Given that it’s NaNoWriMo prep season I’m going to revisit some of my World of Ontyre posts from a different perspective so you can see how fantasy location prep aided drafting.
I’ve already shared basic facts about Transgamete, the Carrdia capital. It’s been mentioned in every completed novel (5), but factored most significantly in the prequel, Exhuming Truths. Lets take a world building glimpse at the steps I took.
Based on knowledge I possessed (I enjoy history) and research I had long before written a history for Carrdia. Like all reference materials created for fantasy writing it’s expanded over time. From the general history I learned a lot, including:
• It was the largest city in the region.
• Why it’s original name was changed from Gython.
• Prominent landmarks included Axis Hill and the palace on it, the country’s primary university, the biggest library in the country, and massive Union Arch.
• It existed as a small trading center until the Empire celebrated its location halfway between Brillica and Mlorashire (thus the arch).
• The city is administered by the wealthy Nine Families.
• When Carrdia became independent it became the capital.
While still working on the Carrdia history I created a map of the country and later one for the continent. Before drafting the novel, though, I created a city map to learn more and assign names for locations that might come into play. Names weren’t random, but based on logic or history. Here’s a few:
• Paxtrillion University was named after the first name of the first Empire emperor.
• Empire Avenue’s name was also influenced by the collapsed Emprenson Empire that ruled the country for so long. The university is along it and it runs to the big square where Union Arch is located.
• Vesphor Square was named after the last name of the first Empire emperor.
• Royal Carrdia Library signifies its status within the country.
• Theatre District isn’t a flashy, original name, but knowing where it was located in the city and in relation to these other landmarks was vital.
• Besides the island and lake names I already knew from my original world building, I created a small body of water within the city limits called Lake Gython (note how it ties back to the city’s original name).
Now we’re getting close to the drafting phase, and in planning Exhuming Truths I learned even more details while fleshing out the plot:
• Its location on Royalty Island between Crown Lake and Lake Radiance meant there was limited access and, more importantly, limited means of escape for characters.
• Even though magic was outlawed, the wealthy members of influential society bribed government officials to enjoy the benefits of magic, which in Carrdia included electric.
• Most of the wealthy, powerful Nine Families are located in the same district: Channel.
• Though the wealthy enjoyed preferential treatment, the city was becoming one of stark contrasts as the areas most impacted by the ban on magic became rundown.
All of that led to drafting where I further learned:
• Poverty and decay along the Lake Gython waterfront was severe.
• Union Arch possessed raised beds with bushes and trees, each running away from each of the arch’s four corners at a forty-five degree angle. It was also deeper through than a horse and carriage.
• Vesphor Square is a vast space and prone to chaotic traffic.
The process is like building blocks. Imagine trying to come up with all that while drafting when time is precious. Too, inventing on the fly brings the risk of contradictions and glossing over all details while drafting can compound into a series of events that couldn’t have physically happened.