World Building is one of the most important things an author needs in their took kit. Readers depend on it-even if they don’t know what it means.
Wikipedia tells us that:
“Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a wholefictional universe. The resulting world may be called a constructed world or aconworld. … Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history,geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work.”
But what does all that mean and why is it important?
When an author has an idea they have to develop that idea into a story. Sometimes its just a simple, “What if a human scientist found angel dust?”. Then from that, I build a whole new world from that.
What characters do I have? What are their jobs? What about their families, pasts, goals?
What supernaturals are out there? What are their rules? Do they live on this earth? Do the humans know about them? Does each creature have a society and government?
Each time an author creates a new rule and backstory, they need to keep with that backstory. They can’t break their own rules. That’s very, very important. The key is to find a way to be detailed and creative, but not bore your reader. In all honesty, you’ll probably have tons of extra information about your world that your readers will never know. But without that background cemented in your own brain, you can’t move on and grow within your world
Each time you create a character, you’re creating a new part of your world. You’re introducing a new being. That person has every facet a real person will. You need to make sure you know that and convey that. Each time you have your characters interact, you’re blending your creations and increasing your world building.
Every time you mention a street name, a direction, a weather change, a town function, or folk lore, you’re creating a key moment in your world that draws the reader in and makes your world that much richer.
If you just gloss over certain things, you’re depriving yourself and your reader a glimpse into your new world. The idea of worldbuilding is create something that is yours. Even in contemporary you build a world. Unless you’re writing a nonfiction piece, you’re going to take liberties and create a new world. Each time you have a job, a street, a town, or an attitude, you have a new world.
It all seems overwhelming, but start small. Decide what you want your basis to be, then find out where they can go. What is the history behind your world? Where is your world going? Slowly start to add layers and you’ll find yourself with a rich world that you can be proud of and your readers will love you all the more for it.
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