Getting my second story moving is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I figure this is the first time I can make that cross from second draft of the first novel through to first draft of the second novel. Have both burning slowly so to speak. I’d like to think I will continue this and become amazingly prolific but life will throw up a few barriers as always. For now though I’m going to live in the fantasy world that I will and can do it.
So, back to the second story and more specifically my weird ideas of world building …
Now, I’ve always loved creating characters and I’ve spoken about that in the past here but now I want to focus on creating a vibrant world that feels alive, something convincing even. For this I could use a real city, somewhere I know and feel comfortable writing about but unfortunately for my second novel I’ve decided to move into a post apocalyptic adventure world with some references to the world of today but that’s about it. It’s shaping up to be a mutated version of the world we know today and a post war (invasion maybe) world that has had many issues rebuilding itself (disease, tribal skirmishes, new and dangerous inhabitants… possibly more). I want a world that people could read about and say to themselves, ‘That’s could happen if this was to occur or that was to occur etc.’ To create this world and do it well I figure I need to write a little history of the world itself. Background information of why circumstances came to pass, what they were specifically and how this shaped the world I’m about to place my story in now.
I’ve seen other writers do this in Sci FI and Fantasy and until now I had no idea why they’d put so much work into something with seemingly little value to the story. Lord of the rings has several books dedicated to it’s inhabited world. The Dark tower series has a couple and star wars, although not a book, has dozens of books based on the universe and myriad of others story’s from the same universe all helping in some way to explain the world works in the original. I didn’t care for the background of what came before, it was the story at hand that I was interested in. Now though I can see (and a little embarrassingly admit) the immense value in writing a background history and context to your current story.
Listening to the guys from the self publishing podcast regarding their project ‘Fiction Unboxed’ (which you should go to and take a look) has sparked this interest in me to write a history for the world I want to write about before I start the main story. The guys discuss their current book and the work they’ve put into building a world history and context to their current story setting. In order to better explain the nuances of the current world and current story, a little background knowledge will go a long way. Sci Fi and fantasy can push the boundary of what’s believable and what’s not, but with some prior knowledge of for instance, why such an object has come to be or why a particular section of society acts as they do, all adds weight to what you are trying to portray to the reader. It legitimised the possible fantastic claims made within your main story. To the writer it will make the story world more real and will hopefully translate to believability in the read words on each page or screen.
With my current project, I’ve thrown away my preconceived ideas of background information and history being just for hard-core fans and will attempt to write on before I start the story itself. Whether I will publish this background history, I’m not sure. What I write may no see the light of day (the background stuff that is) but it will hopefully allow me to write a world of more depth and vibrancy and legitimise it in my eyes so that I can portray it to the reader in a much more convincing way. I’ll let it guide me along the way keeping me within the boundaries of what’s possible and impossible in a fictional universe.
That’s enough of my strange world building rambling. Why now let me know what you do when it comes to world creation?