Creating a fictional world is like trying to find a sweet chihuahua; it’s a hard thing to do. However, it is possible. There are so many elements you need to think about when doing it: the geography, religion, culture, and language. Luckily, I have a tip for each of these challenging aspects of the world.
If you’re struggling to get good shapes for the geography of your story, then try the rice method. Get rice (orzo pasta is a good substitute if you don’t have rice) and spread it out on a table. Draw down the shapes you see and organize them in the way that seems the most natural to you. Now you have a continent!
Always make sure to make a note of the geography, a photo works if you can’t draw, as it’ll be a very hard thing to remember. If you have access to such technology, it’s always best to draw it digitally because then you can freely arrange the continents after you’ve drawn it if you end up being unhappy with how it came out. A good drawing program for computers is “Krita.” For drawing tablets it’s “Medibang,” both are free programs.
Religion is one of the most important things in your world, it greatly shapes the culture and society. When thinking of religion, you’ve got to decide whether or not you want to base it off of a real religion or not. If you are, do extensive research into the religion. For example, I’d recommend buying a bible if you’re looking for a Christianity theme. Put post-it notes in the places you’d like to change and make extensive notes. You’ll be able to form a good idea of what you do and don’t want to keep that way.
If you’re completely making it up, you can either go one of two ways, making one united religion for the whole world or multiple different religions. When doing one united religion try thinking of these questions: “how was the world made?” “How is it that everyone believes in this religion, has the deity presented itself to the people?” “Who or what makes the world continue to run to this day?”
When thinking of multiple broken religions try going off of geography. A place that is closer to the equator and therefore is sunnier will probably have a god that revolves around the sun, a loving god that provides nurturing warmth to help keep them warm and to help crops grow. However, if it is not pleased it could cause sunburn or scorching heat. An area with a cold climate may have an angry god who doesn’t like humans, so they constantly make life difficult for them. They’ll have to live their lives appeasing the god or else the people will quickly perish at the frostbitten hands of their deity.
Going off of geography for culture is a good idea as well. The food and music will revolve around what types of resources they have around. With areas with hot environments, they may eat produce like oranges and avocados. In cold climates produce that could be eaten are things like blueberries and apples. In areas with lots of animals, they may create instruments like drums, and in areas with lots of vegetation, they may create instruments like bamboo flutes. Put a lot of thought into it, as the culture can be a vital part of the setting and story.
Creating a language is difficult. Sometimes, to make it easier, you may want to pick a language to base yours off. Making a language similar to another can make it easier for, not only you, but for those reading it. For example, those who have learned Italian may have an easier time learning Spanish due to how similar the two are. Pick a language that you know well. Change most words up a little bit, adding your own conjugate system, and change up some words completely to add your own flair.
If you are absolutely sold on creating your very own language but don’t know how to go about it I recommend getting two things, a word search puzzle, and a dictionary. As you go down each word in the dictionary, close your eyes and circle random letters on the word search. Most of the time, this will form a word. Keep doing this until you find words that you like.
Each thing in making a world is greatly entwined with another element of another. Geography is influenced by religion, as the way the world is mapped out can be entirely up to the gods, or vice versa. The religion could be based on geography, like how Ancient Greeks saw Mt. Olympus and thought that their gods lived there. The culture can influence how language is, for example, a laid back culture may result in abbreviated words and slang. A proper culture may result in a very formal language.
So, when creating a fictional world keep these tips in mind. Remember to have fun with it, and to keep elements of each category in mind when creating your fictional world, just to really make your world flow and tie it together. Creating a world of your own is a wonderful thing that can be so fun but so challenging. I wish you the best of luck in creating your world, and I hope this helped.