Worldbuilding might be a term that brings to mind writers constructing complicated fantasy worlds, but it’s something I’ve been working on for my upcoming romantic thriller series WAR. Although this new series is set in an alternate version of West Africa, I wanted to make certain that I fully understood the political and economic histories of the countries I was altering. So I recently spent a lot of time over at the CIA’s World Factbook website reading up on the countries involved.
Facts in hand, I used the creative mapping software Scapple to build a summary of each country the way it is now, like so:
Then I thought about how I wanted the alternate reality to be shaped and how the rebellion that plays a key part in this series would have started and spread. This led to the creation of a new map:
Then I drew by hand a new geographical map of the region, showing the alternate country names and new borders.
The end result? I went back and fixed some inconsistencies in the manuscript of WAR: Disruption. Hopefully, between this research and my own memories of living in West Africa, I’ve created an alternate world that is believable and that will support the story without getting in the way.