Due to the nature of this genre, it requires a hefty dose of world building. How much to you build your world? Do you only build a facade that looks like it could exist? Or do you build a load of other things that'll never see the light of day in a published work, just so you [i]could[/i] use them if needed?
For me, world building is the most fun I have while writing. I've created the basis for three languages with many more to come. I've created a complete record of the rulers of Calnis. I've created a map of the country and place names derived from my languages. I've created fleets of ships, each with their own name and specifications. And I plan on doing a load more in the future. All of which will be available on my website for those who are interested. Not a good idea to force all the information in the books though.
'Allison's Defeat' out THIS SUNDAY
I write epic fantasy. I build just what I need to write the story, or, let the story write itself. I don't delve into language much as that can overly-complicate the work. For me, I don't always want to know the back-story of every detail. I want detail but not minutia. If the building blocks are logically laid out, you can always go back and fill in the details, if need be.
I am very OCD when it comes to... well just about everything. I have to know everything about my world, from the birth of civilisation to how it's going to end. In my head I have the politics worked out, the society, religion and general ethics, right down to how they weave their underwear.
When I was a nipper I used to include everything, but thankfully grew up and realised that most people don't give a flying hoot about the trade dispute that have affected the wood production blah blah blah snore...
Most of my knowledge now never makes it in the book but having it means that I know what is possible and also my characters know about it, so if they behave appropriately (some of the time).
(What is really sad is when I come across a book that delivers my childhood insistence on disclosure I am incredibly happy and if you've written a book with that much detail I would probably still enjoy it).
My world is built up epicly, with star charts, maps, family trees, governments, religions, societies, and mountains upon mountains of other useless info, that never made it into any of the 200+ short stories I have since written about said world! It's weird really. I put huge vast amounts of planning into the scenes and settings and characters of each story, and than go ahead a write it without using any of it.