Whether you're writing a fantasy or a general fiction novel, there's no escaping from world building.
So what is it? The simplest definition I can find on the internet is that world building is the construction of a world in the realm of fiction.
When confronted with creating a world, some authors balks at the idea of world building. After all, they've got their characters all fleshed out and the story has been mapped out. However, world building is a crucial aspect of story-telling. Without a believable world, your novel can flounder like an unstable pack of cards.
However, world building doesn't have to be hard. You don't need to go overboard like JRR Tolkien did with his famous Middle Earth universe. You can do quick and easy world building and pretty much remain believable.
This would probably be the most useful advice ever if you're going to attempt to build a world. If for some reason, in the first chapter, you laid the rule that river flowed upstream in your novel and then in the thirteenth chapter the rule was violated for no reason at all it can shatter the illusion of the fictional world. As a reader, I prefer things to be consistent and I would believe whatever the author tells me. However, if you suddenly decided to switch the rules for no good reasons at all, my logical mind takes over. This can ruin a good story.
Lay some ground rules
This is similar to the previous point that I covered and is pretty much self-explanatory. Think about how the fictional world you're going to build is set out and assign some rules to it. Perhaps people don't go out at night because some evil entity roam at night at a specific time. A mountain could separate two villages and no one ever interacts with each other because of that. Rules makes things easier to keep track of. Before you start writing, you should create some rules. It will make it easier to be consistent and also easier to create a believable world.
Just because you're consistent and have laid out some rules for your fictional world doesn't mean that you don't need to do some research. Whilst I was writing The Damnation Plays, my characters visited places where I haven't been before. Hence, I had to do some research to find out more about the places. However, this wasn't back breaking work that involved me spending hours and hours in the library. Instead, I browsed through some relevant and reputable internet sites. After all, we're in the 21st century where we have access to Google and the rest of the internet. Utilise it.
I like to use the one note software to organise my thoughts and the research that I've done. Nothing is more infuriating than to discover that you'd accidentally forgotten or lost some vital piece of information related to your world building. Furthermore, when you've got everything in one place, it's so much easier to be consistent, lay the ground rules, research effectively and do some great world building.
Chantal Ravens is an author whose novel The Damnation Plays is currently available to buy at amazon A thrilling ride featuring demons, angels and witches. Will damnation be unleashed upon the world?
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