by Kristi R. Johnson
Okay, so last week I played a mean trick and began the post by talking about world-building, and then I changed course drastically and lured you into a lesson about writing a thesis. Sorry.
To make up for it, I will actually talk about world-building this week, though honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. Literally, you build your own world and universe to your liking. All fiction writers do this on some level, but it is especially employed by fantasy and science fiction writers.
When a writer is telling a story set in the world we live in, where everything is more or less as we know them to be, there is not much about the setting that will need to be constructed. But fantasy and science fiction writers will often make up an entire universe in which they must come up with a unique history, geography, ecology, map, and even language (think Tolkien and the languages of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings).
Personally, I love world-building, even though I don’t write fantasy or science fiction, and if I do, the world I create is still fairly similar to the one we know, with just a few changes here and there. But even in its simplest form, it can be easy for the writer to let world-building get away from them. Think about it: there is no limit. You can do anything you want; it’s your world that you made up. But if you take it too far, you risk losing your audience. Also, you risk losing the one thing that is arguably the most important when building your own universe: consistency. Suspension of disbelief only works if the audience is allowed to get caught up in the story. If they are constantly caught up on inconsistencies, the experience will not work for them.
So why not try building your own world. Is it similar to the one we know or completely different? What are its challenges and immediate dangers? Are humans still in charge, or has some other species come to power? It is all entirely up to you.