Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Worlds -- The HOW of World Building

The HOW in world building tells about your world’s operation--its precise rules.

For each of the items listed below, tell HOW the system works, what are the concepts, hierarchy, procedures, quirks and similarities to known systems.

1. The belief system

2. The government

3. The economy

4. The class and social system

5. How travel occurs

Now answer:

6. How does this population live? Describe their architecture and housing, how many rooms and what are the rooms’ uses. Do they have private bedrooms, attached or detached kitchens, what type of furniture? Do they have plantings (food or pleasure gardens, fountains, pedestrian walkways)?

7. How do they dress? What are the names of their apparel, what type of fabric and embellishment on their garments, shoes, underwear, etc. do they have?

8. If there is a unique power in this world, how does it work? What are the dangers of its usage? Warning: Never give ultimate power to any character; you'll write yourself into an inescapable box. Every gift must have its dangers and drawbacks.

Knowing HOW your world works will help you stay consistent throughout this story and the next.

There is a separate HOW issue--how to incorporate world information into text. Here are a few guidelines.
1) Word choice can be a powerful indicator of a society. Chose carefully.
2) Adjectives are descriptors by nature, but don't overwhelm a noun with too many.
3) Incorporate world description as a character experiences it.
4) Dialogue is a great place to insert snippets of description. Also, how a characters speak is also a great indicator of place and time.

Now you've got lists of information, much of it overlapping, but don't despair. These questions attack aspects of your world from different directions. Soon you will have a good basic world view of your story's 'new' world.

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