Starter’s Guide To Writing: Worldbuilding

An article written by: Lee Sonogan

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“The worlds that we build in fiction, they’re soap bubbles. They can pop really easily….But that one little moment of reality, that one thing that seems to be absolutely true, gives credence, and gives credibility to all of the things that you don’t say.” – Neil Gaiman

Before I start this article, I would like to say this Starter’s Guide To Writing is inspired by a masterclass on this topic which will be reviewing in the near future. The first step in creating fiction can be developing the beginning of your world. In the concepts you want to create adds to any landscape of a story or any project in real life. Considering how objects interact with other things gives your concepts more depth as well as allows you to commit to the basics of your writing.

In my experience, any good idea takes time and revision. Constantly taking notes to make the tiniest amounts of changes or writing down sudden sources of relevant information. Research is a vital part in any kind of writing or preparation. Before committing to something putting layers of thought into something can create many ways to make what you write more impactful, honest and answer questions.

The deeper you go the more believable your world can become. Leaning on your personal experiences is one way to expand your world, but what about your characters? I have discussed this before and many of their elements. Your world should be having similar qualities to characters such as truth, conflict, dialogue, style, tones, point of view, details, visuals, and many more I could list right here.

“…we could think or feel as we wished toward the characters, or as the poet, discounting history, invited us to; we were the poet’s guest, his world was his own kingdom, reached, as one of the poems told us, through the ‘Ring of Words’…” – Janet Frame

Committing to your ideas for a world you at the same time create its nature or/and rules in its potential environments. The actions push where you can explore your world and you should not limit yourself. But if something does not make sense read everything before it and see if it connects if you read it out loud. But to be believable you need to keep everything grounded at the same time.

You also need to have sensory experiences in fiction. Not how you would describe a world but from the point of view from your characters and/or a narrator. One of the best tools with this is describing what is observed and a response. Depending on the first or third person it could be secluded, or you could be everywhere.

To list off more tips literally draw a map of your world and visualise it. Avoid any clichés and rip-offs you would expect in a fictional world. Ask questions such as where is the main character going? How much food is in the city? Why is it time to feel something? When expressing, what to express? Who has a personal space in the story?

In worldbuilding always know more than you tell and leave the room which can be talked about later on. There are so many ways the world you develop can always be changed after completing the first draft. There you will see and then know how truly big your fiction word has become. Like an iceberg, 90 percent of your world should be underwater with 10 percent above making it onto the pages.

“I think that the joy of world building in fiction is honestly the joy of getting to play God. Because as an author, you get to build the world.” – Neil Gaiman

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