Worldbuilding is an essential part of the writing process when it comes to fiction and storytelling.
The ‘world’ you create for your story (or ‘story world’ as it is also known) is where your story takes place. It is where your characters live and die and where all of the action happens.
Often, people will confuse the story world with the setting, however, although they are similar in some respects – namely that they are places where things happen and where people live – they are in fact two entirely different and separate parts of the story. The setting, for instance, is the time and general location in which you have chosen to tell your story. For example, you may have opted for a small, English town on the outskirts of Victorian London as your setting, whereas the story world is so much more than that.
It is the small, English town on the outskirts of Victorian London, plus a whole host of other things such as the people who live there, the clothes they wear, the currency they use and the food they eat as well as myriad other minute details.
There are also the neighbouring towns to think of; not everyone in the town of your setting will have been born and raised there. And what about other important towns and cities in your world? Or even countries and continents for that matter?
If you are using our own world as the backdrop for your story then try to make your research of the timing and location as detailed as possible; it is these small details that give realism to your world. However, if your world is entirely formed from the darkest depths of your mind, then you have carte blanche to let your imagination run wild (within reason, of course; things still need to make sense).
The word ‘world’ in the sense that I am using it here is sort of a misnomer, in that not all stories take place in or on a world. Some stories take place on a spaceship in outer space or on asteroids or space stations. In all cases though, you must think about the details that make up your surroundings and society and about why the people in your ‘world’ act the way that they do.
Keep in mind that if you are creating a world that is similar to our own, then there will be a rich history there. Major events will have occurred throughout your world’s past that will have helped to define it and the people who live in it, such as your main characters.
Another good thing to remember is that people will always be people. There will always be disagreements about anything and everything – it’s human nature. There will have been wars in your world (or maybe not it’s your story) and arguments over land and food and, if the people of your world are as diverse as those of our own, there will have been wars over race and religion. After all, whenever you have differences, you are bound to have differing opinions which may lead to all kinds of conflict between the citizens of your world.
Anyway… I think I’ve rambled on enough for now…
As always, thanks for reading this if you have, I appreciate your time and patience.
Until next time,
© 2017 GLT