Saturday, May 3, 2008
Characters and World Building
World building sets the stage for believable characters to live within the charmed borders of the fantasy world. Fantasy authors supply characters with a working knowledge of how the magic works. For example: Flora and fauna may transform into characters with unexplained capabilities such as casting a spell of forgetfulness, or cursing anyone pricked by a thorn with 100 years sleep, while inanimate objects like rocks can take on life to become an indestructible foe. Flower people, rock monsters and other entertaining characters come to life when the magic works, and fantasy characters with more human-like characteristics accept these other life forms as a genuine part of reality.
For instance in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf visits Frodo and passes on the history of the ring. Readers accept not only hobbits, the powers of the ring, and the rising of the Dark Power in the Land of Mordor, but when Frodo and his friends have barely left the Shire, their encounter with the Black Riders, although mysterious, is believable. A working knowledge of mythical magic unique to the world aids readers in understanding characters, supplies a knowledge of what’s at stake and a comprehension of what resources are available as characters enter epic battles of good versus evil with a full understanding of what to expect.
This coming week we'll take a closer look at how develop believable fantasy characters. If you have questions or a specific topic you'd like covered feel free to email me at dsundblad (at) theinkslinger (dot) net.