on) that the way the Black Death impacted the populace, the social structures and even international relations between countries at the time, and how it was construed to even be the end of the world, is a more powerful tool to use as a menacing threat that kills off the squire first. And it might be a far tougher fight and higher stakes to have the knight go up against religious institutions by perhaps wanting to use (forbidden) magic to halt a plague that is advancing.
So as you keep your main pivots (the points) in your story, you might change the event that leads to them in order to make a more streamlined story that better fits the world you’re building.
Always keep in mind as you research, that the story builds the world, but the world also builds the story: worldwide, mythologies across different nations share main storylines, but the world they are dressed in and the events and interactions of the characters that propel those same storylines are vastly different exactly because they fit the world in which they’re taking place (and the world that gave birth to the fantastical ones in mythology).
Your story can be no different, if it is to be worth your audience’s while.
And that’s that! I hope you enjoyed reading these and that they help you along or complement your own method for building wondrous worlds of fantasy.
Tantz_Aerine at 5:42AM, July 29, 2017
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