World Buiding Basics


World-building is the process of creating the world your novel will occupy, and then explaining that world to readers. It's the people,  rules, places, magic, politics, histories, religions, laws, and any  and everything else that creates the framework a story exists within. Every novel, regardless of genre, requires some amount of world-building - even books that are set in our world. Just because you're not building magic systems and naming cities, doesn't mean your book is exempt from this process. It is still your job as the author to create, deeply understand, and explain the place and time your story occupies, and how it impacts your character.
A story set in 'New York City, 2010' has a defined place and time that means something to most people, but what does it mean specifically to your character? New York City, 2010, looks very different for a waitress barely making ends meet in Brooklyn when compared to a socialite in the Upper East Side. Maybe your reader has never been to New York City, therefore, none of that means anything to them. It's your job as the author to explain your character’s world.
Regardless of the type of book you're writing, spending time exploring your character's world is critical. Now, with all that said, I will disclose that I am personally a Fantasy author, so my presentation of these concepts will be skewed in a fantastical direction, because that is how world-building applies to me.
However, I hope you can find something that works for you in my basic principles and apply them to you and your stories.

Read the entire article in the April 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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