The books of such science fiction writers as A. Clarke, A. Azimov, R. Bradbury, O. Huxley and other authors more than once made our imagination draw fanciful and intricate pictures of the cities of the future. Airways, post-apocalyptic urban landscapes, quaint buildings with illumination, flying houses and much, much more, a human’s fantasy depicts.
Many individuals can be tormented by the question, why create a fantastic city, if the planet is quite enough real places of residence. One of the reasons is self-development. Trying to describe your own city, you release not only your imagination but also your analytical abilities, because the creation of a beautiful fantasy city requires research in the field of biology, urban studies, sociology and other disciplines. Secondly, the writer focuses exclusively on personal preferences. People have to live and agree with the rules already established, whereas in a fantastic city you have the power to correct something that you do not like. In a fictional world, laws of physics or cause-effect relationships may not work, but none of the readers will be appalled. The complexity of describing a city in a story is hidden only in the process itself because you cannot be satisfied only with encyclopedic facts or photographs of already existing towns. Description of a fantasy city is a huge work of the brain and imagination.
Describing a futuristic city, the author invariably encounters the problem of harmonious combination of exact details and bright words. On the one hand, you can make a boring detailed description of the location of the city, its landscape, buildings, up to the number of troops. On the other hand, the writer could use colorful epithets, hyperbolas, and other artistic techniques, but completely forget about drawing up a general picture for the reader who, after reading the text, will remain confused. Therefore, we offer you some tips for the correct description of a fantastic city.
How to Create a Fictional City Name
Calling a magical fantasy city is an extremely difficult task. Of course, you can deploy a world map and choose the ready name of the country or region, but in this case, your fantastic city will lose its uniqueness. So, there are several ways to name a fantastic place.
Your city can bear the name of its founder or honorary citizens of the country, for example, politicians, sportsmen or soldiers. For a basis it is possible to take your own name, a little having modified endings or suffixes. The name of the city can also display its atmosphere. The village of the Boiling Cauldron does not foresee anything good, while the “Land of tillers” promises peace and hospitality. It is difficult to expect violence from the planet called “Pacific” and peace from the planet “Tyranny.” Although, in that case, the author could choose the opposite variant, calling the worst place on earth a kind and colorful name.
You can use words from foreign languages. The main thing is that they sound bizarre and do not contain obscene meaning. Therefore, it is not superfluous to use an interpreter. You may also take the general name and call the country any foreign word suitable for the category “power.” An example of such names is presented in the “Hunger Games”: the name of the country is Panem which means “a master”; the names of the cities are “Districts,” with numbers attached to them.
Another effective way to find the name of the city is to distort the already existing one. Usually used as a satirical piece. This includes various kinds of “Bruy Yorkie,” “Arcelona” or “Ogipty.” But the option is not easy because you need to dig a lot of information related to this real estate. The author can proceed from the specialization of the city. If there is a colony of vampires, we can call the country the fine Latin “Sangvis” (blood). If there is permanent autumn in your city, you can call it “Leafsom” by connecting the method of associations.
Remember that the name of a fantastic city should be as light and brief as possible so that readers will remember it. Do the next experiment: write down the name of the city on a piece of paper, hide it, and at the end of the day try to remember it for a couple of seconds. Put yourself in the reader’s place.
How to Make a Fictional City Map
To visualize your own fantastic city, draw a map. In the center of it, place your own creation, and then add the necessary elements. It could be villages, countries, seas or mountains. Do not be afraid to decorate the map with arrows, lines and other marks. Such components will bring clarity not only to the location of the city but also to its neighbors, which will help in drafting the military strategy. Where exactly to build a lookout tower? Where is the training camp located? Your fictional town may also be surrounded by magical places or sign catacombs, but do not forget about the internal needs of residents, such as water supply, heating, and sewerage. Of course, the options for the latter depend on the historical era in which you place the city.
Create the nature of your fantasy world. First of all, study the flora and fauna of the Earth, read about unusual mammals, and then through synthesis, invent animals and plants for your ecosystem. They could live in volcanic ash and eat solar energy or breathe carbon dioxide and glow at night. In such a case, ingenuity and courage are important. Do not worry about errors in the process of making a map, because everything is fixable.
Decide on the building materials, the shape of constructions and their color. For example, a futuristic fantasy castle could be built of rough stone, whereas a school is done of light brick or glass with a green tiled roof. Such a contrast is intended not only to emphasize the difference of the materials used, but also the nature of their activities. You do not need to have absolute knowledge about the design or nuances of architecture, just think about the details (statues, color) that will help to distinguish the buildings in a fantasy city. It all depends on your ideas about which material will become a priority in the future.
It is not superfluous to think about the allocation of functional parts of the city. It is necessary to have a center where representative authorities, the market or simply fashionable skyscrapers can be located. In contrast, you must provide for the presence of periphery with unpaved roads, orchards, and wooden houses. After all, the standard of living of residents of any, even a fantasy city, is different. Think about how your city is connected to the outside world. It could be separated by a high stone wall, barbed wire, or it may be located on an island, away from civilization. It could be surrounded by a forest, or it may coexist with a dying desert. Pay attention to the arrangement of streets. Are there fountains, trees, benches on them? What do children and adults do on the fantasy city streets? It is these details that contribute to giving a realistic character to a fictional place.
How to Describe a Fictional City: Useful Nuances
You should think about the transport system of the city. If you describe the era of the Middle Ages, do not forget about the absence of asphalt, crooked streets, horses and carriages. If you deal with the fantasy modern city, it is not superfluous to mention the metro, trains, cars, bridges of various shapes and sea vehicles. Perhaps in your city, there is a unique system of communication.
It is important to focus the reader’s attention on the atmosphere prevailing in the town. It could be wrapped in sadness or buried in fear. A fantastic city can shine with wealth and at the same time hide terrible secrets. Finally, your city may be in a state of war or internal conflict. In this case, the author is obliged to show the readiness of the inhabitants to fight, the belligerence of leaders and the presence of rigid discipline. The writer must notice all the sounds and smells of the city, using his/her characters for this. Mouse squeak, the anxious barking of dogs, cursing outside the windows, sirens of police cars, the smell of street food, weather changes, mess are all these details enliven the fantasy cityscape.
Think about the inhabitants of your fantastic city. Are they representatives of one race or a new generation unknown before? What is their age, language, religion, fashion? What catches the eye of an outsider coming to this fictional city? Perhaps, residents do not shy away from strangers or, on the contrary, seek to make friends with tourists and leave them in the town. Who is more in the city: women or men? Or, maybe, your city is filled only with children or fictional creatures, for example, elves, fairies, and dragons? If there is mysticism, be sure to reflect its influence on the lives of ordinary people. Focus on the everyday affairs of residents. Describe their usual weekdays and holidays. Perhaps they arrange public meetings to discuss domestic politics or prefer parties to high philosophical ideas.
A lot of writers lose sight of the regime of government (democracy, totalitarianism), the government and the presence of important persons, such as the king, the president or the chief priest. Remember that even a fantastic city cannot do without management; otherwise, it would be in chaos. Describing residents, you can mention the main criminals or the righteous of the city. In this way, you will let the reader understand where the truth lies. If your country is divided into social groups, as in the film “Divergent,” determine the criteria for their differences.
As a rule, each city specializes in some production. It could be craft, profession, goods or natural resources. What attracts your city to competitors and allies? What is its primacy? The reputation of the town is also important for drawing up a detailed map because you have to place potential workshops or factories.
When describing a fantastic city, try to avoid clichés, for example, hobbits against elves or a team of boys versus girls. The more unique your city, the more interesting the story will be. Of course, for inspiration, you may use websites or books with fantastic stories, but in no case do not copy the finished material. You can be accused of plagiarism and start a trial. Do not start with a description of the details. Of course, they are important, but only for revealing the main ideas. Do not spread a map of a fantastic city among strangers or people with limited horizons. In the first case, your ideas can simply be stolen and given away as your own; in the second one, you will be considered as an insane person.
Thus, description of a futuristic city, the author should consider everything: economic relations, basic laws, a myth of this piece of land and a ton of other information that is important for the development of not only the main but also the secondary line. Detailing the main ideas and putting them into expressive words will help to leave your fantastic city in the memory and hearts of readers.