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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

5 Tips to building an Outstanding World

5 Tips to Building an Outstanding World

In the world of fiction writing, creating believable, realistic worlds is crucial to strong stories. If you invent a world, but have no infrastructure, no reasons why things are the way they are your readers will see through the holes and potentially give you up as an author.

As daunting as it seems to create an imaginary world where readers can escape and believe, there are some basic ideas to simplify this important task of fantasy authors.

Tip # 1: Build up the infrastructure

Why do people do things? How do they get around? What’s the hierarchy of power? Perhaps you have a vicious king, who uses knights or noblemen to control the working class/peasants with magic crystals tied around their necks. If they rise up the crystals stop their hearts—for example. After you establish the hierarchy determine why it is set up in such a way. Oppression usually has a reason. Perhaps the world depends on a certain mineral, but it is dangerous to mine. The evil King would use the peasants to mine it, and ignite the crystals if they refuse. That way the people submit to save their own lives. Think Hunger Games, a wonderful example of oppression and hierarchy of power.

Make sure you don’t just create a society, but an economy. In my book the Lost Relics, there are four realms. Each realm has certain items and goods they cultivate and share with the other realm people. The realms are kept in balance from the Ponderi, who has rules and regulations such as magic bans in the realms. Because the Ponderi is in charge rogue groups have spurred throughout the realms, which feel the Ponderi oppress the people and should allow them to live naturally in their own environment. However, the Ponderi has experienced dangerous magic in the past which killed many people. This is why they instilled the magical ban and created a council over the realms which provided the strict rules. The Ponderi isn’t trying to be dictators, however from their past experience they feel the need to instill rules and regulations. It may begin to create problems in the realms eventually.

Tip #2: Explain why the story is happening

It is imperative you explain why your story is taking place. If your world has existed for hundreds of years, why are the events suddenly happening now? Is a new ruler in place, is a rebel group rising up, is the climate suddenly changing, is a war starting?

In The Lost Relics, the story begins because the dangerous magic which caused the magical bans has returned. A dangerous secret-society is looking to control powers that would prove deadly. These are the reasons that particular story begins to change the world.

Tip #3: Create a world readers can enter

One of the most exciting things about creating a world is making it real. Explain what the food tastes like, explain what it smells like. This helps the reader enter your world and it feels real to them. The hardest part of this is if your world is fantasy and doesn’t involve the real world in any way describing things can be a challenge. For example, my upcoming series uses islands. One set of islands looks like Hawaii in my mind, but if my characters described them like the “Hawaiian Islands” it wouldn’t be consistent because the made up people in my story have never seen the state of Hawaii. It is a blast to describe foods with creative words, textures, and the appearance of people. Give a try; creating all the little details is my favorite part of world-building.

Tip #4- Become a reader

A helpful exercise to practice when you’re world building, is to become a reader. Ask any question you can think of that a reader may ask, and find a way to answer it. Even if it’s something you don’t mention in the story, the more solid your own understanding of your world the easier it will be to write it. For example: What do they eat? Can they die like mortals? Is there magic? How to the people reproduce? What is the common religion? Why is the climate the way it is? How do the different genders get along? How are they educated? What kind of clothes do they wear? What is the atmosphere like? Things of this nature will help you create a solid world that will make sense to your readers.

Tip #5- It better make sense

The final tip is one of the most important. You have to have a reason for the elements of your world. If you have a magical tree that glows red and shoots purple pears at the people, what is its purpose? Why is it there? What significance does it have? It seems strange to make fantasy logical, but it will make or break a world. Make sure you have strong understanding and reason behind the things you are doing in your world. You can’t just make it so unbelievable without any order to it, or your story will be just that…unbelievable.

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