World Building

Hai! I need help with worldbuilding. Mostly with how to present it in my book. have most of my basic stuff (Religion, where the regions/kingdoms are and SOME of the climates) My point is. Once I have EVERYTHING figured out. How do I translate it into my story?? How do I convey what I’m tryig to say without beingto straight fprard or taking 10000 years to say it??

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Definitely DO NOT info dump. That’s a huge peeve of a lot of readers.

Honestly? Write your protagonist already in the world knowing what they know, and present it that way. The reader will catch on the further they become immersed in the story.

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Thank You !!

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Of course :slight_smile:

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Welp I was gonna say exactly what @Makaylasophia said haha. Trust your readers to be able to pick up what is important. And if it’s important to your story, no doubt your MC will interact or deal with it more than once, so the readers will pick it up.

Plus, you can always expand things in second draft if needed.

Though if you use certain terms, I recommend giving a word or two about what it is. Or referring to it so the readers know.

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I concur with Makayla. Sprinkle the world building whenever your reader/MC needs it to deal with the plot. If you info dump, not only is it overwhelming and dense, but it’s also unlikely your reader will remember all the finer points. Whereas if you spread the information throughout the book as the character needs it, your reader will understand its relevance and take it on board.

So don’t be afraid to have an in-depth, well developed world. That’s a good thing for you as a writer. But hand it out piece by piece. :smiley:

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Thank You:)[quote=“Carolyn_Hill, post:6, topic:406, full:true”]
I concur with Makayla. Sprinkle the world building whenever your reader/MC needs it to deal with the plot. If you info dump, not only is it overwhelming and dense, but it’s also unlikely your reader will remember all the finer points. Whereas if you spread the information throughout the book as the character needs it, your reader will understand its relevance and take it on board.

So don’t be afraid to have an in-depth, well developed world. That’s a good thing for you as a writer. But hand it out piece by piece. :smiley:
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Thank You

I know it’s already been said but I think it always needs repeating: Spread it out, spread it out, spread it out. Don’t dump it all at once.

Also use only what you actually need for the reader to understand the book. You could have every last detail of your world plotted out, but you might not actually need to use all of it in that particular book. So keep the world building relevant to the plot of that book. Anything else either leave out or mention very briefly.

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Sorry to resurrect a dead thread but I didn’t want to start a new worldbuilding thread only to have it locked, deleted, or merged. My question for other writers is what are your favorite inspirations for worldbuilding.

Do you take cues from Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter? What real world cultures do you draw inspiration from?

My favorite inspirations come from Dungeons and Dragons, Critical Role, and other role playing games. I go a little overboard at times but worldbuilding is one of my favorite things to do.

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Resurrection is always encouraged :slight_smile:

I love learning about worlds as the character learns but also? Feels more organic and it’s an easier read if I’m reading about someone who already knows the world and I pick up things as they interact with it.

That’s a lot of what I did for TOOD. TWEfA is kinda a mix because Dakota KNOWS things but also WHAT she knows is more often than not a lie so she has to relearn some things.

But as for inspiration uh… Dark Souls. You can still see the influence if you turn your head and squint. Shadow of the Colossus - kinda. Uh… A lot of video games, actually.

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I love how immersive a lot of video game worlds are. It’s the visual aspect of them I think. Especially the high fantasy ones.

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For the first topic of this thread: Don’t ever think you have to show all of it. Be prepared to have bits never known by your reader and some things can be shown through more than just descriptions. For the age/time setting, the language you use can convey that, opinions characters voice can show how some topics are treated, whether the writing is colloquial or formal can show the social standing of the character etc. Think about what you have and how that can be shown in more creative ways.

For the inspiration topic:
Fairytales, myths, pop culture, a degree in archaeology (mostly focused on Near East, Mediterranean, South America, Australia, Africa and China)
Also a heap of biology. My winged/birdish folk have birdish tendencies and my general opinion and study of bird behaviour influenced them. It also goes a lot into how my environments are formed, because nature always finds great ways to justify absurdity. (Absolutely no way for a thing to survive in a place? THINK AGAIN PUNY HUMAN, have a deep sea tubeworm or anaerobic bacteria).

Or I just go lol socks r fun and have a village on a dresser top. And socks in everything, because socks r fun.

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I would alter this slightly and say: Do not info-dump in a boring fashion. I think infodumping is useful and can save a lot of time if you can do in a manner that doesn’t make the reader’s eyes glaze.

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Or do a little bit at a time to make it more manageable.

My favourite method of conveying bits of world is actually through dialogue or world-appropriate idioms. Having characters comment or disagree about some aspect of the world that is relevant to them is a good way to introduce things IMO in a more engaging way than flat-out describing it.

My newest work has just been plagued by a very chatty (obnoxious) tourist character that allows for a lot of world-info to come through his speech. It also shows more through the way other characters relate to him and his observations or demands, highlighting personal differences as well as cultural ones. He and his attendant also have a massive effect on the society he visits and the story shows the ripple effect of his novelties in the palace effecting the lives of everyone in the country. Thus world building through reaction which keeps it relevant to the story as the reader goes along.

Which is the most important thing: Keep it relevant. If the characters never have a reason to question or observe the intricacies of your plumbing system, don’t squeeze it in.

Also things like commenting on the texture and colour of every dang piece of furniture in a place. DON’T. Unless your character is some kind of material enthusiast, avoid trying to describe absolutely everything. It slows your story down and readers aren’t going to remember that the rug was plush, 4’ pile with orange and blue spots, the couch had green and red stripes in a thick silk, a breeze stirred the purple and puce burlap curtains like the flutter of a butterfly wing…
which reminds her of the time that she and her brother were out as children playing in the wildflowers and their whole family was there and dreamy Fred made her laugh with a sneeze, and she has some emotions about that…
and there’s an obscure plant in the corner and a smell of burnt cabbage and the desk feels like polished walnut…
Then throw in another brief pause because there’s a picture of the virgin goddess of rusty spoons and your character has to spiel about the entire history of the rusty spoon religion because it’s there and every third tuesday in May she visits the rusty spoon temple and maybe she’ll become priestess of rusty spoons but probably not.
…then the desk draws were hard to open and had a fancy inlay with 3 curls and 4 flowers, and a strand of not-quite-blonde hair had to be moved, and her hand was slender and off-white all just to get a pen and leave that room, never to see it or its clashing decor, the goddess of rusty spoons, or any relevance from that childhood memory, ever again.

If you do that with every single space occupied by the character it will get tedious. The temptation is there to indulge your readers senses in each setting and give them a full picture, but nice as it is at the time, it is a waste of valuable plot progression and important details get lost when everything is given the same amount of description.

Well, you do that by writing. You’re literally asking, ‘How do I write a fantasy novel?’
You can not ask that question, unless you want the answer: it’s very difficult and takes a long time.

Yes, the way you do is the ‘iceberg method’, ‘show don’t tell’, and many other things. Make sure to lace it throughout the novel/story, rather than large sections or five pages of going over premise or geo or whatever.

If you have a lot to ‘get in’, for example, a few things can help. Prologue, flashbacks, ‘name dropping’, thus letting the reader connect the dots [of the world/building], as it were. And, many other things, as always.

If you have the world ‘built’ and you know what the plot is and thus what kind of book it is and so on, then I suggest you read as many like-minded novels, etc. as you can. If it’s a high fantasy or urban high, akin to The Hobbit, for example, or maybe Percy Jackson, then read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Northern Lights/Golden Compass, Coraline, Percy Jackson, and anything else that may be connected, either in style, prose, construction, or otherwise. You will learn a lot doing this, and if you’re a fast reader, it won’t take too much time.

Other than that, read a lot (of non-novels) and write a lot. Just keep writing, as Gaiman suggests.

I rather like the adage or axiom: Write the first draft with your heart and the second with your head.