Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Of course, the more differences to our own world you introduce, the more you need to focus on getting those details absolutely right — but you need to do it in such a way that they almost fade into the background so the reader is instead focusing on the characters and the story.
When I first began writing, my solution was to wing it.
The problem was that I constantly wrote myself into corners. If you make enough of these kinds of shifts over the course of a novel, it begins to show. Here are the core principles for my novel The Arm of the Stone: This is how I usually get book ideas: In the dream, my friend traveled to a place where magic was possible only because technology was rigorously restricted.
I was intrigued by the question of what sort of world that would be. Would the restriction be based on a natural law—magic and technology are intrinsically incompatible—or on an ideology—people only think they are?
What kind of lifestyle would that create?
What mechanisms of enforcement would be involved? I decided to make the incompatibility between magic and technology a belief, rather than a law of nature.
Belief systems are a fascination of mine, and the idea of an anti-tech ideology that might or might not be based on truth seemed to offer more plot possibilities than a natural law. I was then faced with the question of why such a belief should arise.
There had to be some past experience of rampant technology, an evil memory that had become a fundamental part of the belief system. I considered several possibilities: It seemed to me that the lifestyle of my anti-tech world would be more or less medieval—not just because anti-tech ideology would force it to remain a pre-machine culture, but because the ideologues, in their fervor, would cripple the practice of technology beyond what was really necessary.
Granted, the generic medievaloid world is a major fantasy cliche. In my world, the stasis had a clear—and artificial—cause, which I thought provided a sufficiently different take on medievalism.
I should say that not everyone agrees. I had the ideology, then, and the lifestyle. I needed an organization that would embody the anti-tech belief system—and enforce it, since repressive beliefs need a lot of policing. I like to use real-world models whenever possible; I think an imaginary world gains depth not just by being strange and different, but also by being recognizable.
Because I wanted my anti-tech ideology to have a strong religious flavor, I decided to base my organization on the medieval Christian church. Thus the Order of Guardians was born. It has a central seat of power, like the Vatican. Its members receive training and take vows, as in a religious order.
It governs by means of Dioceses, controlled by the equivalent of Archbishops, and parishes, administered by the equivalent of priests.
It has scriptures, in the form of the Books of Limits, which set forth the precise means by which technology must be restricted.After 20 years writing about the peculiarities and evolution of the English language, I stopped suddenly and finally early in Truth be told, after issues of .
PLAYBOOK Building Products Using Data. Tools, techniques and guidance for building world-class products. World building tips: Writing engaging settings World building tips often focus on fantastical genres such as fantasy and sci-fi because they entail creating worlds wholly other to our own.
Yet it’s important to create immersive, interesting and credible setting, whatever your genre. Randy Bomer, author of Building Adolescent Literacy in Today's English Classrooms, is a leader in secondary English/Language Arts teaching whose goals have always been to connect research to classroom practice and to make a literate life possible for every student.
I critique the writing advice that frequently lands us in that position, and advocate for world building beyond the immediate needs of what the audience will experience on the page. Continue Reading →. Author Joshua David Bennett is a scotch lover, history enthusiast, graphic artist, and world traveler.
His first novel, Seacaster, is a Caribbean-Aztec fantasy that tells the story of a young man at war with the magic coursing through his veins.