Monday, June 20, 2011

Build your World

Don't forget my contest ends this Thursday. You still have time to enter.

Over the weekend, I watched Star Wars, Empires Strikes Back, and little bit of Return of the Jedi (Spike TV had a marathon). That's a lot of worlds and a lot of rules. It got me thinking about world building. I write a lot of science fiction and paranormal, in fact, I can't seem to focus on anything else. This requires a lot of world building. I hear you, "World building...what?" Yes, world building.

We, as humans, tend to associate everything to what we know. What is in our world and how is it relatable to what the author is trying to say? I have a couple of worlds that are, so, how do I get someone to read my story who is a human. I world build.

How do you start?

With many questions. Lots and lots of questions. Most of the answers may not ever be described in your MS.   Can you imagine the world building for Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? Your reader needs get the idea of what the world is like and read it like your world is "normal" or could happen.

I'll start you off.

1. What is the atmosphere in your world? Weather? Any unique animals? Can humans live there? Is there water? Trees? Basically, what is the land like?

2. What type of beings live there? Are they like humans? How do they think? Are they magical? Any types of rituals? What language do they speak? What are their rules? Do they have a type of goverment?

3. Is the world a planet somewhere in space, or just something on another plane? Can a human travel there? If so, how?

4. Me, who loves to also add romance, asks these quetions. Can a human fall in love with one of these beings? Are there any "problems" if they do?

Now, this is only a small part of what you should go into. These questions are only meant as a starting point. Get detailed, and elaborate on the questions above. Take those questions further. Keep going. Farther than you may think you need to go.

Like I said before, the answers may not make to the MS, but you must know them to make it sound believable, and this knowledge also adds depth.

World building is not just for science fiction and paranormal writers. Fantasy, yes, but any genre really. Even if you are staying in this world make sure everything still applies. It's all from your characters point of view, so do they know what is going on around them? How do they see it? Do they know the rules? Ask youself the questions to be sure and get detailed. The more you know, the more believeable your story will be.

Here are some links to check out on the subject.

YA Highway--World Building.

Creating a Fantasy World--Sara Douglass

All About Books: World Building and You by guest blogger Gloria Oliver

If you want to add any linkage, please add them in the comments or if you have any tips or questions of your own to add, feel free to share.

Have a great day!


  1. My first book was YA fantasy, and I spent 10 months creating the world (which included research the plants for the region).

    For my next book, I decided to write YA urban fantasy and didn't spend anytime on creating the world (other than what was in my head).

    Now I write YA contemp. Now world building isn't necessary. Or at least it's not necessary to the same extent as for the other genres. :D

  2. Such a good list! I created a world in my first WiP, and I couldn't believe the amount of time it took to make sure I knew all the details. So tempting to just make it Earth with a few quirks!

  3. Thanks for the links! I'm pretty big on #4 too, it actually inspired one of my WIPs. I'm finishing up some first drafts, and I'm very excited to start expanding the worlds during revisions and rewrites. :)

  4. World Building: my favorite part of starting a new book. Great advice on how to do it. It's amazing how a good writer instinctively knows the answers to your questions. We have to believe it before anyone else does, right?

  5. I struggled quite a bit with world-building in my current WIP. In fact, I almost abandoned the project because I couldn't make it work.

    Then I decided to go ahead and write the STORY and let the CHARACTERS develop. I started ignoring the SETTING except where it pertained to what was happening to my people. And as the draft developed, the world revealed itself to me.

    So, my world building will take place in revisions. I was unable to plan it out ahead of time; I needed to let it develop naturally. Now that I know the rules of this world, I will go back and weave it in thoroughly (and subtly) in my next draft.

  6. I'm getting better with the world building. It's still compelling characters that pull most people into a story.

  7. i tend to do a lot of worldbuilding as i go, though there's certainly some built with my original outline

  8. Wow, great questions to ask! And thanks for the links! I love world building and this will definitely help when I get stuck for something!