Guest Post | Fantasy World Building by Josh Powell

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There are so many different ways to go with World Building when writing a novel. Some authors dive in deep, the world building is what is really interesting to them, and they build elaborate locations and back stories. Then they create a story that moves through and revels the world and the world is the central character to the book. Some authors dive write in to storytelling and the world reveals itself to them as they write, the world is more of an afterthought.

I’m more of a middle of the road writer, the world I’ve created is so big that to sit down and define every corner of it would take years, instead I’ve got a rough idea of the world’s layout, and which factions are in which areas and why, but I only dig down into the details when a character is in that area. It’s the practical side of me that does this, I love world building, but words written for world building don’t count towards your novels word count. It will certainly help give your story more background and depth, but it takes a lot of time. You have to decide for yourself, where you want to spend your limited time.

I prefer to spend my world building time fleshing out characters. What is the background of even minor characters. For example, there is a minor character in Dragon Apocalypse that is a blacksmith. Instead of just being a hollow shell that the main character interacts with, I decided he was a retired adventurer that loved outfitting adventurers and showing off his great skill as a weaponsmith. Unfortunately, he’s retired to a small village and all anyone ever wants of him is horseshoes. That little bit of time spent writing his background brings the scene to life as one of the main characters, Maximina Nobility, a half-under elven (don’t call her a drow!) adventurer comes to him to acquire something she needs that does NOT fit into his personal vision of himself. Without that background, the scene would have been too flat and gotten cut because it would have just been someone equipping themselves at a weaponsmith.

Another bit of world building was the floating city of Arendal, which I created as a huge bureaucratic city firmly in control by the nobility who use bureaucracy to trap adventurers and send them off to do their bidding by confiscating their magic items and sticking them with huge taxes and fines they must go one quests to pay off. That leads to all sorts of great jokes and interactions because what adventuring party wants to give up their hard earned loot?

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JOSH POWELL, wielder of the Sommerswerd, destroyer of the thread, expeditioner to Barrier Peaks, discoverer of his magic talent, and venturer into the Tomb of Horrors is known for having survived a harrowing adolescence full of danger and fantasy. He's gone on to write The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse and is currently working on the yet to be named third book in the series.

He also spends some not inconsiderable amount of time wiggling his fingers over a keyboard as a software engineer. He lives with his wife, Marianne, and two amazing children, Liam and Chloe, in sunny California, where winter is, most decidedly, never coming.

Author: Josh Powell
Title: Dragon Apocalypse
Genre: Humorous Epic Fantasy

On their way to apprehend a temple thief, Gurken Stonebiter, a templerager of the temple of Durstin Firebeard, and Pellonia, a little, but infuriatingly clever, girl stumble onto a quest to save a town from an evil dragon. The dragon is demanding sacrifices of maidens, and the town is fresh out. Can they discover a way to sate the dragon's bloodlust and save the town?

Along the way, Gurken and Pellonia meet up with Maximina, a half under-elven woman that also happens to be a tad psychic, a ranger with a dash of necromantic ability, a smidgen of samurai training, and just enough time living as a rogue to acquire the ability to sneak up on and stab a foe in the back. Maximina is full of clever ideas on how to gain a tactical advantage over her foes, and on occasion they even work.

During their adventures, Gurken, Pellonia, and Maximina face a snarky unicorn, do battle with a terrible frost giant, contend with a rival adventuring party bent on their utter humiliation, and confront the end of the world in the form of an evil sorcerer and a teeming dragon horde. Can they save the world one more time?

“We’ve run out of maidens,” the mayor told the crowd in the morning, shaking his head sadly. The mayor stood beside a wooden pole with chains and manacles attached to it. The manacles were empty. “I’m afraid that last night, the last maiden in the city, shall we say… disqualified herself.

“Trollop!” said a voice in the crowd.

“In about five minutes, the dragon will be here and we’ll all be scorched and eaten alive. Please, don’t panic. There’s nothing to be done.”

The people in the crowd looked around at one another.

“Can’t we still pretend she’s a maiden?” said a voice in the crowd.

“A good idea, for sure,” said the mayor. “But the dragon can tell these things, he’s got a unicorn with him. I’m afraid we’re doomed. Nothing to be done about it.”

“You can’t fool a unicorn,” someone in the crowd shouted.

“How about a male maiden? I’m sure we’ve plenty of those. Roger here, for example.”

“Hey! I’m not a maiden!”

“Sure, sure, we all believe that.”

“It’s no good anyway. The dragon quite prefers that the maiden in question be a woman,” said the mayor.

“The dragon’s really quite particular,” another voice criticized.

“What about a young maiden? I mean, technically, if we can just find someone young enough…” said someone in the crowd. He turned and looked at Pellonia, as did the rest of the crowd.

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