Welcome to the blog!
So you want to build a world? There are many things to consider but let’s start small. In this series, I’m going to be discussing various aspects of worldbuilding and how you can craft your own. Of course, this is not the only way to worldbuild, but it is one way.
There are many things to consider but let’s start small. In this series, I’m going to be discussing various aspects of worldbuilding and how you can craft your own. Of course, this is not the only way to worldbuild, but it is one way.
But first, a bit about myself: I’ve been worldbuilding since I was at least eighteen, on various projects which include a six-part NaNoWriMo series (2011-2016) – all completed, I’m pleased to say! – as well as my main series, which I will inevitably refer to as ‘the novel series’ (a setting I have been tinkering, refining, drafting, redrafting, prodding and poking for fifteen years). I’ve also had numerous other smaller projects which have also involved worldbuilding. My primary focus is science fiction and fantasy (the two are not the same genre, but I enjoy mashups), and while I am not a historian by any means, history is something that has fascinated me for a long time.
Goal: Building a Living, Breathing World
My goal with worldbuilding is to create a living, breathing world (or worlds, galaxy, dimensions…) that has its own distinct character, and like the seasons, shifts both against and with the characters within it. I also firmly believe that this is achievable, not just for me, but for anyone. The trick is building a sustainable framework capable of housing a multitude of stories, and in this series, I’m going to offer suggestions as to how.
The imagery I like to use is of that of a stage: the setting is both the foundation and the backdrop for the characters (not just the protagonists, antagonists and villains, but all the characters); if the foundation is strong, if the backdrop is believable, it’s easy to tailor your character to the world, and the world to your character. This, of course, does not just apply to novel writing, it can apply to RPGs as well (of which I have had a fair amount of experience), or indeed, any creative project utilising worldbuilding and backstories, even model making, but for the purposes of this blog, I will be referring to it as though one were writing a novel, so without further ado, let’s begin.
Disclaimer: Beginning the Journey!
I could and probably start with the basics, but let’s talk about something a bit more interesting. Warning, tangents and overly long sentences ahead! (Also: everything on this blog is written off the top of my head and from memory of various bits and pieces I’ve picked up over the years – sorry, no citations.)
I should also probably note that worldbuilding and writing are often cyclical, that is, one feeds into the other. That has certainly been my experience while I have been developing my main novel series’ setting. I have also had works where I developed the setting first and built straight off that – and occasionally added in bits and pieces along the way. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but I find having a foundation helps – if only as a point of reference.
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Update! (9th February 2019)
In addition to the series on worldbuilding, I will be penning a number of writing exercises for you to try out at home (or in a cafe, on a train, or wherever you happen to be). I’d love to hear back from you, so let me know how you find them!
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Let’s get started!
As I am led to understand it is customary, here is the polite notice stating that all excerpts, images and exercises on this blog unless otherwise stated are mine and should not be used without permission, but you are welcome to share them if credit is given. Copyright © 2019 Colin Murugiah.