Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another Way To Look At World Building

What is world building?
This may show my naiveté with literary terms, but if I had the misconception, then maybe others have too. What the first thing you think of when I say (or write) the word world building?
Now, let’s see if we’re thinking along the same lines. To me, world building is something that’s done in a fantasy or science fiction novel. The writer gets to create a world where they make the rules. Pigs really could fly, people have magical powers, aliens run the government, you know things like that.
Well . . .
In my writing group, one of the gals commented on my world building. That stopped me, and I had to think about it. World building? Really? I’m writing a YA mystery. That doesn’t have world building in it? Does it?
My ‘aha’ moment came one day while walking with the dog and my son. I guess you could say I had a “world building” moment, because what I was doing that very second could be considered world building. The things our characters do on a daily basis creates the world they live in. Not everyone goes on walks with their dog and baby. Then again if they do, maybe they have two dogs and three kids. That creates a whole different image for me than one dog and one kid. It makes me wonder, what kind of dogs are they? How old are the kids? Are the dogs crazy wild or calm on the leash? Do the kids tease the dogs or chase them?
Anyway, it got my mind whirling with several different books and figuring out how the authors created the world for their characters. After going through those books, I returned to mine, and looked at it from a readers perspective. I created a world where a teenager has to reset a tripwire before closing the fridge and sits on a couch with a weapon hidden in the cushions. I guess that’s not a normal, everyday thing for most people, and in that sense, I just created a different world. It was an amazing moment for me and I appreciate the guidance to the insight.

So, have fun with building your world this week, whether in real life or with your WIP. Either way, Happy Writing!

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