July 17, 2011

Building Your World

World-building is key in fiction, especially within the genres of Paranormal, Futuristic, Sci-fi and Fantasy. Now, I'm not a writer of those genres, but many people are and you can see how the same rules apply across all genres.

This set of information came from my RWA meeting yesterday and I was surprised by how much I didn't know about building a world. All of my novels are set in contemporary United States, but as I read over the rules of world-building, I was able to apply all of them even to my genre.

World-building builds your plot if you think about it. The world you build dictates who is in it, therefore, creates your characters (especially their past) and their actions. The world also dictates who or what is your antagonist. If your first step to writing your novel is world-building, you will be able to answer the who, what, when and where. Once you figure that out, your plot will materialize right behind it.

Let's jump into the rules of building your world:

1. Know your own world inside and out.
2. Know the genre of your world.
3. Read the top authors - historical and contemporary.
4. Create a theme - 25 words or less that will be a tag-line you can stick to throughout the novel.
5. Intimately know your characters.
6. Know the GMC for each character.
7. Suspend disbelief - your world will be based on some type of fact whether it is Sci-fi (based on science), Futuristic (the contemporary world flung into the future), Fantasy or Paranormal. Make your readers believe it is possible for this world to exist. Remember, however, you cannot suspend the rules of physics if you want to suspend your readers disbelief.
8. Keep your rules straight throughout the entire novel
9. Make a bible. A notebook or file that will help you remember, and keep straight, all of the rules you've laid out.

These are also a few questions to keep in mind when you begin to build your world:

1. Do your characters fit in this world?
2. What is your conflict? Is it a person, thing or event?
3. What are the rules?
4. What is the environment like?
5. What is going on in this world you've built?

Do you start world-building before you write a single word of your MS? What helps you to build a world?

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