I'm not afraid to admit it: I've fallen completely and irreparably in love with my stories and the world they're set in. <3 There's so much potential for unique and exciting ideas in this land I've been carefully and painstakingly developing, and it would be such a shame to write only a few stories and set it on a shelf.
For example, the picture above. What you're looking at is what I visualize for the stunning view atop Mount Eris, the now-extinct volcano in Calest that is a crucial part of Dragons' Bane. Far below, you can see the icy blue waters of the wintry sea, blanketed by layers of soft, fluffy fog. The Mountain itself is so tall that you can see not only the Upper towns, but the Lower towns and even the Commons as well, where the people of Calest peacefully slumber, tucked away from the crisp winter chill. The land is harsh and desolate, but becomes almost magical when the snow falls, transforming the barren, rubble-filled plains into a wonderland of snow-dusted shrubs and trees where one can almost begin to forget the terrors the land has inflicted upon them for the remainder of the year. It is a time of reflection and peace, a respite from the rest of the seasons.
Apparently, I'm still on the topic on worldbuilding this week, haha. I've been diving deep into the culture and life of Calest and Galdania recently, and I have to say, it's very exciting. :) Even as I write down all these little details that will probably never make it into the book, or not much, at least, I know how much they enrich the worldview in my mind and just make it more...real.
So, that's where today's advice comes from. It may sound a little contradictory with what I said last week about not wanting to overburden yourself with worldbuilding details. Let me clarify that: Don't overburden yourself with details that you feel must be in the book/s for whatever reason, but don't be afraid to go deep and detailed in your imagination. If you're a visual sort of person, look up images to help you get a better feel for the land. Galdania has a special gem that is like the official gemstone of the country, and I spent a little while searching different types of gems to find one that satisfied my mental picture. In fact, I have two big picture folders with references for the two main countries.
Also, draw a map of your world--even if that's not your kind of thing. My map was mainly a big doodled mess (I am no artist, unfortunately), but it's amazing how much it helped me have a better handle on the world I was creating! And then, of course, there's all the fun naming of all the mountains and rivers and special landmarks. :) There is so much you can alter in a fantasy world; it can be a bit overwhelming. I just found out recently that the Calestans have a pretty neat end-of-the-year tradition...and the Galdanians just party all night, as is to be expected, haha. It's been neat learning these things about the worlds, though. :)
Another thing I'd like to mention: contrast. The real world is vast and varied, and a fictional world should be no different. Not every area of the world has grass and farmlands or is just mountains; there are many different kinds of land and weather and whatnot. In my fictional world, Galdania is mainly a beautiful, fertile paradise, while Calest is the barren and harsh plainlands in the shadow of the towering mountains. The cultures differ greatly too, which has created a lot of interesting contrast for the story. Where Galdania is more concerned about sparkly gems and whether their clothes are the finest in town, Calestans' main care is whether they can provide food and shelter for their loved ones. But of a difference in priorities, haha. ;)
Likewise, the names in Galdania have a sort of fancy, lilting sound to them, whereas Calest's language can sound a little harsh and guttural. The names for things are simple in Calest--duskweed, lin, toghorns--but in Galdania, you are more likely to hear things like mahalla and fancy terms of address like Viyer and Viyess. It's made crafting the different cultures even more interesting, seeing how Galdania is more concerned with their shallow wants and desires while the Calestan people just fight to survive and have a decent life.
Oh, and for all those lovely excess facts that you can't slip into the book but want to share, you can always make up interesting fact sheets for people to read. ;) I'm thinking I'm going to have to do that as I progress with Dragons' Bane, but I don't want to spoil all the lovely fun just yet. When the worlds are ready for exploration, you can bet I will have lots of fun information on them. :) Like the fact that there are more than just four seasons in Lena's world, and that the Mountain is actually an extinct volcano. *wink*
So, what about you? Have you ever made your own fantasy world, and if so, what is it like?