This is a class I teach in a variety of workshops. I was going to place the tons of information I’ve gathered for my classes here, but the outline I have is twenty pages long – and that’s just the outline. It’s much too involved to include here, so I’m going to give you the absolute best place I’ve ever seen for world building. Science Fiction Writer’s of America is one of the best sites to visit for information. Not only is the world-building information great, but so is their Writer Beware blog and more. No matter what you write, this is one of the best places possible to visit.
When you are world building for your story, whether it’s fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, or even a historical, gather the information, but don’t dump it all into your story. Like characterization, all that background is for you. You’ll use some of it, but you won’t use it all. But it will show in your writing because you’ll write like you actually know the place. It will come across naturally instead of forced.
When creating your worlds, don’t forget the physical as well as the note taking.
When I was creating my world for “Akashan’te”, I happened to be on vacation with my family at the shore. All that sand. So I started building my lands. The kids got in the game and we grew the world, and several more. Since I couldn’t very well bring the beach home, I took lots of pictures and, when I got home, sketched it out. You don’t have to have the ocean and beach nearby in order to create your worlds. Clay works well. Or papier’ mache. Or blocks. Or anything that gives you perspective. Think about the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and how the main character sculpted his mashed potatoes. I don’t recommend the later scene where he built the mountain in his living room, but a smaller version will work. Have fun with it.
So this week, take a look at the site for SFWA and grab some sculpting tools and have fun!