Worldbuilding is hands down my favorite part of the writing process. It’s more than the rush of starting a new series and creating a new environment from scratch, it’s the continuation of growth from a first book throughout a series. In order to create a living, breathing storyverse, it’s not enough for characters to show growth throughout their stories. Their worlds must also evolve.
My first fantasy romance novel featured a race of winged demons enslaved by their wingless counterparts. After the book was released, a reader asked, “Why don’t the Evanti just fly away?”
I realized then, the importance of underpinning my worlds. That one question reshaped how I thought about worldbuilding. It wasn’t enough to say the race was enslaved. I had to have good reasons why a superior race would bow their heads to lesser race and endure centuries of torture.
In other words, I had to answer the question, “Why don’t the Evanti just fly away?”
By anchoring the demons in their world, their struggles became more real.
Worldbuilding is a skillset that is developed over time through trial and error. Or at least it’s been that way for me. There is a balance between how I see a world and how I present a world to readers. It takes time to fully understand how much of that information I should share, and when.
What I see is a vast and unending world, a tangle of plot and origin and landscape. Often it’s full of tidbits that aren’t necessary for the reader or for the story. I hear whispered rumors. See glints of the past that have no bearing on the immediate story. That is where experience pays off.
A writer must know where the line is drawn between critical and superfluous information.
They must also know when to smudge that line or step over it all together. Of course, writers don’t always get it right. I know I don’t. But I like to think that while our worlds are evolving, we are as well.
I have several favorite worlds, so many I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. (Robin D. Owens’s Celta Heartmates, Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files…)
How about you? What are your favorite series? Where are your favorite worlds? What cool places have you read about and wished you could visit?Leave me a comment and let me know.
One commenter will be awarded a $5 Amazon gift card and their choice of any title from my backlist in any digital format.
This giveaway is closed. The winner is Linda.