Wednesday, July 3, 2013

{In Your Write Mind Workshop}: World Building

Hosted by Lucienne Diver

You need conflict and tension or you don't have a novel!!

Build a world that stands in the way of what the hero/heroine wants.

Elements of building a strong, believable world:
1. Environment -- setting, isolated, connected, flora, fauna, population, soil, (not all will be on the page, but you should still know it)

2. Religion -- What is the primary religious beliefs of your world? Multiple religions, conflicting religions. What morals guide/dictate your world and your characters? Is your religion tied to your politics?

3. Family Units -- marriage rules: polygamy, arranged, free choice. Nuclear or extended families? Roles of men vs. women. Roles of children.

4. Technology -- What level of technology does your world have? Hunting/gathering vs. post apocalyptic vs. contemporary vs. futuristic.

5. Language -- Create your own or use an established language. There will always be specialized language in every society. Cursing -- what is sacred vs. what isn't. Don't use language/words that are difficult for your reader. Must still be relatable and believable to your readers.

6. Economy -- Healthy or unhealthy? Age of workforce is important. Types of jobs available, resources.

7. Politics -- Democracy, anarchy, dictatorship, monarchy, communism,

  • Sometimes prologues are really needed. Use them sparingly.
  • No omniscient POV or dreams or flashback or myth or celestial stars, etc.

How to avoid backstory/info dumps:
  • Don't introduce characters before they exist/show up on the page.
  • Once a character appears, do NOT stop flow of story to give backstory. Weave it in naturally via dialogue and/or narrative.
  • Best way to avoid info dump is to start your story in the right place. Starting too late will require a lot of backstory. Must define what is normal before it all goes to hell and to give a reason for your readers to care.