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?