In mid-September, I attended Roundup, the annual conference of the League of Utah Writers. It was held in Park City, Utah, and it was awesome! This is the third year I've gone and I continue to love it! There are always such great classes and speakers. I learned a lot about several things,including world building. Please note, many of these ideas came from the speakers and other attendees, so I can’t take credit for all of them.Maxwell Alexander Drake is the biggest contributor.
As you build your fantasy world, you must keep three things in mind: 1) Your world is your most important character. It’s in EVERY scene of your story! 2) Ask yourself, what does this do for my story? If nothing, then it’s not necessary, and probably a burden to your reader. 3) Every story has its own world. Even if it's our world, it's still the world of your story. Historical fiction, while it may have taken place in our world, is its own place, time, and culture. The world of criminal investigations (such as crime drama) is its own world as well. It may be contemporary, but it has its own rules and patterns. YOU MUST DEVELOP IT!
1. DON’T BREAK YOUR OWN RULES: Your fans are always willing to suspend disbelief. In other words, they’ll always believe what you tell them about your fantasy world. But don’t ever break those rules. It ruins your credibility, pisses off your fans, and loses you your readership. Keep in mind that your readers probably love your characters WAY more than you do.
|Photo Credit: pinkcupcake.onsugar.com|
3. FLESH OUT YOUR GEOGRAPHY Don’t just describe the terrain and come up with cool maps.Put the geography into your story. Robert Jordan was a master at this. He visits every place on his map and makes it an integral part of the plot. By the end of the series, the fans could draw his WoT map from memory and even give you the major details from each place. He’s that good!
|Photo Credit: wbshop.com|
5. FIGURE OUT YOUR WORLD’S HISTORY. Even if you never use it in the book, understand the history that made your society what it is. Now, I’m kind of a sucker for history (see my other blog) so I’m a big advocate of using the history in the story somehow. Again, I've got to cite how well Robert Jordan does this. Then again, don’t just go into page-long paragraphs of narrative to tell the history. Integrate it bit by bit into the story. If you do this right, your readers won’t be able to pinpoint exactly when or how they learned the history,they’ll just know it.
|Whitecloads from WoT|
8. PERCEPTION OF TRUTH. The winner writes the history books, right? As the author, when something happens, you should know what the winners believe, what the losers believe, and what the truth is. Then you’re ready to write your narrative. Never give the reader the truth—only give them what the winners and/or losers believe. Let them figure out the rest.
9. REMEMBER why you are doing world-building to begin with: to make your world seem more believable. Don’t over burden your reader with it. Just make it part of the story.
Hope that’s helpful for some people! I know it definitelywas for me! If you want more of Maxwell Drake’s stuff, go to his website. He has in-depth presentations you can download for free! Maxwellalexanderdrake.com
Happy Monday! :D