World Building: People

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What is a world without people?

Well, I mean, it’s probably a world with a lot more green in it and generally healthy ecosystem, but people aren’t reading your book for the trees are they? Unless your book is The Lorax, but as that’s already been written, we can assume that isn’t your book.

Odds are, people are reading your book for the characters; the people.

Now, this series is about world building, not character creation, so I’m not going to be talking specifically about how to create characters, but rather the different people that could inhabit your world (not including your main cast).

So, first things fist, are there are any important figures in your world? By this I mean, government or royalty figures.

Is your world governed by a monarchy? Is there a king or a queen? A prime minister? A president?

If you do have any of these characters, how big a role do they play in your story?

Are they central to the plot? Is your world in a dystopian state because of the government? Or are they a background character? One who isn’t even seen, but you know is there?

Remember, all aspects of world building are important, but not all of things you create for your world have to make it into the story.

If your story takes place on a lake, there might be fishermen; or diving instructors; lifeguards; a guy who rents scuba gear. If your story takes place in a castle, you don’t just have a king or queen. You have maids, servants, cooks, knights, squires, and so much more.

A lot of this might seem totally insignificant. Obviously there are servants in a royal castle, why do I need to acknowledge that?

Honestly, you don’t. However, I find it really helps me in developing my story to have an idea of the community within the story.

You never know when your main characters might suddenly interact with that random fisherman who you forgot about. You might be writing the story, but your characters control it.

What would Harry Potter have been without the teachers? Lord of the Rings without the villagers (and 10,000 other extra characters)? Chronicles of Narnia without the Narnians?

Your background characters give your main characters something to fight for.

I’ve said it a million times and I’m gonna say it again, all aspects of worldbuilding are connected. You might create most of your world and then suddenly get an idea for a character or an aspect of the world and then need to change some other things.

If you’re unsure of anything when creating your world, Google it! Honestly, I Google a lot of things when I’m writing. Like seriously, I’ve got some weird search histories and, talking to other writers, I know I’m not the only one.

What characters would you include in your world? Did any of your background characters suddenly become a bigger part of the story?

I’ll be continuing this series in a couple weeks with a post all about technology for your world!

Is there anything specific you want to talk about?

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World Building: History

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Developing the history for the world you’re creating is probably the aspect I have the hardest time with. But it’s also very important. The history of your world sets the foundation for events happening currently in your story.

While you do not need to have every tiny detail of your history hashed out, you should have a general idea of what took place in your world before your story starts.

For instance, if you choose a dystopian world, you should have an idea of what took place for the world to reach that point. If your world is magical, were there any significant events that took place that were caused by magic? Is magic accepted or feared? Harry Potter and Merlin both have magical settings, but very different reactions and understandings of that magic.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when building your world’s history:

  • What type of world do you have?
  • How did it reach that point?
  • Were there any major events that took place prior to your story?
  • Are there any historical figures who could impact the story or characters?
  • How has your world developed since the beginning?
  • How long ago was your world created? Five years? A hundred years? Five thousand years?
    • This is important for how developed your world and other aspects (technology, architecture, etc.) will be
  • If you world did have significant events prior to your story, how long did they last?

These questions are important to address no matter what type of world you are creating, though they are especially important in a fantasy world.

Your fantasy world is entirely your own and your readers have no knowledge or information about it. It is entirely up to you to show and explain what has happened prior to the story so they will have a reason to care about what is happening in your story’s present.

Now, like I said, it’s important to develop the history for your world, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once.

Significant figures will also be developed through the creation of people for your world. The layout and geography may be affected by certain historical events. Technology you have may depend on how long your world has existed. All elements of worldbuilding are intertwined.

This was a short one, but like I said, creating the history for worldbuilding is an aspect that even still confuses me a bit so I didn’t want to include too much here. Worldbuilding is a pace you have to set for yourself so we’re really just covering the basics here.

Usually I’d only post one of these worldbuilding posts once a month, but since I’m just soooo good at keeping on top of my own schedule (can you hear the sarcasm?), there will actually be another of these posts up tomorrow!

I’ll be talking about people and the different types of people and figures you might want to consider for your world.

Let me know what you thought! Are there are questions you ask yourself when developing history for your world?

Is there are certain aspect of worldbuilding you struggle with?

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World Building: Deciding the Type of World

There are tons of blog posts out there that talk about world building. There are entire books that discuss the different aspects put into creating your own fictional world and all the intricacies of it.
So naturally, because it’s been done so many time before, I decided to add to the madness and give you my thoughts on world building in this new series of posts.

World Building is still a process I’m figuring out for myself so I thought through these posts I could share with you what I’ve learning about the different elements of creating your own fictional universe.

The first and most basic step is deciding on what type of world you’re going to have.

Is it a dystopian world? Utopian? Conformist or evolutionary? Medieval or fantasy?

This is the most basic thing you need to determine because the type of world you’re creating will literally affect every single thing you write and decide for your story.

If you’ve got a dystopian society, the world you create isn’t going to be bright and colourful. It won’t be full of rainbows and people won’t be skipping down the streets. It’ll be dark and gritty and you’ll use a thesaurus to find every variation of the words “dark” and “gritty” to describe the setting.

On the flip side, if the world you create is a utopia then there probably will be rainbows and skipping involved. Your characters will probably be happy with their lives and things will seem good.

Now obviously neither of those descriptions are set in stone and there is always the possibility of a light at the end of the dystopian tunnel or of a dark underworld side in your utopia. But you get the general idea.

Choosing the type of world is just the first step in world building. It’s the first layer of a very elaborate cake. It’s the base for many different things that will happen in your story and happen to your characters.

The world you build does not have to fit exactly in to description box of the world you choose. But you can’t choose to have a totally normal story and then, five pages before the end, a dragon suddenly appears and eats everyone.

I mean, sure, that would be really cool, but it’s not really plausible when the rest of your story was set in a normal, average, every day town where, previous to those last five pages, there were no dragons.

And if you do choose to do that, you better have a really cool sequel lined up and ready to go.

Now, as I said before, this is only the first step. There are so many other aspects to world building that turn it from an idea into an actual thing. The people, the history, all the stuff that doesn’t necessarily make it into your book, but is still so important to your story.

In the coming months I will be talking about world building and the various things that go into it.

If there is anything you would like talked about or anything you would like to add let me know down below!

And let me know: is there a type of world you prefer writing over others? Do you prefer a fantasy universe? A dystopian world? The possibilities are endless and I want to know what you think!

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