31 Days to Surviving NaNoWriMo - Worldbuilding: Political Geography

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

To start from the beginning of this series, go here.

So yesterday I talked about physical geography, and today we're going to talk about political geography.  So what's the difference?  Physical geography concerns the natural lay of the land, like mountains, oceans, etc., and political geography is man-made borders, like countries, states, and cities.

Think about your world.  Is there one giant Pangaea-esque continent, multiple continents with several countries like our own world, or something in between?

Personally, I haven't figured out my whole world's geography yet, but I've figured out my story's main settings (and really, that's all I need, right).  My novels are going to take place all on one continent broken down into several provinces/countries (I'm undecided) all ruled by one Empire (basically like Tamriel from the Elder Scrolls games).  

This particular novel takes place in the yet-to-be-named imperial province/country of said empire.  It took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to break it down, but I decided eventually to break it down into nine regions, called Dominions.  Each Dominion has a main city governed by a Count, a smaller town, and a few small settlements here and there; the exception is the Imperial Dominion (the peninsula on the map I showed you yesterday), which contains the capitol of the empire (ruled by the emperor, of course) and a smaller town.

Instead of working from the world down to the city, it could be advantageous to work from your main city/area out as well.  Know that your novel will mainly take place in a magic school (yes, I'm a huge HP nerd)?  Figure out where that school is and work outward.  

Once you have your basic guidelines down, start thinking about building up your cities.  What building materials are used?  How big is it?  What's the economy like, and what is the major trade in the area?  What is the government like?  Is it walled in, or open?  Are there richer areas and poorer areas?  How do they handle using the restroom?  The possibilities are endless!

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