Saturday, July 20, 2013

Worldbuilding for the Rest of Us.

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Some writers would be better classified as world-builders, for some infernal reason they seem to have the ability to conjure realistic, interesting worlds seemingly from their fingertips. Though generally these writers have a harder time with character or plot development, for the purposes of this article I'm going to be unfair and pretend they have it all together, because for the purposes of world building... they do.

For those of you who aren't acquainted with the concept of world building, it's not the difficult a concept. It's simply the process by which fantasy and sci-fi worlds are made. So this post is for all the fantasy and sci-fi authors out there who aren't quite good at world building but would like to be better. So I'm going to tell you how to world-build in three easy steps.

Step 1:  Go for the Essence

When people think about world-building (and most of them would probably be writers), they often think of a logical process where one tries to think realistically about what sort of things would be in your world. However this is not entirely true, world-building also can use emotions and an artistic sensibility. If logical progression doesn't help you world build, consider the basic essence of your world. It gives off a certain feel right? Try and think of places, peoples and races that match the feel of your world. If it doesn't feel like it belongs in your world you probably shouldn't add it and if it does you probably should.

Step 2: Make sure it works

Now I'm not saying abandon logic to the wind either.  If you're a more logical type personality, feels might not be the best way to world-build, and even if you are more of an intuitive world-builder, you should probably stop to consider whether the your world flows logically or not. How deeply you plumb the logic of your world vastly depends how big your world is.

Step 3: Make the world bigger then your book

The world we live in is a big place, and if you set a book in the real world you can't even begin to cover all the different histories, civilizations and dramas that have actually occurred, however in some books (and some of them are very good books) the world seems to exist solely for the purpose of the plot. Unless you are going for the feel of a children's fairy tale this is probably not a good idea since you diminish the feeling of realism to the world.

So that's my short rant on world building... there will probably be a lot more to come in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Also, I think that if you happen to be writing a book based in our own world, get familiar with history and science!
    History is where you get a chance to learn the patterns people fall into, and science is a chance to get to know how God chose to create his universe. Learn what events are unexplained and come up with your own fictional explanation for what happened (if it is history) or happens (if it is science).
    Get a feel for how the real world works before you construct a new one.