Thursday, September 8, 2022

World Building...Don'ts

a hand holding a chioggia beet sliced in half showing the red and white alternating rings and the words World Building Layers around it

Oh man, my fellow SFF Seveners have had some excellent posts sharing their Top 5 World-Building Tips. How do I add to that??

#1: Should I craft a brand new language, a-la-Tolkien? It could be a spin off of dwarvish with a little Orc thrown in and I could put together an entire dictionary with phonetics…Wait….

#2: Maybe I’ll start with a Venn diagram of all the different types of magic in my book’s world. Similarities, differences, strengths, weaknesses, uses, taboos—which leads to a spreadsheet of who uses what and where and how along with character specific phrases and quirks that occur when they use magic. Maybe there should be colors involved, or at least a color coordinated spreadsheet, that will help when I compare my magic system to some of the classics out there…but…

#3: The classics all have history! I need to world-build with extensive history!! My characters will be able to trace their ancestry back hundreds of years. Classics always hide a spy or assassin in the ancestry, someone way-back-when that changed the tide of a monarchy—in that case I need all the details on how that monarchy was built and run, foils and successes, heroes and villains…

#4: Villain names, as well as the heroes, should have meaning that is reflected in the plot line of the story. Which means research time! There are oodles of Pinterest boards to get you in the perfect villain mood. And you like that one blue cape that has a slight silver sheen to it? Well, it’s your lucky day because there’s a shop in California that makes them and, what, there’s this Insta account that has gorgeous pictures of costumes in jaw dropping places…

#5: MAPS! How will the characters know where to go if there’s no map! There will be a current time map which connects to all the maps of the adjoining countries and all of those maps will have ancient maps because what hero doesn’t stumble upon a near-disintegrating map and have to make a calculated guess as to their current time translation….

Yeah….let’s just say Jeffe had it right when she said your book is the tip of an iceberg, not the entire iceberg. If you put the time and effort into writing the entire iceberg on paper(screen) you’ll log countless hours…and then you’ll still have to write the story. 

Don’t get bogged down, my friends! Happy Writing!