Above, I’ve rounded up all my Worldbuilding posts, but there’s two things left to cover: How to build your world, and how do you incorporate all this information in one novel?
Now that you might have some ideas of what to include in your world, then how do you keep track of it all? This differs from person-to-person. Here are my tips!
- Write it down. Create a scaffold. This will help so that you can avoid inconsistencies. (See end of this post for a downloadable scaffold!)
- Talk it out with someone! Having a trusted person to bounce ideas of will help.
- Trial by error. Figure out what works and what doesn’t.
- Don’t be afraid to be different. Different is good. Falling into old clichés is more likely to be harmful. Even if they are comfortable.
So how . . . and where do you fit this into your novel?
The simple answer: You don’t need to include everything, really. Some things might have to be shown, and others can simply be told in a few lines. And it’s up to you, as a writer, to decide what you need to be explained in depth, or what can be glazed over. (I mean — you don’t want to bore your reader. So don’t include really unnecessary things.)
The longer, more complicated answer, with suggestions:
There are many ways of worldbuilding. I’ve outlined some below. (Feel free to add suggestions / comments below!)
The straight up paragraphs of information
Well . . . I probably wouldn’t recommend this one. We’ve all done this at some point when writing fiction, I believe. And, I think, essentially, when you do this too much it’s most likely going to be considered info-dumping. Which gets the thumbs-down from not only readers — but editors and agents too, I’m guessing. This type of information-giving can be boring. (I want to point out that this is a fine way of worldbuilding; just don’t use it too often, or in large amounts.)
This one is can be a little iffy with some people. Flashbacks are, though, one of the easiest way to get information such a backstory / history across to the reader, yes? So it’s very commonly used I’ve find. This is, personally, not my favourite one. At all. I don’t have anything against reading it in books but I don’t think I would ever use it in my own novels. (I’m afraid of sounding hypocritical here, because who knows, I might use it one day!)
I know a lot of people probably aren’t going to like this one. However, this is one I quite like. Because a) you get to know more about the world on question as well as at the same time, a particular character’s views on that particular character. I’m not sure that makes sense, but the way I see it: not everyone in your story is going to have the same opinions on things. Using dialogue as a technique to world-build might also add to a character’s characterization / emotional growth. (Just a warning: this one may be boring if used in long blocks of information.)