Tag Archive - world-building

5 World-Building Tips to Write a Captivating Novel

Today’s guest post is by Dario Villirilli.

In storytelling, world building is the process of constructing an (often imaginary) world in which the story takes place. The art of creating new worlds is essential for  the sci-fi or fantasy writer, but it’s helpful for writers of other genres too, as it is part and parcel of crafting powerful settings.

Mastering world building, however, can be quite a challenge: for entirely fictional worlds, you’ll have to introduce lots of novel concepts and details without confusing, overwhelming, or boring the reader (whereas setting your story in our world can be slightly more straightforward).

So, if you want to learn more about it or simply improve your craftsmanship, here are five tips to create fascinating new worlds.

1.   Draw inspiration from real places.

It might seem daunting to imagine a brand-new environment, but it doesn’t have to be. Our own planet has plenty of unique and awe-inspiring places that might as well belong on another planet. Take the dramatic Zhangjiajie mountains in northeast China (which inspired Avatar’s Pandora), the Peruvian city of Huacachina, built in a desert oasis, or the Mars-like landscape of the Atacama desert in Chile—aren’t they “out of this world”?

So, put your Curious Researcher’s hat on, and start Googling places that could inspire your story. Spend some time learning about the flora, fauna, and customs of people living in those areas. Keep your favorite details, and build on top of them by adding layers of new technology and magic.

Having a reference point will help you detail your world faster and better bring your setting to life. You’ll be able to create something that stretches the reader’s imagination … but still feels real. Continue Reading…

Top 4 Challenges of Fantasy World-Building and How to Overcome Them

Today’s guest post is by Kahina Necaise.

Worldbuilding is often one of fantasy authors’ favorite parts of the writing process. It can even be the reason they choose to write fantasy in the first place, knowing the freedom they’ll have in a genre where anything is possible. After the honeymoon burst of inspiration, though, most also find that world-building is harder than it looks.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges in bringing new worlds to life in a story. We’ll also go over exercises that you can try out with your own world-in-progress right now.

Let’s get to it.

  1. Writing Specific and Concrete Details

A common criticism on book-review sites like Goodreads goes something like this: “Parts of the world sounded interesting, but I just couldn’t really picture it all.”

The problem in these cases is usually a lack of specific sensory detail. However clear the world might be in the writer’s mind, they haven’t put enough of it on the page using words that activate the imagination.

And no wonder. Most of us grew up with a writing education that prioritized academic abstraction over concrete imagination, leaving us with a relatively limited vocabulary for artfully conveying the sensory details that translate world-building into actual story. Continue Reading…

World-Building through Your Characters’ Eyes

Today’s guest post is by Holly West.

World-building is a writing term most often heard in discussions of fantasy and sci-fi novels—genres that require writers are create complex realms, often with rules different from our own. But in fact, all books need a certain amount of world-building, even if it’s just conveying the layout of a school, the interior of a restaurant, or the clues of a murder scene.

And it can be tricky to figure out how much world-building you need to include, especially in those oh-so-important opening pages.

There’s so much that needs to be accomplished there. Writers have to grab the reader’s attention, introduce the character, set the stage, and jump into the action . . . and they have to do all of these things very quickly. It’s a tough challenge.

But, it’s doable. Continue Reading…