Author Toolbox – Know Your World

This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

Think about all the fictional worlds you love. I’d be willing to bet that one of the main reasons you love them is how detailed they are and how real they feel. So how do we apply that to our own writing?

Regardless of whether your world is rooted in science fiction, fantasy, horror, or whichever genre is your preference; it’s going to help you to have a well thought-out world.

What this is likely to mean is keeping copious notes on a variety of subjects. If you have multiple races in your world, you’ll want to know each’s home land/planet/dimension, their physical characteristics, if they have a different religion than the other races, if their speech is different, and probably a dozen other details.

And you don’t need to restrict yourself to the present day of your narrative either. Do any of your races (or countries, clans, etc) have a history with each other? Who have been allies and who have been enemies? And how will these past encounters influence your story?

Like I said above, this is probably going involve a lot of notes. Or, if you want to use the technical term, a series bible. I believe this was first used with regards to plotting TV series, but it’s easy enough to adapt the principle. It’s going to be worth making one of these and keeping it handy when revising. Consistency within your world is going to be very important, especially since there are often a number of readers (and I count myself as one of them) who could be considered continuity obsessive.

Of course, there’s a very good chance you’re not going to use all the information you put together. Or, maybe you just won’t use it straight away. If you’re working on a series, then there might not be an appropriate place for something until you’re a book or two down the line. Some of it, you might never use. But, think of it this way, even if you don’t use it, you’ve still been exercising your creative muscles, and that’s never going to be a waste.

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8 thoughts on “Author Toolbox – Know Your World

  1. miladyronel says:

    A great reminder 🙂

    World-building is always fun. My stories all share the same world and have folklore at its roots – I share my research on my blog and have various back-ups of everything that went into creating Faerie (which is ever-evolving).

    I know a couple of writers who use Excel, Scrivener and other programs to keep all of their notes in order and for easy access – mine is in various Word documents, PowerPoint slides, screenshots and notes gathered in appropriately tagged folders, saved on several hard drives. And there’s a notebook filled with all the important details for easy access – if I remember under which dictionary it is hiding 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. awshannonauthor says:

    I wish I’d read this last year…of course it wasn’t written then so…never mind. LOL I’m in the midst of revising a novel and I “just” got around to really hashing out the backstory for my dystopian world. I think it would have been a stronger story sooner if I’d done it before. Lesson learned though and I won’t make this mistake again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. K. Kazul Wolf says:

    I love good world building! Writing strange fantasies with even stranger magic systems is one of my favorite things to do, and I desperately need to get working on a world bible. You’d think I would at this point, but I’m one of those weirdos that’s good at keeping everything in their brain. Thank you for such a great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lauricia Matuska says:

    Excellent reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in certain aspects of our world building that we forget others, especially cultural things like art and education. Even if these details don’t make it into a story, they still flesh out the world in the author’s mind, which adds depth for the reader, even if it I indirectly.

    Liked by 1 person

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