Aspiring author and random thinker

On Writing: World Creation

I am currently reading a book titled ‘How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy’ by Orson Scott Card. Needless to say, this is an incredibly useful book that broadens your horizons when writing either of these genres. However, it also includes a great deal of information that would help in any other genre as well, yet not as much relevant information as for science fiction and fantasy.

It has come to my attention that the way ‘Book of Kayal’ has been written was rather unusual for an experienced writer, partly because I was new to the whole writing scene and partly because I started writing before knowing what the book was about (Discovery writing as mentioned before). Greatly interested about analyzing my own process and its development, I started thinking about how different concepts of my book developed. World creation was simply one of the first things I thought about.

‘Book of Kayal’ started with only one idea/concept which the story revolves around, an art called runecrafting which helped enhance individual attributes. In other words, a man could be made stronger by etching a certain word in his skin. Abilities and levels of runes differed greatly. At first, the story was haphazard at best – during the first unpublished book titled ‘Rise from Exile’ – and was loosely based on this concept. Instead, I focused on creating a defined set of species which lived in Nosgard, the main continent where the story took place. The idea of runecrafting was quickly demoted to a system which was only loosely mentioned and poorly explained. Instead of creating the caste system I hoped to make, runecrafting was a used only as a way to justify the power of certain characters. What replaced runecrafting was the societal struggles between the different kingdoms and races which eventually led to a civil war where an exiled kingdom regained its liberty through force. The story then changed yet again, focusing on war and battle loosely based on the four horsemen of the apocalypse, an idea which always fascinated me. Then it was changed to the benevolent ruler.

All this focus-shifting that took place in the first two books made these two volumes tremendously confusing and dense. The world of ‘Book of Kayal’ was accidentally complete by ignoring all rules to the writing of fantasy, or writing as a whole. Nevertheless, all this cramming made me somehow develop a detailed history of the land along with a great deal of cultures, habits, organizations, societies, interaction…etc. Even mild things such as weather were mentioned because it simply seemed to set a certain mood which I wanted to convey, something I recently discovered was critical to initially come up with.

In short, there are infinite ways of creating your own fantasy or science fiction world, and none of these ways are wrong. Unless you put an active effort into observing your surroundings and profoundly thinking about the reasons why things are as they are, you will likely need to start discovering your world by writing and hope that you would quickly come across hurdles and inconsistencies that would force you to rethink certain elements of your world. Without doubt, it is a far better process if you think about what you want your world to be like before writing, but that would still not guarantee that you would come up with the world you want and overcome all illogical constructs.


3 responses to “On Writing: World Creation

  1. Shermie Rayne August 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I’m glad to hear you liked Card’s book. I almost bought it the other day; I’ll need to get my hands on a copy soon! Thanks!


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