A very good writer-friend of mine said that he doesn’t like spending too much time in any one of his worlds for fear that they will become stale. I disagree with this sentiment. The more time you spend with a particular world, the more it develops, the more it becomes real. This has been especially true with my World. In particular, it has been especially true for a segment of my world: the Ibvailyn Empire.
The Empire started as a collection of territories that were collectively called The Unified Regions of the Far North, and they were not the Empire, but under Imperial rule that originated further south. As I changed the plot of my story and changed the names of places, I had to change the setting as well. It no longer made sense for the URFN to be struggling against an empire, especially since their own culture was the predominate one! And so I changed the name, though the landscape remained the same.
Of course, the landscape would have to change too. I didn’t need the Desert anymore (the yellow circle on the map above) because it no longer had a purpose. Besides, this nation is so far north that they need all the farm land they can get – the Desert would hinder their self-sufficiency. And what about the rest of the continent, to the east and south? I hadn’t even given it much thought before new story ideas began coming to me, and I knew how the rest of that world needed to be shaped. So entered Salvyn and Koreiy, the two other nations on the continent of Ilvern, both under Ibvailyn rule.
This is one of the most recent formulations of what the continent looks like.
As I mentioned in my World Origins post, there were eight continents in a circle when I first began developing the World. The area in which those continents resided was called the Taruin (since changed to Ilvern).
But I had to ask myself, what was the point of having so many little nations when this is the backwater of the World, when most of my stories either take place in the Ibvailyn Empire itself, or across the whole World? And so I cut nations. It is something that has to be done. To develop a world, you have to be willing to make sacrifices and changes.
Change Ilvern I did. The Far Continent (the one on the left-hand side of the map) was one of the biggest changes throughout my process. I started with three nations on the one continent, took it down to two, and have since returned it to three. Those nations are Milbern, Lador, and Arad (though on this map it is still called Kadarlay). One of the additions was the three islands in the bottom right corner, called Safe Waters. Those islands are a haven for a group of people that have been persecuted for their type of magic. The island off the coast of Ilvern is still called Djacau, though I have renamed it Djare since drawing this map.
There are other changes to the rest of the World that I’ve made as I work more.
As I’ve worked, I’ve made additions and cuts quite freely. Creating a world is about experimentation until you get what you really want. That’s what I’ve done over the past few years. I’ve drawn countless maps of the World and parts of it, some in color some in pen and pencil only. It’s a process, and it isn’t always an easy one. And that is why I disagree with what my friend said. My World hasn’t become stale. Every change enriches the whole place. If I didn’t spend as much time as I have in this particular world, I would have given up on the stories that take place there a long time ago, simply because they didn’t quite fit. But taking the time to develop a world means changing it over and over until you are satisfied, until it works.
Take care, fellow travelers.