Do You Need to World Build

World building is the process of assembling a place for your fiction to happen. How much of it you need to do depends on what your plot requires. The world building needs of science fiction are different from those of fantasy. You can also use the real world, but you will still need to create some sort of fictional settings. Anything to do with settings falls under world building. How much it requires is, as I said, dependent on your plot requirements. You need to answer questions on what the characters should be doing for a living, where they work and so on.

In science fiction, you may need to create an entire solar system, if not universe. That sounds involved, but you have to do it so your characters have a place to do whatever the plot has them doing. How involved you get in the process is, as everything else in writing, up to you. Sometimes all you have to do is answer some questions about the technology and society. You have your world. That’s if you base it on the Earth. Some authors do that and not much more, while others make maps of their worlds and get quite detailed.

In fantasy writing, you have to ask about the terrain and technology. If magic is present in your characters’ skillsets, you have more questions to answer. Ask a few questions about each category and move on. Write up a complete legal system, tax system, farming techniques. Put in whatever serves your plot. Do you have wizards and witches in your fantasy? How does the magic work? Is magic an anything goes kind of power or are there some limitations in place? Working that out will go a long way towards making your life easier when it comes time to write the first draft.

Even if you are writing contemporary fiction, you will need to do some world building. There’s a reason so many books are set in fictional small towns or neighborhoods in real cities. In that regard, the world building is simpler but no less important. Your characters need to have some place to live and work. But you don’t want to risk a lawsuit by using real places, unless you can’t avoid it. If you must use real world places, be sure to show them in a neutral to good light and you shouldn’t have any problems.

World building is a balancing act. How much you need to do depends on what your story requires to make it believable. That, after all, is our goal as authors, to make our stories as believable as we can. I’ve only skimmed over this topic. I plan to do more in upcoming blogs. World building can be the most important thing you do aside from writing the actual story. It may not show in the story, but it needs to be there. Otherwise, there is no place for you story to sit. Nothing much happens in a vacuum. Keep that in mind.

About

I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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