Welcome back to my 12-week project in which I attempt to prepare for writing my own novel in Camp NaNoWriMo this April. You can check out the last posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This week’s post is about world building and it is written by one of my favourite blogger friends Savannah, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Hello everybody! My name is Savannah and I’m a blogger over at The Book Prophet. Today, I’m here to talk to you about World Building and the easiest (and best) ways you can create the world in your novel.
As you might know, World Building is crucial to any book, especially fantasy and sci-fi. When you’re creating an entirely different world instead of putting your own spin on the present world, it can become overwhelming and difficult. I am a fantasy lover myself, so my ultimate love as a writer is fantasy. Though, it can be 2x more difficult to develop an entire world, there are no limits to what you can create. The most important thing you should remember is to let your imagination go wild and free.
I will talk about the most crucial things that most people don’t think about when first developing their world. The things you overlook may be something that a reader is looking for. Let’s delve right into it.
Think about the basics. Whenever you’re developing a new world, you have to think about the basic infrastructure of your world. This applies to all kinds of novels from fantasy to contemporary. You need to know the most basic things, such as food, shelter, and clothing. First you need to ask yourself questions that readers may ask when starting a novel. Who has power in this world? What kind of food do the inhabitants eat? Where do they get this food? What is the atmosphere like here? What kinds of clothing do the inhabitants wear? What do their homes look like? Where do the inhabitants work and get educated? Asking yourself the most simplistic questions can make all the difference in your final product. The little things are what make your world more vivid and realistic.
Create Social, Political, Cultural, and Religious Groups. In the real world (and fantasy worlds) everybody has their own beliefs. Whether it’s a belief that a king should rule over everybody in the land or a God with the head of a Ram ruling the wind, the inhabitants in your world should believe in something. Whether it’s political or religious, having groups with certain beliefs make your world all the more real. It unites and divides people, and is the central cause of chaos and peace.
Create a world that supports the story, not the other way around. By this I mean that in order to create a world that is realistic and organic, you need to make sure it ties into the story well. You can’t have an entire world developed without a story to tell first. An example would be having a rogue assassin on Mars who kills the people with the most power. First you need to figure out who your assassin is, what that character’s story is going to be like, and whether or not you’ll have dual point of views. Once you decide that, as well as the places they’ll be exploring on the way there, then you can start delving into the world-building. You don’t want to create an entire world and then not have half of that world unexplored or even mentioned in your final product. Then it was just a waste of your time. You don’t have to do this, but it’s recommended.
Write what you know. So you may be wondering “How do I write what I know if I’m writing a book that takes place in a fictional world?” Well, let’s say you live in Canada where it’s pretty much cold 24/7 and 7 foot tall creatures with antlers live in your backyard. Why not incorporate something like that in your fictional world? If you experience cold weather all the time, why not write about it? You’ll definitely be able to write about how it feels to have numb toes and fingers, how it looks when new snow settles and ice glazes over tree branches. Use your surroundings as an advantage! Add a moose with glittering fur and antlers that glow in the dark while you’re at it! When you write about something you already know well, and then you’re writing will be much less forced and your descriptions can be more detailed than they would normally be if you were describing a beach setting, although you’ve never been to a beach in your life. Not only can you use nature as your inspiration, but you can use almost anything as a starting point. Does your shower sometimes make a weird noise when you turn it on? BAM! There’s the noise your glittering moose with glow in the dark antlers makes when it’s scared or intimidated. All of these little details are crucial in the final product, which is the world your novel takes place in.
Make your world diverse. This could be filed into characters, but I think it applies to world building in a sense as well. The world isn’t black and white, there are grays and blues and yellows and greens and reds and every color imaginable. You need to express that in your world, through your characters and their cultures. You can’t make every heroine white and slim and beautiful. That’s just not how the world works; I don’t care where you are. One of the newest ‘trends’ in YA novels recently are making books more diverse. There shouldn’t be a need for a trend like this. Books should be diverse without having to be classified as diverse. In this day and age books (and media in every shape and form) should have black males and females, Asians, Trans, and everybody in between because that’s the world we live in. It should be represented without being made a big deal out of. Do this with your fantasy world, do this with your contemporary romances, and do it with your god-forsaken historical fiction novels because it’s real.
Simple interactions between characters. This has to do with characters as well, but it works to make your world more real and it creates more depth. Everything from the way people present themselves to how they talk and move around others. This all makes a difference when looking at the bigger picture of religion and culture in your novel. Let’s say one social group shows respect for their elders by giving them a small gift once a year, while another group does this by gathering in a circle and praying for their good health. It all connects to form the larger picture that is your fictional world.
Use real-world history and mythology. When you write your novel (present in either a fantasy realm or modern times) it’s a good idea to do research. I know, research is a pain, but you learn stuff and it helps a ton when you are constructing an image or event in your book. You can use real-world laws and economics in your story (with or without putting a twist on it) to make your world have the extra amount of depth that we (readers and writers alike) all crave in a good book. There are so many amazing books out there that have used mythology and historical events to their advantage whenever creating their world. And it always works, so why not do that as well?
Imagine your world at its worst. When there’s a good book with a good plot, something always has to go wrong. It’s only normal, so you need to imagine what would happen in your imaginary world if the worst of the worst came to pass. Just envision the worst possible thing that could occur in your world and fathom the impact it would have on your characters as well as the plot of your novel. This will allow you to understand not only your world better, but your characters as well. This works for whatever sort of novel you’re writing.
These are some of the main tips I have for those of you that are finding it difficult to develop your world, whether it takes place in a fictional universe or our universe. If you’re interested in reading about some more tips on world-building, visit this link here.
I would like to thank Lia for giving me the chance to write this post, and for all of you for reading through it all. Good Luck to all of you who are currently in the middle of writing the next great literary masterpiece of our generation.
I think this post was super helpful! My head is already filled with new ideas to expand the world my book is set in! Was it helpful for you? Thank you Savannah for writing this amazing post 🙂