One of the worlds I'm building is based on what I like, the culture and economy built around the fiber trade. Think Silk Road. Caravans, bolts and bolts of fabric, glass making into beads, wedding dress as dowry, the culture of dressing for funerals, courtship based on purses... I've got to stop!
I've just finished an exercise focusing on the emotional quality of place, and realized that the landscape of the world is based on places that I know and love, places that (I think) I'd love to live in.
It started with being fascinated by the ecology of the prairie and how it's getting chewed into farmland. Then I added the challenge of the desert wondering how people could make deserts the culture of abundance, marveling at the architecture and the ecology. Oh, and tents are fabric, too. Right? Mountains mean lakes and lodges and spas and valleys to find missing cultures in.
When I write characters into the landscape, I write myself into it also. Right now, I'm feeling the sun on a sea of grass, the smell of the grass in the heat, the buzzing of insects, the movement of the grass as the wind blows over it, the movement of clouds over the dome of sky. It's the equivalent of a mini vacation some days, or a deep meditation.
While I please my senses, my intellect gets a workout also. It goes on an adventure as exploring the ecology and making up new uses for it. There is the prairie of course, which in my world is respected, of course. I've got a Navy in charge of the aquifer, the underground water supply. They travel through the aquifer in small boats and manage the water supply. It's my world and I can do that if I want!
Fantasy worldbuilding can all about reality, about taking the familiar and using it to explore ideas, using it to be smarter, to be investigative. It can also be a way to give our hearts their say, a way of getting what we have always wanted in the way we have wanted it. So, does it matter if it gets torn down or burned up? Yes. And that's also part of deep feeling, being emotionally connected to the world. Writing about loss from a truthful place brings readers into the truth, also.
My world is torn apart by a massive earthquake and the destruction of major parts of the aquifer. Seven years have gone into building the world that I knew would fall apart in a few hours. After I write the final versions of all seven stories, I 'll be considering the state of my love affair, the kind of love my world will need in order to recover. I'm sure that the world rebuilt from the rubble will have places in it that open my heart even more.
What landscapes open your heart? Where would you love to live? What kind of environment? Architecture? Ecology? Castle or cottage? What is the worst thing that could happen to your world?