For those of us who write fantasy and science fiction, there’s always the fine-art of world building. That’s the designing of the setting and everything that accompanies it in which the characters move, breathe, have their conflict, the plot develops, and the characters impact. After spending over a decade on world-building for the Aelathia Chronicles, I am always profoundly interested by the skill and penmanship of authors already published–especially those who have fashioned unique worlds.
Let me name a few: Robin Hobb’s finely built world in The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies; Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera which features elemental impact on a Roman society set in a fantasy world with multiple races; the infamous Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, detailed and beautiful; Christopher Paolini’s detailed world featured in the Inheritance Saga; or the high-fantasy realm of Middle Earth featured in praised J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Let’s not forget, even though they may not top my favorite list, such authors as C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, J.K. Rowling, Chuck Black, Stephen Lawhead, etc.
No series, no world has profoundly impacted me as an author than the works of Brandon Sanderson, particularly in the Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive (currently consisting of The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance tomes). I indeed consider him a master craftsman. This is the man who was selected and completed Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. His characters, plots, and worlds are profound, creative, and detailed. If out of any of these authors, you need to select one to read, let me encourage you to read Brandon Sanderson’s works. (Then followed by Jim Butcher, Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb, Christopher Paolini, Tolkien, and so on and so forth.)
To that end, both as an emphasis on world building and to promote my favorite author’s work, let me point you to a recent post Tor.com, “Brandon Sanderson Answers Your Questions About The Way of Kings“. Please, take some time, read through it. Learn from him on how to construct a world. It’s in the tradition of The Stormlight Archive that I’m now fashioning that new world, the standalone novel you may read me referencing from time to time. The Archive is so far removed from the mileau of traditional fantasy we’ve become so familiar with, it’s refreshing. Like all of his works, also very challenging and eye-opening. Follow the link below, and happy reading.