Building a World

BuildingWhen it comes to writing, there is one thing that I have always loved to do. I have always loved to create the history of the world, of the characters. I suppose that the RPG fan in me coming out. Whenever I play a character, the history of the character, whether relevant to the game play or not, is essential for me to be able to play. In fact, I will often play even computer games and narrate, in my head or otherwise, to myself the thoughts and feelings, and history of the computer avatar I’m using.

I’ve always been thankful for that gift. Being able to write the history is almost as important as being able to write the story itself. Even if you never tell anyone else the history of a world they’re going to be getting a glimpse of, it’s allows the writer to keep the common things in mind.

To that end, one can even call it a laziness. If you’re a genre author, you may find it easier to write in one given world, galaxy, or even universe. One common history or scientific legacy instead of having to generate a new one constantly. How much or how little of the history, overall, that you share is decided upon by the motivations of the story.

However, that isn’t to say that this history is for your characters. The history itself is for the writer. There is a series of novels that I absolutely adore, written in batches over two decades. The story within the series covers thousands of years, and it was not written chronologically. In fact, it started off about 3/4 to the “end” of total series, then jumped back and forth in time.

Because of this, the history of the world being written about is not consistent. There are times when even personal histories are, by the end, completely different than what had been stated. That isn’t to say the series isn’t enjoyable, and there are actually in-novel reasons given for some of these “discrepancies”, however, it would have been a moot point if the author had simply written the history of the world before she put her characters in it.

Of course, you never know when the simple trilogy of novels you’re writing is going to turn into a successful series ten times that size or more! No one can predict how the market is going to take to your world. That’s not the point. It doesn’t matter if anyone else needs to know the information you’re writing down, or if your characters will ever be effected by it. It just helps make the world more real to you, and I’m sure you’ll find, like I do, having that history known makes it far easier to write about the present.

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