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How many cities do your stories have?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Johnny Cosmo, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    I've just finished a new map, and have only planned a handful of cities. I"m considering adding more, and I'm curious as to how many cities your empire or kingdoms (or continents, countries, etc) have?
     
  2. Raven's Quill

    Raven's Quill Dreamer

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    I'm kind of cheating my setting my book in the real world ;) Generally speaking, though, I would think it would depend on how your story is laid out. Is it set only in one country? Then I would limit your map to that country, with important cities (capital, other places your characters may visit or refer to). Is it a political intrigue where they only stay in one place, but mention other countries? Then I might add the other countries, but point out fewer cities...You don't want to overwhelm you reader with places never mentioned, but you want it to be detailed enough to make it realistic.

    I hope this helps!!
     
  3. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    I'm hoping to plan more cities than I use because the story will get increasingly political. I have two continents, and although my first planned story arc takes place in only one, future arcs would include the second. So my main continent (or my first focal continent) is ruled as one Kingdom (perhaps around 500 years old, give or take a hundred years). The size of it is about... a third the size of Europe (ish).

    So how many cities do you think makes sense? I'm not opposed to including large towns that are ruled by the Lords of certain cities either, so it's not like all of the land in between each city is uninhabited.
     
  4. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Two planets; seven major locations. I kept the number low intentionally. Time travel is a major part of the story, so the difference between eras is more important than which city the characters are in, as far as scenery is concerned. The cities themselves have varying degrees of importance which remain relatively consistent over time. (Example: each world has its capital city where the sitting emperor/king resides, then there are the areas where the most common of the commoners live, "The Celestial Sea" is the bridge from one world to the other, etc.)
     
  5. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    To be truthful, I don't have every place mapped out for the readers, and I don't have every major town or city named and established. Really, I don't have a 'map' for the reader--well, technically there is since it's a post apocalyptic setting. This also lends iteself to the POV used.

    One thing isn't necessarily just adding cities because there isn't enough. There has to be terrain and resources available to support the cities and their populations. Just my two cents.
     
  6. Kevlar

    Kevlar Troubadour

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    My main country has a good amount of large towns, but only four universally accepted city. The largest is set in the area of highest agricultural yield. The rest of the country is a little on the barren side, suitable for little more than grass, and therefore lower in population.

    On the other hand I imagine some of the more fertile countries to have many more cities in smaller areas.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    In the world I'm working on I've tried to focus on one very small country, so there are only about ten significant population centers, with each having a specific role in the society. For instance the capitol has only a relatively small amount of deepwater coast and is mostly a military port, while the main population center is part of a huge deep water bay, making it a potential trading center. I have a page of notes for each of them.

    I've also sketched out a world map, but most other nations have only a few notes about their main city and a description of the people who come from those countries. There is one area, for instance, where a Sparta-like nation is key in holding back an enemy, so it's frequently evacuated and retaken, to the point where it's become part of their strategy. But my notes right now only include two locations, the one they withdraw to and the one they assault first after they've regrouped. That's all I need for one character to talk briefly about his home. If I ever wanted to visit the nation in depth, there would probably be half a dozen places their people can withdraw to, and detail of how each of their main locations is built to be fortified against the enemy when attacked from one direction and exposed to their own efforts to reclaim them from another direction - like a wall that stretches around the city but a coast that is wide open to an attack by ship.

    What I mean to say is, the world is pretty big and has a lot going on within it, and wherever you have two main cities you should probably have five. But they may or may not be a waste of time. Don't worry about filling the map, just make sure each location is worth the name you give it.
     
  8. JBryden88

    JBryden88 Troubadour

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    The setting of my story is in a country that is a marriage between barbarians and civilized types. (basically, a tribe of barbarians came down and kicked out a lordling from their old homelands, and the peasants stayed behind because they hated his guts.)

    I kinda gave them a highland/scottish/irishy theme. The main city is called Ardbaile, yet its not a city. No stone. Wooden pallisades, wooden buildings, there's a port but its just some docks, a tavern, and ships on the sea. No real cities as we know them.

    In other countries? how many is determined by the size of the kingdom.
     
  9. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

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    I need to plant some more cities to my map because I've worldbuilt for an army of 5-600,000 men and I need to show where they all came from. I have planned out about twenty-something provinces for the Divine Empire, but I don't know that much about the cities except in areas where the story proper takes place.
     
  10. Digital_Fey

    Digital_Fey Troubadour

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    How many cities? Erm...one?:p I don't really go in for world-building on a grand scale. Writing about a modern-day city riddled with faerie half-breeds, vampire mafia and unscrupulous magicians, whilst steering clear of cliches and "supernatural romance", is more than enough to keep me busy at the moment... Basically, it's a playground where I can mesh real-life city elements with pure invention, and explore different themes through focusing on the lives of the individuals who live within this environment.

    The only down side is that I don't get to draw pretty maps with mountains and forests T.T
     
  11. Ghost

    Ghost Inkling

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    Hundreds, but most of them are very vague at this point.

    That's different. The stories themselves are usually based in one city. A few stories have more than one city or town, but they take place one region. Having several cities on the map can make the map more realistic, but as a reader, I'd wonder when all these cities become relevant to the story. I'd have a basic story-based map for the book and the detailed one for people to peruse on my website.
     
  12. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    I have four cities so far, one razed by a passing army, one hilltop walled city of temples, one standard city with tradesmen, etc. and one small village. There are many more, but not that has any part in my story yet.
     
  13. Main cities/towns/villages
    About 50.
    Secondary ones three times that.
     
  14. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    My story - well, stories - takes place primarily in one country, which has sixteen Provinces, and each has a number of mapped locations. I really only add to the map when I write something that takes place there or mentions it. I've got a number of different storylines (eight in the works, and another 5 I'm plotting), and each takes place in a different location around the country.
     
  15. Terra Arkay

    Terra Arkay Minstrel

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    I've currently got 2 but as time passes, I hope to top that to 20. I really want my worlds to be this immersive place:D
     
  16. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    @TerraArkay: How big are your regions? And how many cities will there be per region?
     
  17. Terra Arkay

    Terra Arkay Minstrel

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    I'm yet to decide. So far, one of the cities is a mega city and the other is just your average city, the planet itself will be rather large, you could compare it to a world in Final Fantasy.
     
  18. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

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    I've only named a couple cities... and one country. Naming is the hardest part for me- characters, countries, cities, deities, etc. Hopefully, it will end up with a fully fleshed out world (a little bigger than our own) with dozens and dozens of cities. How many will actually be mentioned in stories, however...
     
  19. Raven's Quill

    Raven's Quill Dreamer

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    That's always the challenge, isn't it? It's the balance between making the world as realistic and, as has been said, immersive as possible without loading the reader with too much needless info. I know people who have full planets plotted and mapped out on paper and in their minds, but it's never mentioned in the book unless it's relevant. Pratchett (my favourite reference for doing fantasy right ;)) is great at that. We know there's a whole Discworld, but when the book is set in Lancre, or Ankh-Morpork, there's nowhere really outside of that city.
     
  20. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

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    One of my goals is to never make a place (country, city, wherever) the main setting of a book or a key point in a book unless it has been mentioned earlier in the series (with the obvious exception of the first book). A while ago I read The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan (not bad, but it is very YA so most people here probably wouldn't like it. I was [even] younger when I read it). It infuriated me that in almost every book we would be taken to another country we had never heard of. It started out interesting: oh, there's a viking like race to the north in a country called Skandia? Cool. Then it got annoying. Where the hell did the Temujai or whatever they're called come from? Certainly not anywhere before the third book. So, to sum this paragraph up, don't make up places right before you release your new book and throw them in as the main location. It pisses me off, and yes, I should be your main concern ;)
     
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