Oh, World Building…

So, in my last post, I delved into the very superficial layers of the fictional ecosystem. One of the aspects that I mentioned was setting. Yeah…setting.

For the purpose of this post, I’m talking about setting on a very broad scale. I’m not talking about the coffee shop your characters go to every Saturday. No, no.  I’m talking about the world your characters live in.

Creating a world is a HUGE undertaking. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your fictional world. This is an aspect of your book that is going to take some thought and probably won’t be fully formed until you’re relatively far in the revision process.

Since world building is such an in-depth process, I could go on and on about it. But, let’s be real, I’m pretty sure no one would want to read a post that long. I know I wouldn’t. So, although I’m not going to go too in-depth here,  I can give you some helpful tips to get you started.

Keep in mind, if you want more I’m totally up for dedicating a series of blogs to this topic. Let me know if something like that would interest you. Also, please excuse me if I get a little wordy, this is a topic that had word vomit spewing out of my mouth (ok…not a nice picture) at an alarming rate.

(FYI this post is geared towards fantasy writing, but if tweaked, the info can be applied to other genres)

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Research

Yes, research. Oh God, please research. You might be thinking to yourself, why in the world do I need to research anything if I’m creating a fantasy world? The answer is actually incredibly simple. Because by researching the history of our world, you will be making your world believable. History is a goldmine of information and you do not want to ignore it. Learning how our world operates will be incredibly helpful when creating a world of your own. In case you weren’t aware, our world is complicated––from diplomatic practices to religious beliefs, from holidays to trade routes, from waste management to social hierarchy––COMPLICATED. Thinking about these things within our world will add a level of realness to the story you are weaving. And that’s what we want as writers, to create a story that our readers can get lost in and maybe even more so, believe in.

Details

This goes hand-in-hand with research, but it still deserves its own point because it’s that important. I’m sure you’ve heard about the iceberg metaphor, but just in case you haven’t, it’s basically the notion that your readers only need to know the tip of the iceberg, but you as the writer need to know everything: the top, the middle, the bottom––everything that’s happening under the water and above it. Clear? Cool. So, what does this really mean? It means that even though your reader does not need to know how a certain village in the middle of the desert gets water, you do need to know. Why? It goes back to the idea of “realness” within your story. Let me give you an example. In Sarah J. Maas’s book The Assassin’s Blade (which by the way, fair warning, if you have not read it, prepare to be gutted. I’m talking ugly, hysterical crying. But anyway, I digress…) she mentions a practice done in the city. Basically, it is mentioned offhand that there is a scheduled flooding every month or so to direct the waste in the streets into the sewers. As a reader––while not altogether pleasant to hear about people’s waste––this small tidbit into the world created a much more believable atmosphere.

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I hope these two tips were able to give you some answers as to how to go about creating a world. As I said above, please let me know if you would like even more advice on this topic because I sure as hell have plenty to say about it.

If you want more information right this second, I happened to stumble upon a writing blog that has a very in-depth guide to world building. I’m not exaggerating when I say you’re going to want some spare time to read through it. But, it’s incredibly well thought out and could be super helpful if you had a mind to check it out.

 

 

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One thought on “Oh, World Building…

  1. First of all – this is great. When I am writing in a new world, I forget a lot of the time that the little details are what can make or break it. If we don’t understand every aspect of how our world operates, how can we expect our readers to believe it? It would be interesting to know more about the amount of details and information our readers need and when. Great post! Can’t wait for more!

    Like

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