Let’s try this again shall we? Last time I tried to write about my love of world building my wordpress app crapped out on me so here I am again giving it a second go.
I often find that world building can be the purest expression of creativity that any writer can experience. There are no rules or restraints holding you down, you can create anything as long as you find a way for it to make sense within your own world. I really love writers that go the extra mile to really stretch their imagination and create new places for the readers mind to wander. Like imaginary play grounds.
I really wanted to talk to you all about world building because it’s something I’ve always loved being able to do. As a kid I would spend hours creating a fantasy world with it’s own languages and cultures and history. I found it so much fun to just pull things out of the air and find a way for it to make sense, almost like a huge jigsaw puzzle. If I wanted dragons I would find a way for the dragons to logically fit into the world I was creating. Even now I find myself immersed in my new world of Cealusterra, a sci-fi fantasy alternate world with a dash of steam punk for aesthetics. I want this world to seem real to people despite it’s ridiculous fantasy elements. I don’t want to just throw in some dragons, airships and gears and call it a day, I want this world to stand out within it’s genre and look at steam punk in a new way.
I know that just by mentioning steam punk a few of you are probably already thinking “eugh, yeah sure. Just make up some fancy sounding science and throw a few gears on it”. If you are, I’m sorry something has soured you to the genre, but I would like to possibly change that if you would give me the honour of doing so. Over the next few weeks, till my next story starts, I would like to share with you all my world building process and maybe even show you a sample, not the whole thing seeing as it’s ten pages long, of the character template I use for all my main characters in the Cealusterra world. Next week I want to start you all on the Etymology process I use when choosing names for my continents and cities, which I think is extremely important.
This week I want to quickly touch upon the importance of establishing cultures if you want to really make you work pop. Keep in mind that I am by no means an English teacher, just a guy with a crazy mind who likes shiny fantasy/sci-fi worlds. Let’s begin with this little warning, be VERY careful when dealing with cultures in your made up world. I often find that a lot of people resort to choosing a fantasy/Tolkien motif to fall back on, which is all fine and dandy, but one question you have to always ask yourself is “What can I bring to the table that’s new”. If you’re going to touch on a world that’s been done so often you really need to find out what new and exciting thing(whatever it might be) you’re able to bring to the table. I know it’s hard sometimes to tell on your own if the world you’re creating is too similar to others so here are a few questions you should go through.
Why does my world have the cultures that it has? How did they develop?
Are there multiple cultures in this world? If so, why? (Look at our Earth, if your world has only one culture either it needs more developing or you need to have a well thought out reason if you really want to immerse your reader)
What races will your world include and why? You have Elves, that’s cool, do they call themselves Elves? Maybe your world has a different name for them that’s makes more sense.
Always ask yourself How and Why when it comes to adding things to your world. Don’t ever be afraid of research even if it’s boring as shit it can and will help, trust me. As an example;
I do have Elves in Cealusterra but they are not referred to as such, they actually go by two different names. In the Eastern regions of my Continent Aiosus they are referred to as the Ju Lin, while in the south of Aiosus they are called the Auvanasi. Both names corelate to the different dialects in those regions and both the Ju Lin and Auvanasi have very different ways of life. You all get to learn about these guys more in depth in my upcoming webcomic…..Shameless plug….Back to the subject at hand!
I’m not saying you need to have weird and wacky names for your traditional fantasy or alien creatures or places in order to show “culture” just that you need to find a way to make them your own rather than being the next Tolkien. A wise, and racist, Mike Myers movie once told me:
“I don’t need to be the next Deepak Chopra when I can be the First Guru Pitka” Guru Pitka(The Love Guru).
Such a bad movie, with a good message though. Why be the next Tolkien when you can be the first you. Thank you Mike Myers.
One more thing before I leave you all off for the week, have fun with it. This is your own little mind palace creation so you really don’t need to take what I’m saying here to heart. It’s your brain and I can’t tell you what you HAVE to do with your world, just help you out from the perspective of an amateur writer and lover of creativity.
Anyway guys, till tomorrow, stay Tobly awesome.