Guest Blog: Worldbuilding (A Virtual FantasyCon Post)
Today a special guest will be taking over my blog to talk about worldbuilding. Her name is Megan Manzano, and she’s a contributing blogger for Virtual FantasyCon, which runs from November 1 – 8. I also guest posted on her blog on the topic of superheroes and mutants—check it out.
I’ll be a participating author on Nov. 1, during the Scifi Sunday Facebook event. Follow the link to learn more—there will be prizes from authors like me, scavenger hunts, and even a costume contest. Get out your selfie sticks!
Before I let you get to Megan’s fantastic writing, I also wanted to mention that I’ll be hanging out at the Geek Gala tonight in Charlotte, NC. Costumes aren’t required, but the theme this year is the Monster Mash. The Gala goes from 6 to midnight, so if you have your Halloween costume ready, come on out!
Now on to Megan’s worldbuilding topic.
World Building in literature is a task that draws on the deepest realms of the imagination. It’s predominantly seen in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre where authors have to answer questions like these:
- What planet is the story going to take place on? What can live on this planet? How did the characters get here?
- Should there be a palace with a king and queen? Should there be a new hierarchy all together?
- Should the world be crafted out of something I know or something entirely new?
It appears there is a lot to consider while world building and these are only some of the questions that can be asked. Depending on the genre and the plot being concocted, an author will have to hammer in all of the details.
It’s a daunting task and there are many reasons why one might want to turn away from this. They may find it too difficult, too scary, and too challenging to escape what they are used to seeing. My response is to always go for it. A writer’s mind is an expansive and growing place not bounded by the reality around them. If there’s a galaxy swirling around in there, write it down. Let all of us readers know about it as extensively as you do. Use your characters to explore the land. Use descriptions which flow with what you are trying to say. Place details within the story to be picked up like pieces of a puzzle to encompass a whole picture. By engaging in this, there are many benefits to be gained.
The first is you will be able to get a message across better in an alternative world than using the current one. The reason is because you are writing about issues out of a familiar context and harvesting a reaction from your readers. It can be hard to separate one’s self from their surroundings so immersing them into completely different ones can enhance your plot.
The second is you are diving deeper into your creativity. What you can do as a writer is being called to attention and it is up to you to push the boundaries. If you believe something exists in your universe, write it down. It can always be edited out later or changed if those ever dreaded plot holes arise. In the meantime, you never know what inspiration you’ll find and how it could guide you into other projects or stories in the future.
Thirdly, you’ll be forced to brainstorm. The more you brainstorm, the more put together your thoughts and ideas will be. You’ll have a gist of how to get from point A to point B and the journey you’ll need to take there. Though with writing, it can be unpredictable. Characters have a mind of their own. Your mind can suddenly spring to life with a brand new route to take, but nonetheless, there will be a method to the madness.
Fourthly, your reader will be exploring a type of culture or lifestyle that is different than what they are used to. It can be an eye-opening experience as well as move away from literature being set in places that are constantly used or easily accessible in terms of information.
There is some criticism against world building, specifically that it can be a lazy tool for authors to write a story or that world building doesn’t harness the skill of an author. I would say in response that including world building in a story is not what will make a story bad. There are a ton of factors which go into producing a bad piece of work. There are also a ton of factors which go into producing a solid, engaging, and thoughtful piece of work. World Building is merely a way for authors to express the story they have in their head. The benefits from creating a new world and doing it correctly could be a powerful influence on the author and their readers.
About the Author
Hello everyone! My name is Megan Manzano and I’m currently attending University in order to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in English. My goal is become a full time editor and writer. For now I stick to reading, blogging, finding ways to travel, and expressing my imagination through writing. I’ve been published in places such as Teen Ink, Everyday Fiction, and Maudlin House.
You can find my most recent short story “Static” here.