Don’t Forget to Live: Worldbuilding is Being

currently playing on my iPod: Blood Sings by Suzanne Vega

I don’t always do writery posts, but today I’m feeling it. So to those who follow for travelish   thoughts, my apologies.

I say I’m feeling it, because I am. I am worldbuilding. Starting a fresh fantasy novel is all about the feels.

To craft a place that sings of WOW THIS FEELS SO REAL, you must do a bit of body-snatching. Imagine you are the character and close your eyes.

What do you hear? Wind whistling past your ears. A crunch in the snow behind you, like a small creature foraging. The branches of a nearby pine scratching together, the ice on the needles clacking like knitting needles.

What do you smell? The wet scent of snow. The herbed wax your father made to protect your lips when you go hunting. Someone’s hearth fire.

What do you feel? Your exposed fingertips burn in the cold. Numbing snow leaking into your roughly patched right boot. The itchy scarf grandmother made that you wear even though you hate it because she is gone now.

You get the idea.

But isn’t just using your senses. To develop a world that feels real, you must arrange a culture that rings true. What are your character’s priorities? Paying the rent or honor in battle above all? Are children valued? How about status?



Every character in your new world must have a believable motivation that works with the rest of the population. Like gears clinking together, the priorities of your characters make the world move, function. And though motivations and priorities can certainly change, be careful with this, writers. Readers want to KNOW your character. They want to be able to guess how he/she will act. It must ring true according to their makeup.

Worldbuilding ties all the facets of writing together. You must have characters that make sense in the place you create. They must FEEL like real people and experience life like real people.

So get on that body-snatching thing, authors. Possess your character and JUST BE for a while. Think like they think. Sense what they sense.

Good luck!

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