People love stuff. Something I covered in my article about merchandising your work. Throughout history humans have adorned themselves with all sorts of crap, plenty of which was merely for show. To add depth to your fantasy world, you really can’t avoid it. Not to mention, that when your characters accessorise it gives you the opportunity to bring these items into the real world and merchandise your book.
There are a great many things to consider when designings jewellery and accessories for your world. All the things I covered in World Building: Clothing [Pt.1] and World Building: Clothing [Pt.2] need to be considered, along with a few other things:
Does it look good
How was it made
When designing jewellery in your world, the purpose is a little different to developing clothing. Often jewellery is a simple adornment, it does not need a purpose. It’s purpose is simply to be pretty, and make the wearer feel good. But, in a fantasy setting, there might be magic which means there are oodles of things you could use your jewellery for. Here’s a short list to consider.
Membership – the item could be the signet of an organisation
Magic – sky’s the limit here
Ornament – Just looks pretty
A key – It does not have to look like a key, mind you
Birth right – similar to membership, an item could entitle the person to their family’s wealth
Does it look good?
I can’t imagine writers thinking up hideously ugly pieces of jewellery for their characters, but, visual appeal is something to consider. Does it have a pronounced stone, complex metal work. If it full fills a task (like a hidden tool), how does it do it.
Making items appealing, both in your head and in your description is a great way to turn them into a real world product. In my own writing rune stone amulets occasionally appear. Sometimes they are meaningless trinkets, other times they are used to case spells or further the plot. On my etsy store, I made versions of them available to the public. They look nice, and they suit the rustic setting of my medieval world.
How was it made?
It’s important to consider the technological setbacks associated with the world you are building. I might be alone in this, but I often read about items and think but how did they make it?… I’m sure I can’t be the only one. That said, if it was crafted using magic, this is not so much of an issue.
That’s about it for clothing for now. I’ve had fun writing these, and I hope I’ve given you some good ideas to take to your next world building project. If you want to read more about ideas on merchandising your book, and add another string to your indie publishing cash-flow (if you’re lucky enough to have one); have a read through this.
Have you thought of a good idea of an item in your writing? What do you think about the idea of bringing objects out of the fantasy world and into the real one?
Thanks a lot for reading, next up on the chopping blog: World Building: Magic!