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Creating Places (The Art of World Building, #2)

Creating Places (The Art of World Building, #2)

4.6 Stars, 179 Amazon Ratings (as of 1/2024)

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Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time

A guide for authors, gamers, and hobbyists

CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world - places. It includes chapters on creating planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.

Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.

CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.

Audio Book Sample

Narrated by Randy Ellefson.

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Editorial Reviews

Endorsement from Ed Greenwood, inventor of The Forgotten Realms and dozens of imaginary worlds

"With CREATING PLACES, Randy Ellefson has penned a sequel to his CREATING LIFE that walks story creators through worldbuilding along an entertaining road that runs everywhere, making sure nothing is missed. Plentiful examples are provided, and a veteran worldbuilder can find just as much fun and comprehensive reminders in these pages as a novice. Some books are nice to have, and a rare few are “must haves.” Like Ellefson’s preceding book, CREATING PLACES is one of that rare breed: an essential reference work. Unlike most references, this one is fun to read. Not to mention a goad and spark for the imagination!"

Endorsement from NY TImes Bestselling Author Piers Anthony

"It also has advice along the way on writing that I'm sure novice writers and perhaps some established ones too can profit from. I recommend this book as a basic reference; at worst it is a review of necessary concepts, and at best it will upgrade you from a mediocre speculative fiction writer to a superior one."

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Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Where to Start
  3. About Me
  4. The Chapters

Chapter 1 - Case Studies

  1. Two Straits and a Sea of Enemies
  2. Stopping an Empire
  3. Mountains and Murder

Chapter 2 - Creating a Planet

  1. Creating a Planet
  2. The Sun
  3. Moon(s)
  4. Other Planets
  5. Stars
  6. Asteroids and Comets
  7. A Planet

Chapter 3 - Creating a Continent

  1. Creating a Continent
  2. Multiple Continents
  3. Which Hemisphere
  4. Plate Tectonics
  5. Seas vs. Oceans
  6. Bays and More
  7. Islands
  8. Where to Start

Chapter 4 - Creating Land Features

  1. Creating Land Features
  2. Mountain Ranges
  3. Water
  4. Forests
  5. Prairies/Grasslands
  6. Wetlands
  7. Deserts
  8. Settlements
  9. Where to Start

Chapter 5 - Creating a Sovereign Power

  1. Sovereignty
  2. Roles
  3. Branches of Government
  4. Parliamentary Systems
  5. Government Types
  6. How Many Powers to Invent
  7. Invent for Today
  8. Population Count and Type
  9. World View
  10.  Location
  11.  Relationships
  12. Ways to Identify a Power
  13. Reputation
  14. Where to Start

Chapter 6 - Creating a Settlement

  1. Creating a Settlement
  2. Location
  3. The Population
  4. Zonings
  5. Settlements Types
  6. Defenses
  7. History
  8. How It Is Known
  9. How Many Places to Create
  10. Where to Start

Chapter 7 - Travel over Land

  1. Travel over Land
  2. Mode of Travel
  3. Obstacles
  4. Calculation Preparation
  5. Calculations
  6. The Template

Chapter 8 - Travel by Water

  1. Travel By Sea
  2. Some Terms
  3. Ship Rates
  4. Ship Types
  5. Privateer
  6. Ship Speeds
  7. Weapons
  8. Personnel
  9. Where to Start

Chapter 9 - Travel in Space

  1. Travel in Space
  2. The Realities of Space
  3. Propulsion
  4. Distance
  5. Ship Structure
  6. Where to Start

Chapter 10 - Creating Time and History

  1. Creating Time and History
  2. Sample Entries
  3. Creation Myths
  4. Time
  5. Uses for History
  6. Event Categories
  7. Where to Start

Chapter 11 - Creating Places of Interest

  1. Creating Places of Interest
  2. Ordinary Ones
  3. Extraordinary Places
  4. Phenomena
  5. Ruins
  6. Shipwrecks
  7. Event Sites
  8. Meteors
  9. Where to Start

Chapter 12 - Drawing Maps

  1. Drawing Maps
  2. Continental Maps
  3. Drawing the World
  4. Settlement Maps
  5. Dungeon/Ship Maps
  6. Map Generation Software

Appendices - Templates

  1. Sovereign Powers Template
  2. Settlement Template