Goood morning world! I hope everyone’s summer has been nice and warm~
Last week we went over the first installment of “Book writing basics 1” focused on genre and the pros and cons of each of the most popular genres. This week I’ll be covering setting and its role in your novel~
Setting (also known as “World-building”) is vital to your story – it plays a significant role in who your character is and how they see the world. Very much like all of us ‘real’ people, the fundamental ‘truths’ about the world that we perceive are based on how we are raised, what our culture is like, and what our situation in life is. Now, there are many many different things to consider when creating the world for your book, but for the sake of this post, let’s just assume you are just starting your book and you need a base for your setting. So without further ado, the things to keep in mind when starting to build your book’s world.
Where does your story take place? Regardless of genre, one of the first things you need to think about even before developing your full cast of characters, is where your story takes place. Does it take place in a realistic world, with bustling cities and cars and vast countrysides, or do you want to create a world of your own? It’s hard to give advice on this, because when it comes to your setting, you can do anything you want; you just have to convey it to your reader so that they are immersed in your world. Where your story takes place, may also depend on the genre you picked. Of course, all genres can be placed in all sorts of fantasy or hyper-realistic worlds, but if you are writing certain sub-sets of genres, it might make the creating process a little easier. If your story is historical crime fiction, you’ll need to do research on the policies and punishments for criminals, and the regulations for the police who try to catch them. On the other hand, if your world is set in the far future, what might help you to get a grasp on your world is looking at what today’s scientists and philosophers say about the future. If your story includes space travel, how far have we gotten, and how available is it to the public? If your story is set in the ruins of the greatest cities the world ever saw, how do people survive? Do they have means of enjoying life, despite the conditions? The options are limitless, and I’ll be expanding upon this in a “Writing advice” post in the future.
How closed off is your world/the characters? Books like the “Divergent”, “Maze-Runner”, and “Hunger games” series are predicated on the closed-off-ness of their world. The world they live in is a controlled environment where the ‘average’ person doesn’t question what lies beyond the lies. If your world is such a world, does your character want to leave the supposed safety of normality and fight for freedom? Or does your story rely less on there being a suppression associated with the closed nature of their world, and more on other conflicts inside the walls? Regardless of how open or closed off your world is, you have to be careful about how much you let your reader know about the world. You yourself may know everything from how your world treats waste, to if aliens are planning to have a house-call on your world in a couple hundred years–but your reader can’t possibly know all of that. That’s why it’s important to establish the things your reader definitely needs to know. (Like, your main character is blind, or the police are so painfully lazy that crime runs rampant.) Some details can come as you move along in your story, and some need to be established right off the bat.
In what time period is your story? Like I’ve been mentioning in the past paragraphs, when your story is set is a very important deciding factor for how your world will look. The more realistic your story, the more you may want to stay within the confines of history for the past, and the plausible eventualities for the future. The past could mean castles, racism, or superstition, and the future could be flying cars, aliens, or a desert wasteland of an earth. On the other hand, if you have decided on a world of your own creation, unlimited by reality, feel free to stick any sort of year number on your story. You may need some lea-way for writing the history of your world, but otherwise, the year is minimally important.
That’s all for this week’s “Writing Advice”! I hope this has provided you with some insight into how you will create your own world. Sometime in the future, I will go into setting and how to develop it in more advanced detail, but for now, I’ll see you all next week when I talk about the different types of plot-lines!
If you have any questions or comments on this post, please feel free to comment below or contact us through the contact form the bottom of the home page, I’d love to hear from you guys!
Until next time!