Sunday, October 18, 2015

0 Best of AYAP: World Building

A story is nothing without setting. Even the most basic of tales include some elements of world building. Little Red Riding Hood went into the woods, Old MacDonald had a farm, the chicken crossed the road. Every novel - from fantasy to the most contemporary or contemporaries - benefits from a deeply imagined setting.

World building can, however, be a tricky thing. There's a lot of discussion below on using world building and setting to add depth and complexity to your writing, as well as ways to approach world building as a tool for generating even more content. There are also articles on the importance of setting to POV and tone, and ensuring your world building is grounded in something tangible for readers to seize. As always, there's a wealth of information in the AYAP archives... and we've collected the best of it below.


On Reader Experience

"[World building] isn’t just description of the place, it’s the main character’s interaction within that place. It’s examining how she experiences the world around her, therefore putting the reader in her world." - Lisa Gail Green

On The Use of POV

"Point of view is one of the things that writers frequently forget to include when developing a setting, but because setting can help you unlock so many different aspects of character, POV is critical." - Martina Boone

On Using Setting for Tone

"Writing contemporary comes with its own set of challenges ... [one] of the tricks to sink [readers] so deeply into your story they forget to look for familiar landmarks? ... Perhaps the quietest and most subtle of the tools available is your setting." - Jaye Robin Brown

On Using Setting to Add Depth

"Setting. It’s just things, just the backdrop, just descriptions to prevent the reader from feeling like they are in a blank room, right? Wrong. If you aren’t putting your setting to work, then you are missing out on a great opportunity to add layers of richness to your work." - C.C. Hunter

On Crafting Memorable Scenes

"The truly great scenes, the ones I remember, play in my mind like a film. I can see the action, but unlike film, a novel also lets me smell the coffee, and taste the fear or sorrow." - Martina Boone

On Making Your Fantasy World Realistic

"Words can achieve the impossible. A town peopled by witches exists because we writers make that possible. How? Through history, characters, and a special vocabulary, we can amass enough details to explore a colony on Saturn, reincarnate King Arthur, make animals speak . . . With these three tools, we can bring the ideas in our imaginations to life." - Molly Cochran

On Asking Questions

"I was scared at first of writing what is primarily a historical novel, because I was used to being able to mold and flex all the pieces of the puzzle in my made up worlds. [But] I still had to ask a million questions, only now, I had to look up the answers to make all the pieces work." - Kristin Bailey

On Building Your Story's Universe

"No one can tell us exactly how to build our story universe. No one will say, start with character, or start with plot, or start with setting. You need them all to create a magical book. But the key is that they all have to work together." - Martina Boone

On World Building to Create Spin-Offs

"World-building develops character, setting, and plot. No matter what you're writing, you will benefit from added world-building by creating a richer canvas and framework. Even a straight up contemporary romance usually contains friends and family who have a sociological history and hierarchy, a shared shorthand of communication based on their experiences together." - Martina Boone


What do you think? Was there any advice that particularly resonated with you? Any posts you think we've missed that should be on this list?

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