Welcome to Part 21 of my World Building blog series :D I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know :)
If you’ve been following the series, then at this point you already have your weather and geography figured out for your world. You have the skeleton you need, now we get to dress it up with flora and fauna. Links to applicable related posts will be at the end of this post.
As far as flora goes, you’re mostly only going to have to figure out plants that are used for food, decoration, poisons and what occupies the scenery your characters move through. If you’re wanting to have some type of plant that couldn’t possibly survive in the climate you’ve developed, then you can always create a fantasy version of it. If you have too many fantasy versions of things (ie. everything) then you run into issues with describing them well enough so that readers understand what they are. I’ve seen this type of thing resolved in stories where one character is from our world and when they eat it they can describe it as being a cross between two foods from our world, but that doesn’t work so well if everyone is from the fantasy world.
You’ll have already figured out the food for your world and so most of your edible plants that you want to portray are already developed. The same goes if you’re incorporating herbal medicine. If you want to include poisons, then you can either make it up or do similar research as you did for herbal medicine.
Animals are used for many purposes, so you’ll want to figure out which ones are going to be relevant to your story. Which animals are used for food? Which are sacred (if any)? Which are dangerous or feared? Which are involved in your myths? Which are symbols, ie. for crests, religions, etc.? Which are used for transport? Which are kept as pets?
If you’re including magical creatures, as we’ve discussed in a previous post, what is their relationship with the characters? If any are kept as pets, can they communicate with people? Is their behavior different from regular animals? How common are they and how are they integrated into society? Do you have any animals relevant to the story that are endangered or so rarely seen that they’re basically a legend?
You’ll probably want to have animals that suit your climate, but since this is fantasy you can be flexible. You can make up entirely new animals and plants if that’s what floats your boat. You can do combinations of real world animals, magical creatures and new fantasy animals too. It really depends on how many animals you’re going to be mentioning and are relevant to the story.