Building A Fictional World

Building A Fictional World

Whatever kind of creative writing, but especially true when you are writing prose, you need to spend some time thinking about the world you are creating. Now if you are setting the story in the place that you live in the modern age then there is very little worldbuilding you need to do. However, if you are going for something a little bit more exotic then you need to think about it a bit harder. If you aren’t sure what you should be thinking about then don’t worry we are here to help you.

Where to Start

We are going to start today with Annalee Newitz advice from her article The Rules of Quick and Dirty Worldbuilding over at io9. She has five in total and they are:

  1. Do a little research
  2. Have a few rules
  3. Don’t obsess over consistency
  4. Consider what’s good and what’s bad about your world
  5. Create characters who are plausibly the products of your world

The best thing about The Rules of Quick and Dirty Worldbuilding is that Annalee has between one and two paragraphs worth of detail to back up each point so head over to io9 and read her full article.

A Few Other Things to Consider

Lucy Saxon adds to Annalee Newitz rules with the following suggestions:

  • Approximate size
  • Type of people (race, age, gender, looks, etc)
  • Landscape
  • Clothing styles
  • Main form of business/produce
  • Political structure
  • Weather
  • Relation to ‘central’ location (location in which most of the story takes place)

These suggestions are taken from Lucy’s article Worldbuilding with Lucy Saxon on the Writers & Artists website and only make up a small part of the article as a whole. Head over to Writers & Artists to read the full thing.

What Not To Do

We are finishing today’s article by looking at what not to do or as Annalee Newitz‘s colleague over at io9 Charlie Jane Anders calls it the 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding. The sins are:

  1. Not thinking about basic infrastructure
  2. Not explaining why events are happening now
  3. Creating fictional versions of real-life human ethnic groups, that never go beyond one dimension
  4. Creating monolithic social, political, cultural and religious groups
  5. Inventing a history that is totally logical
  6. Not really giving a strong sense of place, like what it smells like after it’s been raining
  7. Introducing some superpower, like magic or insane tech, without fully accounting for how it would chance society

In the comments to the article Charlie Jane Anders admits she missed the additional ‘sin’

  • Having an entire planet with only one ecosystem

Of course this would have meant she have had eight deadly sins which just doesn’t sound as good. This doesn’t take away the detail that Charlie Jane Anders goes into for each of her original 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding.

What do you consider when you are building your fictional worlds?

#WritingTips from @WLWriters for Building A Fictional World (Tweet this advice)

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