The King’s Questioner released earlier this week, and I am excited to host author Nikki Katz on the blog today. The King’s Questioner is an epic fantasy, so I of course had to ask Nikki about her world building process, so here’s Nikki!
Building The King’s Questioner World
World building is one of my favorite things to do. For me, world building encompasses not only the physical setting that the characters live in, pass through, and visit, but also involves setting up the world and laws for the magical abilities that some of the characters possess.
The first step in world building is to develop the physical location where the action takes place. Where is it located within the country? How large is it? What is the weather? What is it near? These elements ultimately dictate the layout of the city and homes within, the industry and trade of the residents, the clothing they wear, and their attitudes!
For The King’s Questioner I have three main cities that the characters travel to/from, along with some scenes set on a ship and an island in the ocean. Mureau is your stereotypical fantastical city … dark and gloomy with a foreboding castle. Antioege is a city built much over the water with buildings made from glass. The residents are colorful—both in demeanor and in clothing. Servaille is a city built into mountain cliffs, with three vertical layers of buildings. There, everyone travels on foot and is wrapped in layers against the cold.
In coming up with these locations, I used a Pinterest board to visualize the buildings, layouts, and fantastical elements. (It also includes characters and other pictures that visually display the themes.) I also drew a rough map of the layout of the continent, each country’s borders, and where the cities are situated. Their locales also determined how the characters travel to the cities, and how long the travel takes.
Since my book also contains magical abilities, the world building elements took on another twist. I had to sit down and think how the abilities manifest, what they might be, and how they were used. In one of my revision letters, my editor pointed out that I wasn’t quite being consistent in how magic was being used. In some places it seemed contained, whereas in others it was a bit free-range! Since magic already requires the reader to suspend belief, you want to make sure that any special abilities are structured and thought through before you incorporate them into your world.