Fantasy World Building – A New Approach

Fantasy World Building – A New Approach

As a writer, I’m pretty familiar with building a fantasy world. In the Tarya Series I began with the Italy of the Renaissance, then added my own spin to it in order to build a rich magical place where readers would believe artists could manipulate dreams to create magic. I’m starting on a new kind of world building now though. And I thought I’d take you along with me, if you’d like to come. This time, the world is not just inside my mind…

It all began with a Christmas gift….

I’ve made 2 miniature buildings before now. One was a bakery and the other a coffee shop. Both came with everything you needed to make them, so there wasn’t much room for creating my own fantasy world. I was itching to create something with more scope for me to bring my own vision. So when I found a gothic mansion on Make CNC I purchased the plan.

Since I’m not great with the complexities of IT I asked my husband to organise printing the blueprint, as my Christmas present. This turned out to be complicated because I wanted it to be half the size of the original specifications, so I’m glad an IT geek was handling it! I used a Melbourne company, Knights of Dice, to print everything in 3mm thick MDF. (KoD do all kinds of constructions for table top role playing.)

Even though it had been converted to 1:24 scale rather than 1:12, the box was still pretty big when it arrived. My husband wrapped it and placed it under the Christmas tree. And I promptly failed to notice this giant box was even there! My fantasy world had arrived and I hadn’t noticed.

Eventually I saw the giant box, and I convinced my family to let me unwrap it on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day because I was so excited. I fought my way through the bubble wrap… then the shrink wrap…. and there it was. There were a LOT of pieces.

The first thing I had to do was check all the pieces against the plan to make sure I had everything. I laid them all out on the kitchen table according to their documents and it turned out there were 2 tables’ worth of walls, roofs, embellishments etc.. Some of the pieces were obvious, but others had me bewildered (and still do – hopefully as I build I’ll work it out!) The plan was well colour coded, so once I knew nothing was missing, I used their colour system to separate the pieces into 5 separate groupings (see the image above on the right). Now I could really get started.

I decided to work with one floor at a time, building and doing things like walls and floors. So I put the base together, and started putting the walls of the first floor in place. And quickly found a problem. As soon as I put any pressure on the walls to push them into their slots, the base would cave in, making it hard to get everything to lock together. I figured this would only get worse as I added two more stories. Fortunately there was a LOT of foam padding in the box the pieces came in. So I added foam to the inside of the base to give it support, but sstill a level of flexibility.

As I was doing this I discovered there was a piece missing that should support the front stairs. I checked every box multiple times and could only find one of the two pieces. So I improvised, using offcuts to create two extra treads at that end of the stairs. I like the effect. And I figure, since this is going to be a fantastical house, those smaller steps might be for tinier visitors, such as fae or goblins.

The next piece of prep for my fantasy world was to add a coat of primer to all the pieces I’d be using for the first floor. I figured it would be easier to decorate walls while they were flat, so I established a numbering system so I knew which pieces went where. Then promptly spray-painted over all the numbers. Luckily I had written them down and after I’d done the undercoat I made sure to write the numbers on them again.

Next would be the fun part – working out flooring and wall decorations….

(Clearly this will be an ongoing series of posts. It may take a while to update, depending on when I get a chance to work on the house. There may even be writing posts in the meantime.)

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