Today, I am going to try and bring you into the world of Goddess Born and go through my process of worldbuilding and creating the worlds in my stories.
The environment and world your characters live in should be a character just like any of the people in your story. It should come alive in your prose and the best way to make it do that is to understand the things that are a part of the world. This tends to be a lot easier if you are writing about Earth and any of the millions of places on it, you can obviously research places or visit places to give that special oomph that puts a reader there.
It becomes more complicated when you’re creating your own worlds. What do you need to know, what should you include to make your readers see what you see and to understand the rules of your world?
I can tell you now that I know a lot more about the rules of the world that Goddess Born is based in then my readers will ever know because I had to decide what was important to share. I know the history of the world and things that even my characters wouldn’t know. I think it helps to know these things so that I can understand how my people came to be how they are.
So let’s take a deep breath and plunge into the world of Goddess Born.
Geography and the World Itself
So, Goddess Born is based in a world that is not Earth. Though, I will tell you now that it did start off originally on Earth and eventually I realized that that was holding back from my story and had to create a world of my own.
The world/planet, the wholeness of this place is called Tespion. The vastness of this world isn’t something I’ve delved into too far. I very rarely make mention of the wholeness of the world by that name. Most people don’t reference Earth as their home because it’s not like we’re talking to people that would be from somewhere else, not as of yet at least. I like to know that because that helps me keep in focus the fact that this is not taking place on Earth.
Instead of focusing on the wholeness of their planet, I narrow down further. To a single country. This country is called Hycintha. Hycintha is widely populated and has towns and cities that are both very urban and very rural. In my mind, and when I try to describe it, I think of the diversity that the United States has, as well as the approximate size.
Inside Hycintha, we have the capital city of Lolia. This is where the head of the country is mostly focused. This is the political and religious capital of the world. Where the king and queen call home though is a different place, Mairia. Mairia is approximately a two hour-ish drive away from Lolia. Most of Goddess Born is based in between these two cities.
As I’ve been planning out different stories within this same universe, more towns and places have been added. We have Oziada (a mountainous, northern town), Galtzea (a small, touristy town that has a very famous landmark), Forstford (an ocean town), Triada, Ivygate and Havenaire.
There are places within these town/cities that are important. Like Club Tigre which is a sanctuary for some of the people that are in the story. There are Dallian temples (religious buildings) and sanctuary houses and forests.
Outside of Tespion, there is a realm of the gods: Calypto.
In the Hycintha, the main government is, basically, a Constitutional Monarchy. But mine gets a little complicated. The human non-magical world has a King and a counsel that make all the decisions, very patriarchal. The magical world has a Queen and a separate counsel to make the decisions but in the magical world the Queen has a bigger pull then the counsel, it is a matriarchal system in this case.
By the time that Goddess Born takes place, the two worlds have combined. The current King of the human world is married to the current Queen of the magical world. Their counsels have basically combined, but due to the fact that magic is meant to be kept secret from those that are not magical, there are things that cannot be handled by the King and his counsel and must be handled by the Queen.
The people on the world of Tespion of polytheists. It is the common belief that the world was created by the gods, to give a handful of bored gods something to do.
In Calypto, there is a hierarchy of gods. We have the Mother of All (Neasa) and the Father of All (Asher). As their very uncreative titles indicate, they are the creators of the gods themselves. The gods of the gods.
After the MOA and FOA we have a wide range of gods that are gods of different things. There are Fates similar to the Moirai of Greek Mythology. Certain groups of people have gods that usually represent them, usually a man and a woman. I’ll probably go into more depth of my existing pantheon at a later date.
These gods have set forth rules that the people must follow (for example, it is against the will of the gods to reveal the truth of magic if the person doesn’t have magic themselves).
As for practitioners, there is one major religion with different sects.
The Dallian religion is one in which the practitioners honor the gods in their life. Whether that means they honor one god or all gods. As long as the honor the rules of the gods, and don’t bring harm to others, the religion is free to interpretation of the individual. Granted there are sects of the religion (one of which is one of the main antagonists of Goddess Born) that work on the shadier ends of the spectrum.
Another key element of the Dallian religion is that the members go through markings. Something that makes them easily recognizable. Deep blue markings are made to the body (tattoo style) throughout a person’s life, made by a priest or priestess during a ritual. These are made during different milestones of a person’s life.
For those that do not follow the Dallian religion, the belief in the gods is a pretty common thing in the world. Those characters that I have now that aren’t Dallian mostly just accept the existence of the gods and honor them and their rules. For example, the Felidae honor the gods and the rules of the gods through hunts on the full moon in their animal form.
People and Races
The biggest thing here that I want to comment on is that in the world of Goddess Born, there is two big differences between the people of Tespion: those with magic and those without.
Though through the story I do hint at there being different magical races, the story itself is focused on one specific magical race which is the Felidae. The Felidae are children bound to the moon – lycanthropes that have the ability to transform into a variety of different big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, etc.). Their changes (or Shifts as I call it in the book) is tied to the moon to honor the gods. These Shifts began as punishment because of them breaking the rules of the gods long before any current memories.
So, magic is a god given gift. Certain gods created certain people, some of those gods bestowed magical abilities to their people. Magic is something kept secret from those that do not have it or have not been initiated into the magical world. Magic being secret is a will/rule of the gods due to the misuse of magic at a different point in history.
Magic is a big part of the story that Goddess Born is focused around. The use and misuse, the control. In this world, magic takes a toll on the body, you have to have the mental capacity and energy to use it. If you push too far, you’ll be faced with consequences that could cost you your life.
Like I mentioned above, there are magical races. There are some gifts that certain people have, and some that aren’t available to them. Most magic is ritualistic in the books, there are steps to needed to accomplish the different spells and abilities. Though some are internal and only need certain environments to cause them to happen.
For example, the Felidae. They are required to shift forms at least every time there is a full moon. Though there are some that only do it at those times, there are others that change at other times as well.
The goal of the magic in this world is that you must understand the limitations of your body and energy to truly master your magic.
As you can see, there are a variety of different points of interest that are good to determine with worldbuilding. For each story, the level of information you may need fully depends on your story and how much backstory is necessary to build it up to develop a good idea.
How much worldbuilding do you do for your own stories?