Worldbuilding- It’s Not Just For Fantasy
Every time we sit down to write fiction, we are worldbuilding. The term often brings the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre to mind but I know that in my genre, Romantic Suspense, I create worlds also.
In my current book, SHARK BAIT, I created Belton Bay. It’s a nice little town on the coast of South Carolina. I had to change part of it when I had a mansion on the bluff then learned there are no bluffs in that area. My world-building hit a snag. Had it been a fantasy set elsewhere, I could have pulled it off but, on the South Carolina coastline, the options are limited to what we accept as reality.
When writing in my genre, many of the accepted norms are already in place. Homes, jobs, cars, boats are all well known to us so we don’t have to ‘rebuild the Ark’ as the saying goes. But we must adapt those items into our vision of what our setting will be.
In the Sci Fi/Fantasy genre, they do not necessarily conform to our norms. They don’t have to. They are in a world of their own creation. But a good Fantasy writer knows that he/she has to know, even if it is not directly relayed to the reader, the world’s geography, socio-political situations, climate, what is city life like versus country/rural? How do people get food, power, trash pickup? What does the indigenous wildlife look like?
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Now back to SHARK BAIT, I knew I had sharks in the book, but I needed to find out what kind would do what I needed, are they indigenous to the area? My world is a complete construction. I got to know all my characters and imagined their homes, cars, even how long a yacht should be.
But that’s research, you cry! Exactly. Even if it is just you sitting on a couch imagining the area and how it affects your character, it is research and world-building. Does your character have a religion, a denomination? Does that play into her decision making? Is the local political scene corrupt? Are the police more friendly or militaristic?
Writers are well-known for being spaced-out daydreamers, but we are hard at work behind that glassy stare. We create an entire world to play in with our characters. So give yourself credit. A huge amount of worldbuilding goes into your book.
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