Waddup Savi Crew!
So, a week of Preptober has gone by and what have I been doing? Worldbuilding, that’s what. A while back in June, I wrote about setting but instead of rehashing what I wrote, feel free to check out that blog post here.
Today I will be more focused on worldbuilding… I know, you’re probably thinking, “Aren’t they the same thing?” First of all, no and second, even though they’re often used interchangeably, setting and worldbuilding are not the same.
To demonstrate my point, I’m breaking out Wikipedia definitions—Yes, I went there! It’s about to get educational up in here. Ahem, according to Wikipedia:
“The setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative or within a work of fiction. A literary element, the setting helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story.”
By stark contrast:
“Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe.”
While setting can be associated with pretty much any genre of fiction, worldbuilding has often been correlated with science fiction and fantasy. Think The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Game of Thrones. These popular fantasy-novels-turned-successful-movies/TV-series are as renowned for their worlds—Middle Earth and Westeros respectively for anyone living under a rock—almost as much as their plots and/or characterisations.
Since I’m drafting a fantasy novel for NaNoWriMo 2018, worldbuilding during Preptober is a must. Yes, I know I can always add in those details during the second or third round of drafts but I’m not a placeholder kind of writer; I like to have most—if not all—of the major details of the story during the first draft.
But be warned, worldbuilding can be a slippery slope. You gotta know when to quit filling out your series bible or whatever device you utilise to store your story info and start writing the dang story! And even if you don’t have all the information, there’s always the option of inputting your story specifics as the first draft is being done.
My story bible has the important stuff—mostly information that’s relevant to my story. For instance, if you’re writing about political intrigue and corrupt governments the last thing you should be doing is penning all the details of your world’s flora and fauna.
I mean, I’m sure it’s lovely and you’ll be tempted to include EVERYTHING about your world in your story but please, for the love of God, DON’T do it. Unless the flora you’ve so meticulously described will be used to secretly poison a beloved world leader in later chapters, readers won’t care.
The key to worldbuilding is offering just enough to make the story—and world—seem real but don’t let the descriptions overwhelm or bog down the story.
Remember, your characters live in this world, they’re used to it. Your main character isn’t gonna be fascinated by a green sky, unless they’re not from there, in which case you’ve found a descriptive loophole.
Most writers use the technique of having a character that’s used to the fictional world explain the salient points to a character that’s not used to it. Perhaps the most obvious example is when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.
Sidenote: I’ve never actually read or seen a single Harry Potter book or movie—don’t come for me, internet. However, I do have enough knowledge to survive a round on Jeopardy. That should count for something, but I digress.
For my WIP, I’m using the following format categories used on Wikipedia pages for countries such as the United States:
1.0 – Etymology and History
1.1 – Geography and Climate
* 1.1.1 – Environment
* 1.1.2 – Flora and Fauna
* 1.1.3 – Time Zones
1.2 – Demographics
* 1.2.1 – Population
* 1.2.2 – Language
* 1.2.3 – Religion
1.3 – Government and Legislature
* 1.3.1 – Military
1.4 – Law Enforcement
1.5 – Economy
* 1.5.1 – Exchange Rates
1.6 – Infrastructure
* 1.6.1 – Transportation
1.7 – Culture
* 1.7.1 – Cuisine
* 1.7.2 – Festivals and Holidays
Worldbuilding is oodles of fun so really indulge in it and give your characters an immersive and wonderful world for their story. Anyways, I’m rambling again which means it’s time to sign off… Toodles for now.
And remember, no matter where you live, take a little time to enjoy the island life!