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  • Writer's pictureElaine Thompson

World Building: Forging Imaginary Worlds

World-building is a vital part of every fiction story. It is the construction of an imaginary world that will be the vehicle in which your audience is transported throughout your story. It is the development of the places where your story happens.

When building your world here are many elements to consider:

  • Structure/Landmark/Location - Does your story happen in a palace or a hut? Does it happen on a galaxy or an island? Does it take place in a jungle? Does it take place at the city dump?

  • Character - Are your characters royals or peasants? Are they a rare, forgotten species?

  • Weather Conditions- Is it rainy? Is it hot or cold? Is it foggy all the time? Do they live in the scorching desert? Are there sandstorms all the time?

  • Documents - Do they use treaties or scrolls? Do they use parchment paper or goatskin? Do they write with ink or lasers?

  • Ethnicity - What is their heritage? Are they green aliens or blue avatars? Are they African or Asian?

  • Military - Is there an army? What style of fighting do they use when in combat? Do they use guns or blood-sucking leeches when under attack?

  • Geography - Where are they located? Is there gravity in this world? Do they live underground? Do they have access to water?

  • Currency - Do they barter or trade coins?

  • Culture - Do they use their hands when they eat? Do they sleep sitting up straight? Are they polite or friendly?

  • Law - Are there laws in place that limit them? Are they allowed to use magic? Do they break any laws when doing certain things?

  • Language - How do they communicate? Do they have a secret language? Do they speak many languages?

  • Resources - Is it a world rich with gold and precious stone? Do they have rare resources that outside kingdoms may want?

  • Ranks/Titles - What form of government do they have in place? Is there a king or queen? Is there a president? How is society ranked?

  • Religion - What do they worship? Are they superstitious? Are they godly? Do they believe in the supreme ruler? Are they Christians? Are they Catholic?

  • Professions - What jobs and professions are there? A place that loves to wage war may be in demand of blacksmiths. A place that is on the brink of starvation may need skilled hunters and fishermen.

  • Species - Are there any rare species that exist in your world? Are they humans? Do dragons exist?

  • Settlements - Do they live in villages, towns or cities? Have they migrated to outer space and now live in space stations?

  • Rituals - Do they value going to church? Do they have a Moon Feast every year? Do they celebrate victories with song and dance? Do they drink wine before going to war? Do they celebrate a victory by throwing horse dung at each other?

  • Technology - What kind of inventions do they have? Do they fight with swords? Do they have laser blasters?

  • Traditions - Do they greet each other with a hug? Do the women lower their eyes in the presence of the men? Do the men eat first when served meals?

  • Transportations - How do they get around? Are they teleported? Do they ride horses? Do they fly dragons?

  • Food - Do they eat meat? Is it raw or cooked? Is a strict diet vital to them? Do they value healthy meals? What is considered a healthy meal? Do they like spoiled food? Do they eat bugs? Do they want fast food? Do they value a good home-cooked meal?

  • Dress - Do they cover their heads? Are the women allowed to wear pants? Do they like bright-colored clothing? Are they obsessed with jewelry? Do they use the skin of the animals they have hunted as a source of clothing?

  • Smell - Is your world smelly or fragrant? Are the characters smelly or fragrant?

It is vital to construct every detail of your world so that your reader may envision the aspects and features that breathe life into your story. These dynamics enable your book to be effective. They give color to your story. They transport your reader into the world that you have created. Every feature of your world that you create gives rise to a colony, civilization, or kingdom that is literally out of this dimension. How well you build your world determines how engrossed your reader will be.

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