Today on our Revision 101 Workshop: World Building

Whether you’re writing fantasy and sci-fi or contemporary romance, all books have world building needs. Some are less intensive than others (lucky them!) but they all have needs. SF/F writers have the hardest, but we also have the most fun. Our worlds are completely sand-box, open-ended for our imaginations to have fun in.

So, how do you know where to start? How much do you have to do? Is it enough to say “Alakazam” and write?

World building involves everything from the size of the world, to religions, cultures, magic-systems, law systems, travel, geography, physical features of the world… everything. Everything needs to be thought out.

I could spend a month talking about world-building, so instead I’m going to list some great articles and tell you why you should read them!

1. Writers Are World Creators, by Fiction Editor Beth Hill. Beth talks about the consistency of world-building, and why consistency is important to suspending disbelief. READ THIS ARTICLE.

2. Berley’s Top 10 World Building Tips for Sci Fi or Fantasy, by Berley Kerr. Berley discusses size, history, culture, dominant technology, governments, transportation, magic system/sci-fi technology, religion, currency, and food.

3. Fantasy Worldbuilding, by Patricia C. Wrede. Patricia provides an amazing list of questions perfect for world building. Amazing list. Read this.

There’s obviously more articles around the Internet. Those were just some great ones I’ve found. Do a Google search and you’ll find even more 🙂

No matter what you do, remember this: world building is about showing versus telling, just like everything else in writing. If you want a great example of world building done through showing and without info-dumping (as someone on the #PitchWars feed on Twitter recently said) watch the first episode of Firefly, a sci-fi western by Joss Whedon. That’s world building done right.

When you’re revising, checking for consistencies in your world building (and adding and subtracting as need be) is super important. Suspend disbelief, and you’ve hooked your reader.

What’s your favorite part of world building?