Building a Fictional World


Video from TedEd. Go to the link, and you'll find further “thinking” or discussion resources also.

I started thinking about world building only yesterday, thanks to a late in the day prompt by a workshop author putting together a large writing course in piecemeal or on-the-go iterative fashion. Before then I'd been convinced that my story ideas were based around people and concepts as mysteries. No need or request from the course for world-building as such.

Which was good. For months now I'd thought the series ideas I'm working on didn't contain a hugely fictional new world – it's set in current day urbania, nothing different there. Schools, houses, sports fields, parks, shops. Not that great a need to build anything over top.

Which fit my current writing regime well. When I first started writing, I wrote fantasy. I spent weeks building a world of culture, politics, magic and rule sets. And loved it. I realised the risk in actual writing output some time later – creating a world can become quite addictive, perhaps the only ability to play true God.

Moving genres I pushed myself off the habit. My stories no longer required large areas of world creation. Just a few floor plans, occasionally. And some background knowledge on law and psychology.

Yesterday my story ideas altered with the request that the participants in this course go back and build the world mysteries. Previously convinced I had no need to do too much, I fought the notion for some time.

After watching this video the fugginess that had allowed this shut-off thinking was wiped away. There are some good quick questions in the video, just enough to drive out some recognition that I do have a fictional world in there that requires me (if not the future reader eventually) to know. I'll do just enough exploration to set the world spinning.

Yes, there are some world mysteries there. Time to play.


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