As with most things in writing, there are a lot of ways to build a world well, and a lot more ways to do it poorly. First, let me start with the fact that I am still working on my first novel series, and the world building early on became overwhelming. This is no one’s fault except mine as I rushed into a very large project that at the time I wasn’t quite ready to tackle yet. Many years of writing short fantasy / sci-fi stories, and personal blogging gave me the feeling I was ready to take on a novel of epic proportions. Ultimately, I’ve loved every minute of this writing journey I’ve ventured into as it’s helped me grow as a writer, and building worlds was a huge step into the creative for me. These few paragraphs are just some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned a long the way to make world building easier, and more enjoyable.
When looking at the world you want to build think of it along these two lines: first, you need to establish what you know about the world. Start looking at everything the world needs to have….Does the world have technology based on some time period we currently have or seen? Does this world fit into a specific time period that we already know? Maybe it’s set in the colonial age, or maybe some time period we’ve never even seen before. If you’re setting your world into a specific time period, you can answer a lot of questions for yourself as we have the history to study on it. The more different you make your world than any culture in earth’s history, the more challenging it is both for you as a writer and for your readers to imagine.
Secondly, you’re going to have to think about how the world works which is where the writing gets fun! This portion of the story creation is where you let the imagination run wild most of the times! This is where you get to ask the big questions: Does this world have magic in it? What are the economic systems in this world? What kind of ruler or rulers will you have in this world? See, the fantastic thing about writing fantasy is that you can make up almost anything you want – as long as it makes sense and can be explained to some degree. If your world feels too weird, it will be hard for your readers to buy into what you’ve created. So in some ways, the weirder you make things, the more you have to make sure that readers see that your characters experience these weird things as normal everyday living. Think of the most normal objections readers would have to the weird things in your world, and don’t be afraid to confront them head on within the story.
So looking back at our first line of thinking, you really need to make a big decision of how this world actually works and functions. Brain power is all this takes, along with gallons of coffee, and caffeine! Really though, this just takes some time and deep thought, but coffee just goes well with that process! It may take some serious study, as you look into how societies operated. Or it may just take time thinking. Whatever it is, you want to have the broad outlines of how people interact in your world figured out and settled. Secondly, you can look at layering other cultures into the story and process of how the world functions. Does the kingdom next door have no nobility? Or not believe in magic, or believe in whatever you want really. This can get very mind-boggling though but if you are willing then go for it. Basically, there’s a lot of hard work here, and none of it will show up on the page. At least, none of it will show up as extra words that you write.
Third, do things out of the box and differently. Don’t just copy some great authors ideas down and try to copy what they’ve created. They became great writers and created those worlds because they did just that, thought differently and outside of the box. This will make your world more interesting. Doing things differently from what you’ve always seen is a good habit to trait and continue to cultivate that as a writer.
Fourth, You’ve decided how your world works, you’ve decided your characters’ places within this world, and now you have to write, write, write. I tend to give very broad outlines of my world and the inner workings; then as the characters move through the world, I bring out those specifics. My plot within the story moves very fast and at times the world building takes a back seat, but all in all the creation of the world takes place and ultimately becomes immersive.
Fifth, the greatest thing about world building is it’s your imagination and it’s not limited to a keyboard, or whatever walls you dwell in while writing. Whatever you find fascinating and want to pursue for your book, go after it with vigor and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Whatever you find fascinating, can make your book stand out from every other book that has ever been written – as long as you make it fascinating to the readers. Most of the times this is an easy task as you know what you like, and what draws you to enjoyment while reading. If you find something your passionate about it is extremely easy to communicate that as it’s just that a PASSION! Just remember take care to communicate with the readers. If you can do that within the flow of the plot and overall book, they will more than likely enjoy and love what you’ve written.
Don’t let building a world of fantasy be something to constrain your imagination, instead let it be the freedom you enjoy while writing what you love!
#writing #writer #novel #fantasy #books #worldbuilding #fantasyworlds #howto #process #amwriting