There are millions of writers with a passion for writing fiction out there. It may seem like an easy process to write an immersive story and send it out to be published. It’s not. Fiction writers, especially ones considering genres such as fantasy and sci-fi need to excel in the art of world-building.
The world building is a process that deals with creating a new, immersive, and yet believable world for our readers. It’s an art that needs to be practiced over and over again by fiction writers worldwide. After all, the readers are always looking for something worth their while.
Whether you are an established author or a struggling writer about to begin a journey, here are a few essential tips that can help you in world-building.
1. Start with a Summary
Established authors with years of experience can agree that world building can be an arduous process. One needs to try and keep trying to create a perfect world for their characters to start their journey and navigate through the circumstances.
When it comes to good world-building, you cannot go with the flow. You need to create a plan beforehand. Start with writing a summary and add details you want to include in your fictional world. Consider these components while creating your summary.
Whether you are going to limit your story to a room or take the journey to another planet, it’s up to you. But, it is always a good idea to create boundaries and stay within them. This practice helps you in keeping track once you start writing.
Whether it’s going to be cold or dreary or sunny and soft, make sure to include the details of your setting and location in the summary. This way, you can see how you differentiate one place from another and ease your writing process.
Some writers choose to keep their stories around people, while others may include otherworldly creatures, and it depends on what the story is about. Therefore, make sure to mention who will inhabit your fictional world and their feelings toward each other.
Every world has its own rules, norms, and taboos and things do not need to be limited to your world. If you want to create a different world, make sure to mention the rights and wrongs to stay on track once you start jotting down your thoughts.
2. Work on Contrasting
Every writer can understand that they need to engage with their reader and keep them turning one page after another. And contrast and conflict always get the attention of the fiction reader. That is why experts around the world recommend creating a contrast in your story.
Even if you are writing a story about two aliens in space, a fiction writer knows that they must take inspiration from the real world to make their story believable. And when you look at the world you live in, the difference from one place to another can be so surprising.
Making your story believable does not mean it has to be uniform. Instead, when you are creating another world for your reader, see what contrasts you can create for them to easily differentiate or merge the contrasting factors.
You can start creating contrast and think about how your settings can affect the characters in making their choices or developing their fears. Once you lay out some conflicts inspired by reality, remember that things only get easier ahead.
3. Add Small Details
Now and then someone says that it’s the small things that matter. And as insignificant as things might seem, they can make a huge difference. It’s the little details that are going to indulge the reader deeper and deeper in your fictional world.
Fine detail is an important part of your setting. Yes, of course, the larger details such as the history of your fictional world and the social forces at work do matter but little details such as the sensory feeling of the setting and intense emotions of your characters matter more.
Small details connect and make up a bigger perspective that makes more and more sense for the reader. Once you start writing, make sure that you maintain a flow in your story. Little details such as speech patterns, taboos, slang, and customs can help your reader understand how things work in your world.
It’s never a good thing to steal ideas but you can read the acclaimed works of fiction in your genre to get inspiration. There is a lot you can learn when you read. After all, a huge part of becoming a writer is reading and getting inspired.
4. Describe the Status
Think of a person and associate them with an occupation. Simply knowing the occupation of a person can tell you so much about the person. That is why an important part of world-building is giving occupations or statues to the character to define their value in your world.
The next thing you want to decide is how much power and control you want to give your character. Once you decide that, you can associate the social stature with the character to create a baseline for your amazing story.
Of course, it’s up to you and your story idea to give a higher stature to your protagonist or antagonist. This decision can help you create conflict, define the turns and twists, and add interesting layers to your world.
5. Create Memorable Geography
Whether you use a single line or a paragraph, it is important to use some memorable geography in your story. But, remember that in most cases, the time you take to define a location or setting lets the reader decide its significance.
However, make sure that you do not spend a lot of your words describing something. It can bore the reader or may even irritate them and you may lose your credibility as a writer. Again, it is always a good idea to read some acclaimed authors from your preferred genres to get inspired.