Sunday, January 15, 2012

World Building

No matter what genre of story you are writing, it needs a place to be.  A world.  An environment.  A milieu (I realise that I'm being a little pretentious using that word, but I can't help it). This can be as simple as a small room, to as complex as a galaxy spanning empire.  Irrespective of the style, you still have to put the story somewhere.  A story, unless you are really talented and creative, won't do very well in a formless void.

Some genre's, like historical fiction, already have world pre-made in which they exist.  This doesn't mean there is less work involved than a complete fantasy world, however.  In historical fiction, you need to research the time period you are writing in in order to maintain authenticity.  In a fantasy/sci-fi setting, you may not have to do as much research, but you have to create every aspect of the world(s) you are working in.  Otherwise, you might run into inconsistencies that will really annoy your readers.

If you want an example of inconsistencies in a science fiction setting, pick up a copy of The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers by by Phil Farrand.  In it, he breaks down the original series and points out all the inconsistencies in the science and universe of Star Trek.  Of course, this just covers the television series.  One can only imagine what has happened with the book series.  Unless you are working with a group of authors on a massive world, like Star Trek, Star Wars, or the Forgotten Realms, your world is your own.  You won't be able to blame inconsistencies on other writers.

Before you panic and think that you have to spend hours world building, it isn't necessary to create your entire world before you can start writing.  However, it's probably a good idea to have some idea of the environment your characters are going to live in before you start writing.  Some of it you can create as you write, while some you'll have to preset.  Of course, things can change as you write, so don't feel that what you have set at the beginning is set in stone.

'Till next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment