Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How I Build My Worlds

When ideas for a novel start cluttering up the space I need for other things, like remembering to go to work and making sure I have shoes on when I go to the shops, that’s usually where I start thinking about world building.  Most of it I do while I'm writing or when I tackle the rewrites.  Sure, I have my characters in place and mostly fleshed out, but those characters have to tell their stories somewhere and this is where my world building comes it.

Creating my world
The type of world I create will depend on the kind of novel I write.  Take a second and think about the differences between an Urban Fantasy and an Epic Fantasy.  When placing them side by side, sure they fall in the same overall genre but they are two completely different sub-genres with each its own intricacies.  The kind of challenges my characters will encounter in an urban fantasy as opposed to an epic will never be the same and I have to take these things into account.  What works in one sub might not go down so well in the other and it’s up to me to figure it out and put everything where it’s supposed to be.

Setting the rules - Every action has a reaction!
You can’t throw a rock into the air and expect it to hang around for an indefinite amount of time.  It just doesn’t work that way.  You threw the rock into the air = action.  What happens to the rock now = reaction.  We live in a world of rules and it should go without saying that your world should have them.  It must have them.  Look, I’m all for creating a world that will completely blow my mind and make me say ‘Wow, that’s what I want to do one day’, I had that reaction to Howl’s Moving Castle, but keep it as realistic in its craziness as possible.

These are the only things I really wanted to mention.  I rarely put any of my world building down on paper, I carry everything in my head, and that works for me.  Messing/influencing with somebody’s method of world building isn’t something I really want to do.  The way you do your building is what works for you, and as long as you stick to what is right, you can’t go wrong.

I’ll be doing some major world building when I start with my NaNo novel. It feels as if with each new novel I start, I get a little more adventurous.  This novel will need lost of world building because it plays a big roll.  Can't wait to get to it.  I’ll stick to the things I mention above but I’ll also try and push the limits while keeping everything, actions, reaction and rules, in mind.  It offers such a challenge that I’m burning to get started with it.  With this novel, world building will take centre stage and I’m glad I blogged about this before I start.
Some links if you want to read somebody else's wise words on the matter: 


  1. Good luck with Nano. I usually write the first draft first before jumping into the rules of my world. It helps me with the flow of the piece and then I go back and research and fill in what I need. Sticky notes and pictures help. =)

  2. Thanks. I am a huge supporter of sticky notes! My MS is covered with them after I've done my first rewrites. Well, sticky notes and red scratches on every single page.

  3. Go for it! Nano is awesome stuff. I did it one year and completed the 50 K, and last year I only got to 30 K. I am a new follower of your blog.

  4. Hey Erin. I'm really anxious to get started. Congrats on the 50k and really well done on the 30k. That's a lot of words done.