(Photo Credit)
(Photo Credit)

Welcome to the end of the week, everyone! I hope that you’re enjoying yourselves and that you’re all playing and working hard. I just started Leon Gautier’s Chivalry and Walter Rauschenbusch’s A Theology for the Social Gospel. I have to admit that these are not my favorite books in my reading thus far. So, honestly, after these I’ll be reading Fletcher’s Situational Ethics and a book by Philip Ivanhoe on Mengzi (I can’t remember what it’s called). I’m looking forward to those, honestly. Anyway, we’re still working on fleshing out your world, so today’s plot challenge is a pretty basic one. I’m going to give you a very general idea for a setting, and then a few basic character archetypes to work off of. Feel free to alter things as you see fit.

Your Setting: A Fantasy World. You should already have a basic map of your world drawn up. Now I want you to focus on a particular nation. Identify and name landscape features (i.e. specific mountains, rivers, lakes, bays, forests, etc) and national borders. You might want to look at actual maps before drawing your own. Remember that the world is shaped the way it is for a reason. You can’t have a forest in the middle of a desert, rivers flowing away from the ocean, or mountains that shape into a perfect square. You should also name the major cities/counties/states/etc of this nation. It might be a group of loosely aligned city-states, a feudal land, or a democratic nation made up of voting states. Identify the key-working parts in the social, cultural, political, religious, and academic geography. Is there one city that is well known for its universities? Another that is a center of culture and political power? This is the time to figure these things out. You should also decide who lives in your nation. Demographics are helpful here. Different races, ethinicities, etc may exist in different proportions. List them out. If you want to get really involved, list out the demographics for each specific city.

Your Archetypes:

A Child Prodigy: This could be a noble child who has been well-cared for and whose abilities have been suitably encouraged, or this could be an orphan child who’s used his skills to set up a criminal empire. This could be something completely different also.

A Court Wizard: This could be a conniving sorcerer like Jafar from Aladdin, a jester who dabbles in magic, a powerful alchemist who is loyal to the king, etc. You know you’re world so I’m sure you can find a place for him.

A Religious Leader: Perhaps this is a cardinal or bishop in some state sanctioned church, or a fearsome warrior monk who leads the nations armies on the battle fields. He could be a true believer, or someone who uses the trappings of religion to gain power for himself.

A Noble Romantic: This could be a wandering poet like Lord Byron or noble lady pining for a knight to come and rescue her.

A Bloodthirsty Maniac: This could be a serial killer like Jack the Ripper, a warlord like Attila the Hun, or a wicked knight like Raoul de Cambri.



2 thoughts on “Plot Challenge of the Week

  1. Just a note about geography. If you have something unnatural you need some back story that explains it. A world that went backwards and an advanced civilzation fell completely apart and now your characters are living on the constructed reminants of that. E.g. ‘hills’ in Europe and China that have been discovered to be reminants of pyramids.

    1. Great point, Wayne. If you’re serious about world building then you need to pay some attention to geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, and gravitational effects. It took me a long time to really realize how important this is, but if you have river going in the wrong direction, deserts where there should be plains or forests, or tides that don’t line up with the number of moons you have people will notice. You’re readers aren’t idiots, don’t treat them like idiots.

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