Simple Secrets to Write Your Own Middle Earth

Have you ever thought about creating your own middle-earth? There are thousands of books out there where the authors are sharing their works with their readers, but only a few have hit the cinema, such as Lord of the rings, Harry Potter and Game of thrones. But even so, I still have very deep respect for these writers because to create your own world from scratch, you need a lot of imaginations. And I mean, a lot.

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How do you start?

I have spent the last three years building the world of Narsilonia. The process had started since I was fifteen but it was not until I had self-published my first book three years ago (Gordana and the seven saviours) that I had begun to take the development more seriously. I never thought about whether it would be a bestseller. It was never about that. It was about bringing those characters that I love so much into life and writing about them has given me so much joy, even after all these years.

Sure, they have all gone through a lot of changes. Not one was left behind. Let me share with you an example: one of the protagonists of the story, David was named David Facinelli before, and he had just completed his school before he found himself in an adventure to save the world. I thought it was too cliche’ and the dialogue as well as the way the characters interact with the world were too one-dimensional.

The stories behind the scenes.

So, I decided major changes needed to take place. I stopped distributing the first book and focus on developing the backstory instead. This move proved to be a good one as having a strong backstory is essential to create deeper personalities for each character in the story.

Now, here are a couple of burning questions that I’ve been meaning to address as I’m writing their stories:

  • Who am I writing these stories for?
  • And, the message I’d like to impart to my readers

The two questions are important because by having a clearer direction, the writing process becomes much easier.

To the first question, I’ve decided that these stories should be written for my children. Living in the world where we live in today, with all the wealth of knowledge at our disposals, which unfortunately includes a lot of distorted view of the world, I figured I needed to pass on some much needed moral values that my children could learn about. Such things as,

  • What to do when you are presented with a choice that lays in the grey area? Not white nor black. What would you do then?
  • Life is not about a direct confrontation between good vs evil. It is the mixed of the two, and how do one decide whether their actions are right? Some people who are seen as evil, but the same people can also be good at the same time. How do we teach our children to differentiate and see the differences clearly?

Now, if you’ve ever thought about writing your own fantasy, here are some of the tips that I’ve learned for the past three years:

  1. Start with a character
  2. Develop simple stories around that character
  3. Add more characters around that character
  4. Repeat step two and three for the other characters

And I used to struggled with my characters’ voices and looks. That is one of the reasons why I was stuck with my characters for so long, being too one-dimensional.

I have a suggestion for you. Here’s how:

  • Pick a Hollywood actor/actress to play your character. Think of it as though you are producing your own movie and you have to do the casting. For example, I’ve picked Liam Neeson to play one of my characters. Liam Neeson has one of the best voices out there and it’s something I can work around pretty easily for the character I’ve casted him with. And it will also be much easier for you to describe how the hair looks like, and the eyes, and so on so forth (as you see fit).

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Not everyone is English in the fantasy world

Once you’re done with your characters, start expanding the places they live in. I started out with Belisha, an old village that exist since five thousand years ago. I have described the events that had taken place before and after the existence of the village in a clear timeline. You can view that timeline here.

Alright, now that you’ve already established the first location of your story, it’s time for expansion. If you see the map below, three years ago, it was only Belisha. Since then, I began to focus on the west of Belisha that include Valea, Aden and Ebor. Over time, I continued to expand north, south and east too.

But in order for me to create something much more surreal, there needs to be religious system and distinct difference between the people’s culture and customs (basically their ways of living).

In order to do that, I started to take some time studying how the people in Indochina, mainland china, India, Pakistan, eastern europe, the middle east and russia live. These are all the countries that live on one big piece of land that has no ocean in between. Even without the blue sea that separates them, they still live their lives differently.

Well, I think that’s it for this time. I’ll continue to share more tips. I hope you’ve picked up a few good helpful tips if ever you decide to create your own world.

Besides, one of the best aspects of fiction writing is you can create almost anything you like through your own imagination. If you can imagine it, you can write it.

Originally published at on October 21, 2015.

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