I’ve been talking about world building. There are several aspects to the process, so I’m going to take them category by category. This week, I’m going to expand on the first category, the one we create first and for every work of fiction we create. It’s the world around our characters.
We build a physical world for our characters to interact with. It could be the place where they live, work, play, love, and solve story problems. It could be as simple as mimicking the world outside our windows. Or as detailed as a space station in the far reaches of space. Whatever you choose as your setting, you have questions to answer. You need to decide if there are regions in your world and what they are. What about the climate? What about the weather? Even if the weather isn’t important to the story, you may need to allude to it, if only to have a character say it’s a lovely day.
What are the regions in your world? If you are setting your story here on earth, you can skip this, as the regions are here for the describing. If not, you have more questions to answer. You might want to draw a map of your world. There are some mapping software on the Internet. Search for “mapping software” and take your choice.
What’s the climate like in your world? Do your characters have to contend with harsh conditions? Are they in the arctic? The tropics? Or are they in a more temperate climate? You should work that out in advance. Again, these questions are already answered for you if your story is set on earth. If not, answer those questions and make a note of the answers. You’ll be thankful when it’s time to write the first draft.
Everyone talks about the weather at least once in their lives. Likely more often than that. Your characters are no different. Give them weather to worry about. Make sure it fits the climate they live in. One doesn’t sunbathe often in the arctic. But, there’s little snow in the desert or the tropics. In the real world, that’s not unheard of, so if it happens in your story, your characters should at least notice it.
Weather can be a source of conflict in your story as well. It can slow down a rescue. It can isolate your hero with a killer or prevent him from getting to the killer. Either way, it’s story gold. Use it to bring out flaws in the hero to show humanity. No one is one hundred percent heroic all the time.
Take the time to create the physical world for your characters ahead of writing the first draft. If you do that, you will find writing the first draft is much easier than if you have to stop and build the world at that time. Take the time first. You’ll thank yourself later.
Next week, we’ll talk about building nations in your world.