When I first started writing my book, Traveler, a few things became abundantly clear.
- The story involved a sort of magic, and that magic needed rules
- Every new reality my characters travel to had to have rules, as well
- I couldn’t get so bogged down in all of that the the story got lost
Trust me when I tell you – it’s easier said than done. I wrote, I rewrote (and am still rewriting), I hashed things out with my editor, I rabidly read the comments of my beta readers, I cut, clarified and cut again, and this is all coming together because I’m building a world for the story and the story is richer for it.
Here are a few resources on world building that I bookmarked along the way:
Tips on World Building for Writers – This is one of the most detailed posts I’ve seen on the subject. Scroll down about halfway to get past the book pitch to the list – it’s very well done. Then go back and read the pitch because the author clearly knows what he’s about.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding – This is a great “Not to do” list, and pay attention especially to item 4. You’re writing about people. Living, breathing, disagreeing, sometimes impulsive and ridiculous people. Don’t forget that.
Fantasy World Building tips from the Science Fiction Writers of America – Get some good advice from the pros.
The main thing to remember is the old acronym KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. Create a very detailed and diverse world, but explain it to us as simply as possible, through actions, through relevant bits and pieces, through repetition if it’s something we’re going to need to draw on as reference.
Above all, make us feel what you’re feeling. Make us love, hate, mourn and laugh in this new world of yours, and we’ll want to come back there.
It is known.