Fantasy Fiction · Modern Fantasy · Urban Fantasy · World Building

Journey of a World Builder – Part 1

By Steven A. Guglich

Join me on this journey of creating the world of The Veil Saga

As a fantasy and science fiction writer, story is the most critical part of writing. Story is about someone’s journey of transformation… someone overcoming obstacles and becoming more than what he or she was. But there is more to the story than just the story. There is the world in which the story takes place. There are peoples with varied cultures and belief systems that drive them to do what they do. There are economic systems in place that may or may not differ among the races and cultures; but, as we all know, the love of money is the root of all evil. There are political systems that some become a part of to affect change in their world, and others manipulate for their own self gain. World building is an essential part of writing, especially for those who write science fiction and fantasy.

The world of The Veil Saga takes place in our modern world where humans exist and regularly interact with each other. But there are parts of our world that are hidden away by the Veil. There are races of enchanted beings who have concealed themselves to escape the brutality and poison of humans. These are the races and cultures that I needed to create. It would be easy to just say they are elves or dwarves, but those would just be names. To truly understand why the elves and dwarves behave as they do, I had to start with what they believed and how they lived. Isn’t that how life works? We act and react, listen and respond, create and destroy based on how we were raised and what we believe. We either continue to follow the beliefs of those who raised us or we become influenced by outside entities and experiences which change our lives. To make the world of The Veil Saga seem real, I first had to know why the elves, dwarves, gnomes, and other enchanted species did what they did. But, I didn’t actually start there.

I had the idea for the story of The Last Enchantment: Book 1 of The Veil Saga and the personalities of the characters mapped out in my head. I’m a pantser (a person who writes without an outline; a person who does something by the seat of their pants). So I started writing and writing and writing and the story was coming along really well. I had written over 35,000 words which included a prologue and 18 chapters.

One day, a fellow writer friend of mine, Carlos Bowe, asked me to beta read the first three chapters of his fantasy novel, Bringer of Dreams. When I read it, I was blown away by how rich and real his world felt. He wrote as if he had truly walked in this land. I asked him, “You must have really done a lot of world building?” Carlos replied, “I’ve been working on this thing for a long time. Dude, at one point I actually built the entire city in my living room using pizza boxes.”

Carlos’ skill in world building really paid off because, as a reader, he made feel as if I was really there with his characters. I could see the landscape and the city clearly in my head. It was Carlos, without even suggesting it, who inspired me to halt writing The Last Enchantment.


So now, I am inviting you to join me on this journey of world building. Each month I’ll update my progress and tell you a little more about the races and cultures of those hidden by the Veil. And I will ask for your input and feedback as the world of The Veil Saga unfolds for my readers.

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23 thoughts on “Journey of a World Builder – Part 1

  1. I do a lot of research for my world, I write historical fiction, but I think the concepts are the same. Even though we live on the same planet, it is a different world now then it was 1200 years ago. Your journey sounds interesting, and I will be following along.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! World building is a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun too! It challenges you to get in to the heads of the people who live in your book. Understanding their psychology and writing about what they do almost makes them three-dimensional. I mean, who knew that dwarves celebrate Ragnarok ever January!? And that Ragnarok is a five day festival which starts with the three day celebration of Fimblewinter! I certainly didn’t… until I created it as part of their history and spiritual beliefs (but that’s for another article.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Great topic. I have so much admiration for writers of fantasy and sci-fi for this very reason. To be able to sculpt with words a three dimensional place populated with nations and rich cultures and systems is such a feat. I attempted to write a sci-fi (kind of) book, which is sitting in a drawer at 120k and hopeless. When I went back to writing what I have always written, I did so with a huge appreciation for what world-builders actually do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too have the greatest amount of respect for fantasy and sci-fi writers. Building an entire world (or even using parts of this one) seems very daunting. Maybe one day I will dive in and see what happens. For now, I am happy to take a journey in building your world…even though it will be a back seat position…I will watch someone with much more experience first. I cannot wait.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Like others have noted, I do a lot of research, but I think it’s awesome that your friend built his whole city out of pizza boxes! I know an author who has simulated the weather for her alien planet in software, so she know exactly what it will be every day she writes into her world. I tend to pick up my world-building in nonfiction titles. The other day I was reading a book on the history of butter, and it actually got me out of a corner I’d written myself into with my current WIP. That’s always the best research! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thats a great post great man, I had no idea you were a pantser but I’m glad you told me lol. You are a strong writer and I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like a great idea, will keep an eye on your blog! Thanks for commenting on mine 🙂

    I love reading about different methods of world building. I have a tendency to outline everything but will occasionally just write something without a plan. I find it really useful to mix up my methods especially if I’m in a writing rut

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds to me like you’re a bit less of a pantser than you believe! You may not be writing ten page outlines, but I would argue this is something of an equivalent. 🙂 I’m looking forward to following your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting observation! The WorldBuilding I do is very extensive! But when it comes down to actually writing stories, I let the background knowledge stew and percolate to propel the story. Thanks for following my journey. I look forward to learning from and supporting a fellow world builder.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Paula. It’s coming along well. I just finished a 19 page world building document on one of the races from The Veil Saga. And, I did an article on them too (That’s Part 2 in this series).
      In hindsight, I still think I’m a pantser, or as Brandon Anderson calls it, a discovery writer. I just discovery write my story after I have laid the foundation of the world.

      Like

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