by Adam Huddleston
For writers who set their stories in the world as it exists today or in the past, the concept of world building may not be quite as important as it is to folks like me; the fledgling sci-fi/fantasy author. Real places with real people populate their work so they simply write what they know (or could find out through a basic internet search). What happens when you want to set your story on the planet Xynon in the Gordita galaxy? Or what if the country of your protagonist’s birth happens to be Fargan, where it rains peanut butter and jelly?
Mountains of books have been written on the subject of world building. I would highly recommend “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card, author of “Ender’s Game.” He takes the major facets of world building chapter by chapter and explains them very well.
Once you get a feel for the different aspects: geography, peoples, history, religion, flora/fauna, etc. it is just a matter of developing them into a cohesive environment. Generally speaking, the deeper you delve into each part of world-building, the richer your work will be.
Another bit of advice: If you are going to create something that does not exist in the real world, you must make it relatable to something that is. What I mean is, the reader needs to be able to understand what it is they are reading about. For example, if you say, “the warfle crawled along the ground” give a good description of it so the reader won’t be lost.
Along the same lines, use real adjectives and verbs. Don’t say “the warfle cavadered along the sand.” Your reader has no idea what “cavadered” means. Just use crawled, slunk, etc.
Hopefully these suggestions will give you a jump-start in the practice of world-building. Happy writing!