Geography And Geofiction

Creating a world isn't the easiest thing in the world. Often, people who become discouraged with geofiction in the beginning do so because it all just seems like so much stuff - creating terrain, an environment, cities, people, languages, history, etc. And while this is partly true - there is a lot of stuff to do, to put it simply - it does not have to be frustrating. Geofiction should be fun - otherwise, why do it?

The biggest initial stumbling block typically is creating the world itself, particularly the world's geography. What does it look like? What features will be in it? And how do I make it realistic? All of these are valid questions frequently asked by geofictioners.

In this guide, I will provide a few tips so that you can create the best geography for your geofiction project.

A (Very) Brief Geography Overview

Geography as a discipline actually refers to more than just terrain; it also refers to the interaction between the terrain and people who live there. But for this article, we will just keep it to the physical environment.

The key thing to remember is to have your environment be somewhat realistic. For example, having icy deserts of fire doesn't make a lot of sense (even if it sounds really cool). Similarly, having a massive mountain range covered by sweltering jungle isn't realistic, either.

In essence...

- Study up on various climates and regions (such as arctic, temperate, continental, plains, coastal, sub-tropical, tropical, desert, etc.)
- Learn how weather functions in these environments
- Learn how these climates affect humans and creatures

The last one is perhaps the biggest part.

Geography, Climate, and Your People

Any creatures - human or otherwise - that you create to live in your world should act consistent with the environment around them. For example, a race of people who wear loincloths probably will not live in the extreme, frozen wastes of the north (unless they are just really, really hairy). While geofiction does not have to be that realistic, it should be somewhat plausible.

Geography, after all, is the environment plus people. So, a civilization will grow and develop depending largely on where it is. This is something to keep in mind the next time you want to create a naval power in the middle of the desert, or a highly-developed industrial nation on a planet with no mineral deposits.

Using the earth as a rough template is always a good idea to start for beginners - and even for advanced geofictioners who want to go back to the drawing board for inspiration.

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