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Worldbuilding: Victorian Life

Posted by on July 25, 2018

Happy Wednesday fellow adventurers!

The days are flying past me as life barrels toward an inevitable train-wreck. I’m doing my best to prepare for the collision, but we never can, can we? 19 days people!! I’ll be back at work, returning to my 5am wake-up call, and doing my best to juggle what I cannot.

But in the meantime…

Curse Bound is out for edits and in the hands of beta readers, and I’m over here trying not to think about it too much. Ha!

So, I’m working on a new project!! Well, the idea has been stewing since 2009. I’ve been writing and researching and world-building. And thought, why not share snippets of the process along the way?


I love building worlds and drawing maps. You might think–writing fantasy, I could make it all up. And I could. But the cultures and characters and cities and landscapes need to reflect the appropriate advancement in technology and science for what is demonstrated by the story and the world in which it is set. Research can be awesome and exciting, but if I’m not careful, I can get bogged down in all the details. Starting out, the avalanche of unanswered questions drown me, so I need to pace myself. Ha!

This newest story I’m working on is different than I’ve ever written before. Instead of the 1500-1600’s time frame I’ve dabbled in for the past fifteen years or so (AND all the rest of my story ideas), this one will be heavily influenced by the mid-to-late 1800’s. Everything is so different! And fun!

Right now, I’m reading How to Be an Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman. So, so good! The book details the life from the time a person wakes up and goes to sleep and how each aspect has evolved throughout the 1800’s. It’s amazing! It’s also interesting to see how certain thoughts and practices cycle over the years.

The information I’m gathering is only the basis of where I will start the world-building. Most of it will not make it into the book, but it will definitely influence the creation of the world, which influences the characters and their story. And there will be magical elements. It is fantasy after all!

rough sketch of city-in-progress.

One thing that’s been a bit of bugger is the maps. Most of the story will center within a city, quite a change from the sweeping, epic landscape of Nälu. That said, I am not neglecting the world this city is located in, because we will eventually visit different places later on in the series. Yes. It is a series. Not a trilogy. 😀

I’ve been sketching and erasing and sketching some more, turning to Google Earth for inspiration, and figuring out what types of shops, their names, and where they’ll be located. It’s coming together nicely. Although, the sketch of the city I’m sharing with you today will most likely change before I’m done with this story.

Anywho, that’s what I’ve been up to, aside from some serious spring cleaning and purging and having fun with the kiddos…all before the 14th of August. 😮

How are you spending the rest of your summer?


4 Responses to Worldbuilding: Victorian Life

  1. Laura A. Grace

    That is super exciting! I thought it really fascinating when you shared the picture about the young woman on FB. Good thing we don’t have that POV now because I think I would be in trouble otherwise. Haha! Also, WOW! Your nap looks amazing!!! I’m so glad you’re having fun worldbuilding. 🙂

    • J.L. Mbewe

      I agree! It makes me wonder what people 100 years from now will think about us and our perception of things. Thanks! I LOVE drawing maps. Ha! Hope everything is going great for you! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Lynn Donovan

    Thanks for the Victorian book reference. I just bought one. I’m writing in mid to late 1800 romances. And I’m sure it’ll help with authentic plots.

    • J.L. Mbewe

      You’re welcome! It would be super helpful. The author even goes into details about what the the clothes feel like and such. She has spent time wearing corsets and living as Victorian as she could. Great insight for world=building and character building. Happy writing! And thanks for stopping by!

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J.L Mbewe - Author