Bring Your World Alive | EelKat's Guide To Worldbuilding For Fantasy Authors - The Squidoo Series

Things You Can Do To Bring Your World Alive

The most important thing you can do in creating your world, is to write it in such a way that you can convince your readers to believe in it with you. Making your world realistic to your readers involves you relying on your writing skills to tell the reader everything you know about your world. First however you much create a very clear image of your world in your own mind, before you can write about it. Many authors, need to see their world in order to write about.

There are many things you can do to make your world more realistic in your mind and thus help you to write a better world. Here are a few things you can try:

  • First off: draw maps. It easy to do. It requires no drawing skills. Only very rarely will a map of the world be printed in the published book, so there's no reason for you to worry about your drawing skills.
  • Drawing a map allows you to visualize where things are. This helps you to write better and ensures that you don't say Mt Demontooth is in the East, and than send you characters West to get there. Making maps tells you where places in your world are which helps you to keep your writing consistent.
  • Build a diorama. Dioramas are great for really visualizing your world. Dioramas take your world and put it together in a 3-D picture so you can look at it from a different angle.
  • A diorama could be as simple as a shoe box with cardboard cutouts to something as elaborate as devoting an entire room in your house to building scale models and everything in between, including building your world out of Lego blocks.
  • There are two basic forms of dioramas: a 3-D map or a scene brought to life.
  • A 3-D map can take two forms: a topographic map or a scale model with houses and plants.
  • A topographic map, is you taking your drawn maps and build up a 3-D map: paper mache mountains and train set trees perhaps? Building one of these allows you to take tiny dolls or even chess pieces and *walk* them through your world, thus giving you a better look into what they have to move through to get from point a to point b.
  • You can make your diorama as a scene from your book, say a fight scene between a wizards and a dragon. You build models of the room or land around them, create tiny dolls.
  • Some dioramas go on a grand scale with 1/24 dollhouses, cloth dolls, and bonsai trees. I've gone this extreme with my own Twighlight Manor series.
  • Drawing/painting movie posters. Writers who are also artists often do this one. This is two fold: One you take a scene from your book and draw/paint it up in a manner to draw in your readers, the way a movie poster draws in viewers.
  • Secondly, this same exercise can be called: creating cover art. Creating cover art for your book is something many authors spend weeks doing. Rarely does the author also illustrate their book, however their drawings can be sent to the illustrator to help him/her to know what the author had in mind for their world and how it should look.
  • Either way, wither your book will be illustrated or not doesn't matter and should not affect your decision to draw pictures, posters, and cover art. All of which help you to get a clearer visualization of your world and thus help you write it better.
  • Creating a scrapbook. This could be done either with a real bound blank book or you could do it online via building a website. Either way it involves you collecting up photos and drawings of various things that look similar to things in your world. Has your world got glacial ice? Than start collecting up photos of Alaska and Antarctica. Does your world have a lot of flower faeries? Than send for seed catalogs and start cutting out flower pictures. Of course you can add your own art/drawings as well. And don't forget to grab a camera and take pictures of local things that inspire things in your world: a weeping willow hanging over a brook, a rose bush, a sunset, anything that inspired you to write about it in your story.

Are Maps Necessary?

Must you create maps, dioramas and other such things for your world? No. Only if you feel it will help you in creating your world. There are just as many authors who will tell you to NOT draw maps as there are those who tell you you must draw maps. The thing to remember about maps, is that they are only a tool, and like any tool, using the wrong tool for the job does more harm than good.

You would not use a screw driver to pound a nail into the wall would you? No. You pick the right tool for the job at hand. For some stories, a map will be just the tool you need to keep your story on track. But for other stories a map may distract from your story. How do you decide wither you need to create maps or not? Will, that is not an easy thing to answer, because there is no right or wrong answer here. Every author is going to feel differently about this issue, and in the end only you can decide wither or not drawing up maps is going to help or hinder your writing process.

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