Of all the things very characteristic of speculative fiction, worldbuilding is probably my favourite. There is something enchanting in the act of bringing a whole different universe to life, mashing up together original concepts (if there is such a thing) with classic trends of humanity. Not to mention the effect one idea has on the rest of the setting. Connecting the dots through explanations, consequences and other Cool Ideas.
It's all fun, almost no work. To me, anyway.
There comes a point where I have all a bunch of important ideas laid out, though, and while my head has a difformed map in it, I can no longer go on without one. Geography is IMPORTANT. Yep, capital letters and all.
It is a simple truth that almost eluded me when I started worldbuilding for White Echoes. Because, well, in science fiction travel is a lot easier. Distances don't quite mean the same. Important, yes, these days when we think of going from A to B, we don't often consider the geography. A plane will take us over.
Except I have a world where there are no planes, only zeppelins, and these are restricted. Not to mention a whole bunch of factors that make travelling costly and all.
Even more importantly... this world has a past. Unless there is a good reason for which humans could always travel easy and cheap, there will have been a point in history in which things such as rivers and mountains mattered. Even today, ships are an important way to move cargo and a large port will be an important economic advantage.
All of this to say, think not only of the present, but also of the past. When you place important cities on a map, create frontiers between kingdoms or invent epic conflict between nations, never forget to consider not only what is today, but how it was in the past.
It's an obvious lesson, but one I just had to remind myself of. Thought I'd share.
(Also, there will be a mappish post in the close future. Because I happen to like maps, and I happen to like sharing things I like. Yep.)