A Writer’s Guide to Worldbuilding
Plenty of writers write fantasy for the pleasure of forging a great, imaginative escape from the mundane. They fill the pages with magic, adventure, wonder, drama, and love. Fantasy is widely read for how it can immerse anyone into a completely different world, getting swept away into an adventure and a world of highs and lows, which will leave you captivated until the very end. The best fantasy books are those that will rip you from the hay and drop you into an entirely new universe.
The plot, characters, and twists will be unimposing without the world as its setting. Everything will revolve around that world. It’s the environment where your characters live and interact. It’s the first thing your readers will see. Without a unique world, your book will be hardly worth the read.
A unique and well-crafted world takes your story to a whole new level of complexity and diversity. It brings a sense of realism to your story’s setting and your characters and plot. In this genre, a living world is as important as the characters. Thus, here are some tips to help you build the world for your story.
Explore the Five Senses
Writing using the five senses is a brilliant method to unlocking your fictional world. It is a sin for writers to have their writing come off as stilted, flat, or uninspired. Sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch are simple details that will make your world come to life. These senses will allow you to describe things in vivid detail to keep readers interested and immersed in your world. Each sense is powerful on its own; therefore, combining them will create an explosion of immersive experience for readers. The most commonly used sense in writing is sight. Normally, people are visual-driven; we use our sight to orientate ourselves and understand the world around us. Using this will form a strong visual image for readers to explore.
M.A. Haddad’s explicit description of the Myopia realm as “the lush green countryside” in The Shadow of the Staff is an example of using the sense of sight.
Draw Inspiration from Reality
Creating an imaginary world may be the most challenging to form when writing a book. Most of the time, writers conjure up from scratch every detail of a world: history, language, society, environment, and social customs. Understandably, the thought of considering all these elements to form a fictional world can be very daunting. As a fantasy writer, you might feel the need to be creative. This is the mistake of believing that settings must be entirely imagined. However, this is not the case; you can draw inspiration from the real world. The most successful fantasy writers get inspiration from history or present a unique but also believable world. To apply this principle, you can research history books or observe the current world.
Keep It Simple
Fantasy novels demand a rich world. Readers want to picture the world you’ve created. The mistake most fantasy writers make in worldbuilding is making it as unique as possible. They’ll let their imaginations run amok, describing every detail of the world. If you bend over-explaining your world, you must rethink your draft. This can cause your world to be fickle. It won’t be believable. It won’t be interesting. And in most cases, it will be confusing for readers. Crafting a fictional world isn’t always easy, but every place on the page will feel like its own character by keeping it simple. Moreover, keeping it simple allows you to add more details as you go through your story.
Spend Time Naming
So, now you’ve created your fictional world; it’s time for you to name your world, realm, creatures, and more. As if naming your characters wasn’t hard enough. Fantasy comes alive when they feature brilliant names. Calling the creatures as creatures is not enough, not creative. Fantasy is best when you’ve spent the time thinking about the perfect names for everything. Naming takes time, but it’s a worthy pursuit. Naming everything at once will make it feel forced and dry. The names don’t have to be complicated or even made up; it can be a jumble of a word. Remember, you are a fantasy writer, meaning you have an amazing imagination. You can think of a letter and create a made up word from that. Many fantasy writers are remembered for their brilliant naming. Take for example, the middle-earth setting name by J.R.R Tolkien. Thus, be meticulous in naming so that it will be hard for your readers to forget it.