Worldbuilding is essential in any novel. Regardless of whether you are telling an epic love story in space, or a war story that spans decades and dimensions, it’s important to give your reader a sense of place. You want the reader to immerse themselves in the world and feel grounded.
Here are a few of our favourite tips on world building:
Even if you’re creating a fictional world, it needs to feel like a reality. The best way to achieve this in worldbuilding is by doing a little research. Look at information on the locations and societies you write about. Or, if it is completely fictional world, model it after something that already exists to give it a sense of place.
Take, for example, Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies. It really makes you feel like you are walking the streets of Cork with the characters, as the book was well researched. Similarly, Harry Potter author used real life locations, like King’s Cross Station in London, and made the reader feel like they were there.
Research can help world building a lot and is a very important task every writer should undertake.
Every world needs rules. When your characters live in a world where anything goes it becomes less interesting and more chaotic. Creating a structure can not only help your story flow, but can help to explain your character’s motivation.
Rules create problems, problems create conflict and conflict is drama that keeps a reader wanting to turn the page.
The Good and The Bad
If your characters in your writing fall into two categories, good and evil, it might be time to add some different shades.
Let's say you're whipping up a world where the post-apocalyptic Earth is in turmoil and there is a death and destruction at every street corner. It's great to show us a bunch of crushed skulls and burning bins, but nobody is going to stick around for a utter destruction. To hark back to lessons from art class, everything needs shade a light. Try to create multi-dimensional characters that have both good and bad, who live in a world that does not deal in absolutes.
It makes for a far more compelling read.
Who Lives in your World?
So, you’ve created your world, but who lives in it? The world you create will influence your characters: what they eat, what they wear, where they go and what they do. Keep that in mind when you’re writing. Your characters are a product of the society they inhabit, so by crafting your world, you craft your characters.
The fast and hard rule of worldbuilding is “Does this make sense?”
If the answer is no, then go back and rethink what you have done and add extra dimensions. It will lead to a more rich and vibrant read.
If you’re currently in the midst of NaNoWriMo, we hope these tips help. And don’t forget, you can contact Selfpublishbooks.ie when your novel is complete and we will be more than happy to help. We also print hardback and paperback copies, so if you’re interested in seeing your novel become a reality, feel free to get in touch.