A plan for creating alternate worlds
As a child, the stories that fascinated me the most were set in other lands. As an adult, reading passages that describe an unknown world still intrigues me. Simply throwing me into a story without a describing the setting leaves me floating in a void without stimuli, similar to floating in an isolation tank. At first this may be enjoyable experience but soon I become disoriented. I prefer the sights, sounds, smells and feel of a concrete world around me.
Basing the alternate world loosely on some existing culture or mythology transported to another time and space, does not do away with the need to flesh out the environment. That is the foundational step in world building.
In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R, Tolkien gave personalities of regions within Middle Earth– the humble, homey Shire, the menacing Misty Mountains, the eerily unnerving Dead Marshes and delicately balanced Isengard, trying to flourish…
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