World Building

There’s a reason why I usually write fiction set in our world. I’m not very good at creating new worlds. Somehow I find the task of creating a new planet/city/location an extremely daunting task. I mean, it’s alright if it’s realistic fiction – you don’t have to establish anything. But when it comes to a make-believe world, you have to establish rules for everything. Even things that might not directly appear in your story need to be fleshed out. Like for example, we want monsters in a world. How did these monsters appear? Were they creatures from another planet? If yes, what brings them? Are they hostile/peaceful? How do the characters interact with them? What are their abilities? How do they look like? Do they drive the plot? Are they just sub characters? If the monsters were from the planet, how did they come about? Did they evolve naturally from other creatures? Have they just been there all along? Are they tamed? Do they speak? What do they do in the story?

There’s a lot of things to think about – and that was just one example. In a complete story you’d probably have way more elements than that. The name of the city. Its layout. The people living in it. The political/economical situation. The period. The characters. The food. The vehicles. They all need an explanation. If not written down, you should at least have some rough guidelines for them in your head. Because every time something monster-related needs to be written, those questions probably need to be answered.

When writing realistic fiction, you don’t have to do any of that. Maybe you explain your characters and the situation/place that they are in. There’s really not much else to do, you can just tell the story. People are already familiar with how human beings work. It’s not something that needs to be explained. Which is why I’ve been writing realistic fiction, or at least fiction set in established worlds. Also, it’s much easier to draw from real-life experiences if the setting is realistic. I can easily retell a story of my life in a character’s perspective without worrying if it would fit the world.

World building is something I need to work on. I have trouble coming up with fictional settings and names for those places (I faced those challenges doing my two Nanowrimos). I need to read more and pay attention to how people write their worlds. I could pick up a lot of tips.

Leave a Comment