Worldbuilding Tips for Fantasy and Contemporary Writers



hi guys welcome back to my channel so today I wanted to actually film a writing tips video yes I still do them on occasion when I feel like it and what better time to do it then when I'm severely lacking in sleep that's the best time to try to teach people that stuff yeah today I want to share some world building tips that I came up with one of my favorite things to write about in my stories is the world and the setting and some what places actually look like and I've been told that I do these things pretty well so I figured I would share some tips that might help you guys flush out your world to make it more immersive so my first tip is extremely obvious and that is to actually choose the setting / environment this might seem a little explanatory but if you don't know where your story is going to be set then you won't really know a lot of other details about it such as how the people dress and what sort of animals they might encounter or what the climate is like so obviously choose the environment whether that's a frozen tundra a rainforest a desert and urban environment you have to start somewhere my second tip is more for fantasy writers and that is to base your environment on a place that actually exists and I don't necessarily mean it has to be super specific like New York City but it still makes sense to create a fictional world that is based off of a real place that you already know about so I'm actually going to be using my debut novel blood afire as an example for a lot of these tips because one I'm very familiar with the environment and the world building in my own book and – shameless self-promotion anyway the main setting for blood of fire is based on the adirondacks which is in the northern part of New York which is also the area that I'm from he lived in the Adirondack area for the first 23 years of my life before I eventually moved to California so I'm pretty familiar with what the environment is like and what sort of trees there are what sort of animals there are and how the people tend to act now even though this is a fictional book and I don't name specific places and the people aren't the same in my book it still helps to give a really good idea in my mind of what I want the environment to look like for instance as in the Adirondacks things like pine trees and maple trees and just forests in general and mountains and streams and lakes they are all very prominent in butter fire and I used my personal experience and my love of the Adirondacks to really fuel the details in blood of fire to make it more realistic or at least as realistic as possible so people didn't feel like it was a fantasy world they felt like this is a place that actually could exist because it kind of does my third tip may or may not be a possibility for some people but for others it may and that is to visit the location whether it's a real location that you're talking about in your book or if it's the location that your fantasy novel is going to be based on so if you're writing a book that is supposed to be set in California but you have never been to California then you might not be able to get as detailed as you'd like there's really nothing that compares to actually going to a place and seeing it for yourself and experiencing it with all of your senses it's one thing to read about a location from someone else's perspective and the thing to actually go there yourself and to really immerse yourself in it you can take your actual experiences and have your fictional characters experience it themselves the third tip is for those who can't go to whatever place their book is based on because maybe it's a different country or just you don't have a lot of money and traveling anyplace is not really realistic for you and that is to research the location pretty much any book you write requires at least a little bit of research for instance in my book I had to do a lot of research about snakes that doesn't really have much to do with the environment except for the fact that I know that snakes do exist in the Adirondacks but because it's a fantasy book I wrote about some snakes that don't actually exist in your life but anyway if you can't visit location to look at travel books or travel guides or find YouTube videos that feature really good footage of the location so you can take notes about what you would actually see if you went there or you can read blogs and stuff like that but I would definitely mix some things that are meant more for entertainment and things that are meant to be very factual because obviously if you are watching a travel blog or reading a travel blog then you're going to see more of the highlights of like the really cool stuff but people might leave out boring facts and figures or less than desirable facts about a location that aren't as entertaining or might potentially put a negative spin on something because if you really want a world to be really detailed and immersive then you're going to have to talk about the really cool stuff but then also maybe some of the less than cool stuff or stuff that is probably bad about that place my fifth tip for realistic world building is to engage all of the senses you definitely want to talk about what environment looks like but there's so many other ways that you can experience a world use your five senses to really engage the reader in what they would experience so for instance in blood of fire I mentioned that there's pine trees which is obviously something that you can visually see but the scent of pine is very distinctive and it's actually one of my favorite scents so I know for a fact I've mentioned it somewhere in the book also there's a lot of there's a lot of bugs in northern New York because it can be a very wet and humid environment so I know I've mentioned from time to time the sound of cicadas or the chirping of crickets or the way that certain birds sound really early in the morning another really prominent thing about New York is that like I said it gets a very humid in the summer so the air itself can feel sticky and heavy and just make you feel like wet and gross whereas in the winter it gets very very cold so it also makes sense that I would describe the biting cold of a winter day or when you're at the top of a mountain or something like that my sixth tip for world-building is to think about all aspects of an environment or location not just the plants and animals but of course they are important you would also want to think about the climate and how the environment dictates how humans live and how different forms of Transportation exist in that particular environment how people dress themselves and what sort of things they would eat based on what is in the world if the location you're talking about is an island then there's probably a good chance that there is a lot of fishing or water transportation is really popular or maybe it's the only way to really get around likewise an island sort of environment would probably have a lot of fish and people would eat a lot of seafood and stuff like that another example that involves my book is that like I said in northern New York it gets very cold in the winter so it makes sense that people would really bundle themselves up and you really have to learn how to dress for winter weather it wouldn't make sense for me to talk about people wearing really lights and airy clothing or having short sleeves be popular all year-round because that unrealistic and you would die it gets really really cold in New York my seventh if is again more for fantasy writers you want to make sure that your world is still realistic enough that readers will understand what's going on and will be on board with it when it comes to fantasy pretty much whatever you want to say is the rule but there's only so far that a reader can suspend their disbelief till they get to the point where they're like no this just literally doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever so for instance if your world is a desert environment and you've done a really good job describing how hot and arid it is and that there's not a lot of foliage and this and that but you just for some reason include an area that has really big lakes bodies of water definitely exists in the desert but if you really built it up to be this very hostile hot dry environment it wouldn't make sense to just put some lakes and rivers and really big bodies of water in there for no particular reason if you did do that you would have to explain it in some way otherwise readers are going to say I don't understand why this is here except to make it fantastical some might be on board with that but there's definitely going to be people who will just say no I'm not buying into this story and my eighth tip for realistic world building is do not info-dump and this is a tip that can be used for different aspects of writing but when it comes to writing about an environment or a location or setting or whatever you don't want to just dump every single detail into four or five pages I'm sure there's plenty of books out there that do this and it's usually more of an older style you probably don't see it as much anymore but I'm sure I've read a book where there's at least four or five pages of nothing but describing the mountains and the rivers and the and that and all the stuff that I don't really care about especially not in the beginning of the book it makes a lot more sense to sprinkle the details throughout the story so the readers can pick up on things here and there and you can also enrich the story as you go along it doesn't make sense to dump it all at the beginning because they're going to get bored very quickly they'd much rather be connecting with your characters and the actual plot then you describing how the snowflakes look for like three and a half pages and doing this can also be a really good way to to signify how time is passing so for instance I believe blood of fire opens around the end of fall and we know this because valeri the protagonist is harvesting apples which generally ripen around the end of summer and into fall and then as time passes I have more opportunity to talk about the winter and then spring comes and I can talk about the early buds on the trees and what types of trees they are and of course the sound of birds with their mating calls and so on and so forth so I guess that's all I have you guys today I hope you liked some of these world-building tips and can use them to really flesh out your own story whether you're writing a contemporary set in a real place or a fantasy world that is based on someplace that you know or even if you want to create a completely fantastical environment that's set in another planet or another realm then either way you can still use these tips to flesh out the settings so that people will connect to it and feel really immersed in the story if you have any other world-building slash setting tips that I didn't talk about feel free to leave them in the comments so that other people can read them and you guys can learn from each other if you'd like to keep up with my writing endeavors on other social media I will link those all below in the description if you'd like to check out my debut self-published novel but a fire that will also be linked below in the description and if you are from the Adirondacks or have been to the Northeast United States then maybe you'll read this book and see some things that you recognize so until next time see ya

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