Making up yor own town?

by shelly

Question: When making up a town what must you include? My book includes mythical creatures. I want my town to come alive like J.K Rowling did in harry potter. But I'm just getting frustrated in the process. I've searched the internet and my local library with no luck. Or I did find something but I didn't find what I needed to know. So when coming up with a town can it be anywhere? Since my book has some fantasy in it. What should it include? How to get it from your head onto paper? Are there any rules when making up a fantasy/magical town? Hope that's not to many questions. Thank you.

Answer: There is nothing you "must" include. But there are things you will want to include to make your setting come alive for the reader.

Obviously, as your characters go about their activities in this fictional town, they are going to be perceiving many aspects of it. It is the details that make the town come alive for the reader. So you will want to do some planning, particularly if this is a fantasy book.

You might start by creating a list of questions someone might ask about your town. Then brainstorm answers. If a town is inhabited by mythical creatures, how will that affect its layout, architecture, businesses, etc.?

The second quality that makes settings believable is consistency. For instance, if you say in Chapter 1 that the bank is two miles from the post office, and in Chapter 20 they are side-by-side, that would destroy the believability of the setting. Many authors will draw maps of a fictional town to help them keep the details straight. This also important in that it affects what characters can do, how long it will take them to do things, etc.

And yes, you can put the town wherever you like that makes sense for your story, even on another planet or in another dimension if you like (that's the power of fantasy).

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Jan 22, 2013
The Sky Really Is The Limit!!
by: Todd Rogers

There is nothing more exciting than making a place that is all your own!!

What is so wonderful about making a town or city totally from scratch is that YOU are both Gate Keeper AND Key Master (that was a little "Ghostbusters" humor there) in deciding what exists vs. what doesn't!

Take traffic laws for instance.

You can make it legal to cross the street on a red light on the first Tuesday of a month that starts with J when the temperature is 65 degrees "EXACTLY!".

You can make a law that banishes anything bad that you hate or don't like, say, if you're a kid and you hate Brusell Sprouts and you make it illegal to be served Brusell Sprouts without marshmallow sauce and bing cherries mask the flavor.

The ideas are ENDLESS!

You can make your city/town as much as the city you live in, or you can make it as alien and odd and marvelous and wonderful and mysterious and dangerous or safe as you want.

I agree with the advice that you should draw out your town.

There is a game you can play that might be an INVALUABLE resource to helping you build a city, and its a game whereby you actually build a city!

It's called THE SIMS. This game has been popular for nearly 17 years and it has many different variations, and one just so happens to be one where you build an alien planet.

You should look for these on any app store for iOS or Android, and you should shop in any electronics store or Game Stop or wherever computer games are sold (or get it online directly from the manufacturer by Googling "THE SIMS" and going to their website).

This is a very good quest. You should undertake it on a small scale first, like a village, and then build it up gradually to a large megalopolis!

Good luck!

May 04, 2013
by: Anonymous

Does your advice only pertain to fantasy stories? Can you create a whole city or in fact change the landscape and names of Earth itself in science fiction, or even a western?

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