Last week, we talked about 5 basic steps to world-building.
But, I didn’t want you to just take my word for it.
I have been scouting the sci-fi and fantasy realms, where I spoke with some of the most dedicated and comprehensive authors.
Click the link below to view my author interview with Mark Anthony Tierno. Listen as he shares the processes that have helped his writing career prosper.
Who is Mark Anthony Tierno?
According to his LinkedIn page, Tierno is a professional ghostwriter with over 30 books to his name.
(As in, he has published 30+ books in addition to the books that he has ghost-written!)
But after speaking with Mark, I discovered that he is more than a writer-for-hire.
He is a true craftsman: a dedicated, passionate architect of lands and worlds, people and languages.
And yet, even with a master’s degree in physics, the world of Maldene did not spring to life over night.
Mark developed his 13-book series over the course of a lifetime: adding a new land here, adding a new word to his language there, maybe creating another secret society or character over the weekend.
You can see the fruits of Tierno’s labor on his website maldene.com, where he details the thought process behind many of his creative decisions like why his ogre-character Blag-ak can’t sing.
Mark’s words of wisdom
1.) Come up with a basic idea for your world
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the land of Maldene.
Mark started with a simple idea that grew and grew until he had even created his own language.
I just wanted a nice, simple phonetic language. I sat with a friend and drew up characters for the alphabet.
I kept adding to it over the years as I was writing until I had a dictionary.
Now I sprinkle in a word or two here and there to add some flavor.
Check out Mark’s website to view the fictional language of Maldene and language writing tips!
2.) Draw up some maps
Mark shared that his maps are so extensive that they can be put around a globe.
Every fantasy writer does not need to create a map fit for a geography class, but it can help you develop your plot.
I started with a piece of graph paper and began drawing. I began drawing random things here and there and then different places that would give me plot ideas.
3.) Write all of your ideas down
Mark told us that he keeps a running book of notes about his land.
It can be random stuff at first, but eventually, you will form a pattern. Like, my language was just random words at first, until I could form a pattern about what the Maldene language looks like. You can do the same with your world.
In fact, Mark told us that one of his settings, “the Sea of a Thousand Islands,” was inspired by salad dressing.
I’d see the ad. for A Thousand Island dressing and I’d always ask my mother where “A Thousand Islands” was.
It was an oddity in the back of my mind, until I was putting together my maps.
4.) Maintain your passion
Writing is a long-term labor of love. It is a thing inside your head that will not rest until you put it down. You should be at the point where you should be like “Wow, it’s Monday; I get to work on that book.”
But it is a process.