Did you ever read a book that had drawn you in, and you were amazed by the imagination of the author? Think about the first time you read Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone. Flying broomsticks? Yes, broomsticks that fly, and Ms. Rowling made it work.
World building. Authors use this technique to create a realm so real that what’s not possible in our world is commonplace in theirs. But it’s not just a bunch of made up ideas on paper. Everything must fit and work together.
The set of laws governing the world and characters must remain true throughout the story, and this is where mapping and even the use of a handbook can come in handy. Using references to keep things organized makes writing a story easy. I love the idea, especially using maps. They add to the mystic of the tale and can even aid readers to the world's rules as they travel along with the characters.
The first step to world building is to create a time and place. Stories can occur anywhere. It doesn't matter if it takes place here in the United States, in another country or even in another dimension. Certain conflicts are universal to all cultures, and the setting details are the backdrop. However, world building is vital for character development. It helps authors create characters that the readers can relate to.
World building is different for various genres and may not be necessary for some, but in fantasy it’s crucial. There are magic spells, curses, creatures, and mythical characters that have to be kept straight. Think of it as a chess game and the characters are the pawns. Each character must adhere to the rules that make up who they are. Otherwise, the reader can experience confusion.
This holds true for the metaphysical society too. How is it organized? What do the civilization and culture stand for? What’s the relationship of the characters to the environment and each other?
Now that the big stuff is created, it’s the small details that make everything come alive. Think about your favorite story character and their idiosyncrasies. The way they dress and the little things they do, make you fall in love with them.
However, what makes a good story great are the twists and turns. What if something or someone doesn’t follow the rules? What if a character rebels and breaks the laws? I call this the chaos factor, and it's my favorite part of the story.
So when you sit down to write your story, think about world building. You may be surprised how easy it is to get the words down and to spin a tale from beginning to end.