World Geography Fractalling

Greetings,

If you aren’t already familiar with the term Fractalling, shame on you, and go read my introductory post on it. 😀

This article is to show you how to fractal out a world’s geography. A daunting, but well worthwhile task.

First off, what is necessary in a world’s geography? How complex does it need to be? Well, if you take one look at Earth’s geography, you immediately see that it will be next to impossible to replicate that level of detail in any world you concoct. Thankfully you don’t need to.

But many fantasy authors make ridiculously small worlds devoid of global detail. They might be good at plotting a nation’s geography, but they try to take the same fractalling methodology from their nation development and apply it to global geographical development, and it breaks down very rapidly.

So here is how you do it right, to get the most amount of detail possible (without relying on random map generators: we want design and creativity here) with the least amount of effort.

First off we need some big shapes. Really big. What are these big shapes for? They are for the general layout of the continents. Very basic. Stick to triangles, or at the most squares. Huge ones, each covering about half of your globe. The pattern for Earth’s is two triangles, points down, for reference. Because of this simple format for Earth, it is pretty easy to change it up. On one world we did a diamond, and then a line next to it.

Then you go break those up. First skew, and then shatter them into a couple pieces each. Keep long straight lines at this point. Now is also when you decide about how many continents you are going to have. Stick in the 4-10 range, as beyond those points makes them either too small or too simple. You don’t need one shape for each continent yet though.

Now drop the shapes: we are going into a new mode. Lines!

This is a fun type of shape fractalling. Based only very loosely on your earlier shapes, draw a bunch of lines showing the essence of the land and its directions. This part is more vector based, rather than mass based, if that help you any or makes any sense. They can cross, curve (but not squiggle yet), intersect, or run off in weird directions. Be imaginative.

Now merge the two sets with squiggly shapes outlining each of your continents. Base them off of both of the previous stages. Remember at this point, and keep it in mind for the rest of the development, that the top of your square map is stretched out because you aren’t drawing this on a globe. Unfortunately. Just take it into consideration. 🙂

Now you can break those continents up into various islands (especially the ones that are fragmented like the Pacific Isles and Oceania), think Europe and the coasts of the Asian continent. Get the rough drafts first, of course, and then move on to the next step.

In this one, zoom in to one continent, shaping and molding it. Pay close attention to the way that it was made (glacial, volcanic, etc.) because this effects the coastline and the shapes of the mountains. Get an idea of the mountain ranges, sketching them into the land mass with lines like you did before with the continents. Do this with each continent.

Now zoom back and look artistically at how the whole thing balances and looks together. Tweak the orientation of them to each other. Stretch, squish, grow, splatter, simplify, etc.

So now you have a really good base to build off of. You can now take this and start your history, and add on as that dictates. Cities, etc. Go have fun!

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World History Fractalling System

History Fractalling System Mind Map

Greetings,

World History is one of the most important things that needs to be fractalled out in your fantasy world. Without it, your world will be disconnected, and it will not have the overarching continuity that is necessary for the development of your other facets. World History gives you a framework from off of which you can build the histories of your races, nations, and cities. Without that framework, you end up with a messy hodge podge. World History can be called the backbone of your world. So, here we go to develop it for you.

There are three main components to your world’s history: Pivotal events, Ages, and Empires (not the video game).

GLOBAL, PIVOTAL EVENTS

These are things that happen once, and never happen again. They occur, and the whole world is dramatically different because of it. They are generally divine in nature, or are connected to the unfolding of God’s plan for the world in some key way. They are the undergirding events that shape your world. They cannot be left unconsidered.

Earth had seven particular events like this. Your world need not necessarily have them all, but each needs to be carefully considered for inclusion. If you don’t include one, there needs to be a jolly good reason why not. Period. The same goes for additional events that did not occur on Earth. These are alright, and they are somewhat advisable. Especially if you have a very good cobha. You need to consider these, though, and figure out why they did not happen on Earth.

Here are the seven C’s of Earth’s history: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, & Consummation (thanks to AIG for that alliteration). If you are not familiar with them, you need to read your Bible more, definitely. Take each of them and figure out if they are in your world. If they are, how are they different? What events shaped them to be different from ours? How were the people involved different? And especially, how does the cobha of your world affect it?

AGES

Every World History worth anything has ages. These put a very artistic and dramatic sound to dates (‘In the Fourth Age of the world, in the Second Year of my reign, my court jester tripped and spilled soup on my royal personage.’), but more than that, they give a realistic and helpful organization to your world. These can almost be seen as stages between great events, because great events usually mark the beginning and end of the great ages. But these events are not limited to the global ones above. And sometimes there are several different views on which ages were when in different parts of a world. So they are definitely not static, or absolute. You can have one race with five ages, another with three, and so on.

But in any case you need to look at these different kinds of ages to get some inspiration at the least.

Beginning Ages: are defined by being at the beginning of the world. These sorts of ages are dramatically different from the others in many ways, simply because they have no history at all. The world is fresh, and in mint condition. There are very few affects of any curse as of yet (generally speaking, of course, your cobha might be different).

Foundational Ages: are defined by being at the beginning of the world that lasted and became the world that mostly everything happens in, and are therefore foundational to it. Basically, the first age after the Catastrophe.

Imperial Ages: are defined by having many, large world powers one after the other. Sometimes there is one age per empire. But basically they are defined by having the whole world under one thumb at one time.

Growth/Industrial Ages: are generally left out of fantasy pictures, but they are there all the same to be considered. These ages are defined by the predominant technology at any one time. They are harder to develop because this is when technology takes on a new life and things change rapidly. Technologies are very variable, and can be implemented in a huge variety of forms (which is why these ages are so hard to develop).

End Ages: are when the world is coming to an end. Of course there is much debate about these sorts, even in our world (maybe especially in our world). So, basically, you can do what makes the most sense with your history and your cobha.

Dark Ages: are not nice to live in, but are fun to write about. Very simple.

Golden Ages: are nice to live in, but boring to write about. Very interesting.

EMPIRES

Empires define a lot in your world. Especially in the time periods that most fantasy stories are written in. Empires affect all the rest of your history, and you can’t easily insert them after everything else is already figured out. So figure them out early.

There are several different aspects of any one empire that can be considered and fractalled out. Here is our list:

Period: when does the empire exist? How long does it last? What other events occur during its life span?

Manner: what type of empire is it? What is its governing system? Who are its leaders? Is it a good or an evil empire? What does it do while it is in power? What areas of life does it presume to control?

Reach: what parts of your world does it reign over? How big is it? Where are its borders, and why do they only go that far?

Evolution: how does it change over time? What are the fluctuations of its borders? Does it start good and end bad? What happens in the middle? Does its manner change?

Rise: focus on its beginning. How did it become an empire? Why did it achieve that level of power? Who led it to that place? Why didn’t the other nations prevent it? What was its advantage? What was its goal? How did the squirrels feel about it?

Fall: focus on its grisly fall. These are generally rather interesting. What made it change that made it lose its equilibrium? What overthrew it? Why did they let it? How was it corrupted? How did it affect the other nations when it fell? What did they do afterwards? What changes occurred to the people?

There you go. The three main parts of a World History, and some helpful questions that should get you started. Remember, look for the reasons why things happen, and for how they affect everything else. These are the most important things to remember and focus on.

Hope this helps! Be sure to be creative, and let me know how it works out! Any questions or suggestions are also welcome.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

CFS: Part 2

Greetings,

Here is the second stage.

2. ‘What’ Stage

    1. What is your character’s Extroversion(E)/Introversion(I) preference?

      Everyone has a preference for how they interact with the world and where they direct their energy. Is your character energized by being with other people (E) or by being alone (I)? Does he prefer breadth (E) or depth (I)? Does he act (E) or think (I) first? Does he tend to think our loud (E) or to think things through inside his own head (I)?

    2. What is your character’s Sensing(S)/Intuition(N) preference?

      Everyone has a preference for the kind of information they naturally notice. Does your character trust what is certain and concrete (S) or inspiration and inference (N)? Is he oriented to the present (S) or the future (N)? Does he value realism and common sense (S), or imagination and innovation (N)?

    3. What is your character’s Thinking(T)/Feeling(F) preference?

      Everyone has a preference for how they make decisions. Does your character step back and apply impersonal analyses to problems (T), or step forward and consider the effect of actions on others (F)? Does he value logic, justice, and fairness (T), or does he value empathy and harmony (F)? Is he motivated by a desire for achievement and accomplishment (T), or by a desire to be appreciated (F)?

    4. What is your character’s Judging(J)/Perceiving(P) preference?

      Everyone has a preference for whether they prefer to live in a more structured way (making decisions), or in a more spontaneous way (taking in information). Is your character happiest after decisions have been made (J), or by leaving options open (P)? Does he set goals and work towards achieving them on time (J), or does he change goals as new information becomes available (P)? Does he prefer knowing what he is getting into (J), or does he like adapting to new situations (P)?

    5. What are the weaknesses/strengths of your character?

      Each personality type has inherent strengths and weaknesses. These vary from person to person, depending on how strong his type preferences are. What is the unique signature of your character in his strengths and weaknesses?

    6. What is your character’s love language?

      Everyone has a primary way that they perceive and give love. People also have secondary and even tertiary languages with which the communicate love. This is very important to understand. There are five languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Gifts. What are your character’s primary and secondary love languages? Read the book for more info.

    7. What is the story of how your character’s personality changes?

      Everyone’s personality changes as they grow, mature, and go through major events in life. This is a unique signature. How does this affect your character? How does he change as he goes through life and major events?

  1. Now we can get into the nitty-gritty. What is your character’s personality? Now, most people would write a simple paragraph or a sentence talking about how their character is either ‘impulsive’ or ‘steady’ or ‘a strong leader.’ Maybe they are irritable or proud. This is okay (and better than many things that I have seen), but nowhere near what we are going to do here. We are going to develop your character using the Myers-Briggs type indicator and the Five Love Languages. If you are not familiar with these, you need to be: for your own life if not for your writing. The best thing to do is to get the books about them (there is way too much for me to explain here): try Do What You Are by Paul Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Much of the descriptions below are paraphrased from descriptions in the books.

Have fun! Let me know what you think.

CFS: Part 1

Greetings,

Here is the first section of our Character Fractalling System.

1. ‘Who’ Stage

    1. Who is your character as described in one sentence?

      Write one sentence giving an overview or summary of your character. This is generally pretty hard to do (and that is good), but it is very helpful. It will not cover everything in the character by no means. It will simply give you a snapshot view of the character. Do not include anything about what the character looks like! That is not what this is for. Wait patiently for that.

    2. Who is your character as described by several key words?

      Take several key words from the sentence in the last step. Now think of some other words that might help describe your character abstractly. Is he more like Lightning, or more like an Ember?

    3. Who is your character as described in one paragraph?

      Take your key words and expand them into a paragraph of several sentences. Remember that this is not primarily a description of your character’s appearance, but his persona, his inner self. You can also put some of his history in here, if they are vital to his existence and explaining him.

    4. Who is your character as described by several key phrases?

      Take several phrases out of the paragraph that you just made that seem to be key to your character. Stuff like ‘fighting for liberty’ or ‘enveloped in shame’ are good. Then make some more that you couldn’t fit into the descriptions so far. Make a list.

    5. Who is your character as described by several paragraphs?

      Now you get to write a whole page or more (or less) about your character! Take your key phrases and expand each into a full paragraph talking about that particular aspect of your character. If this is getting repetitive, not to worry, that is how fractalling is done! Don’t lose your steam: keep right on going!

    6. Who is your character as described by several essence maps?

      Alright, this is where it gets confusing, maybe. Hopefully not. Understanding essence, meta-essence, and essence mapping is very very useful, and is crucial to these last two steps. If you can do it, do it, because it will help the rest of your development of your character tremendously. Anyways, take each paragraph that you wrote in the last step and create one, small (or large if you wish), essence map for it. Each essence map will give you a glimpse into that facet of your character that will be invaluable to you. If you really do not get essence and are starting to liken it to a hulking, slimy monster that wants to stir fry your mind in molasses, skip it. Just write down a list of similes or metaphors for each paragraph.

    7. Who is your character as described by an essence map?

      Now write one big essence map for your character. You should already have a bird’s eye view of your perception of him, and so this should not be too hard if you understand essence mapping and meta-essence at all. If you still cannot bring yourself to make an essence map, just give a very artistic description of your character’s personality and character and etc. using lots and lots of similes and metaphors (don’t let yourself focus on the character’s appearance, remember).

  1. This is the first and most foundational of all the stages. This is where you create an abstract character to work with. You are mainly creating the material with which to create a character, if you will. If you have a general idea of your character, no idea at all, or even if you already have a well developed character, then this step needs to be your first step (which pretty much exhausts the possibilities, hence our placement of it at the beginning). At the end you will have an abstract, summarial view of what the character is going to look like after you are done with the fractalling. But expect this to change: this and all other steps are subject to revision from later steps!

Have fun!

Introduction to our Character Fractalling System

Character Fractalling System

We just made a system for fractalling out deep characters: characters that will make your story stand out from everyone else’s, and which will make your readers want to read it again and again. A truly deep character will not only be able to make any plot fascinating to read, but will make plots that are fascinating in their own right. Good fiction is character-driven, no matter what the genre, and so that is why we developed this system for aiding you in making your own deep characters.

The focus of this system is developing your character independently of his appearance, skills, or physical mannerisms. These are dealt with in due time and order, but these are not what makes great characters. You need to be able to have a real person in your story, someone who the readers can recognize and get to know like none other. Therefore, you need more than just their favorite food or their hair color or their preferred martial art system.

We avoided using genre-specific attributes and questions. It is very possible to use the system no matter what genre your character is going to be in.

We have set this up in seven stages with seven steps (or questions) each. This is to aid in natural flow, memory retention, comprehension, readability, and just for plain old fun. We are not saying that real people (or made up people) are limited to what we have here, or that everyone is somehow mystically made out of seven sevens (although that sounds cool). This is simply for your and our ease and organization.

I will be posting these sections one at a time over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes