How to Rule the World

How to Rule the WorldKindlesmallMy brand new world-building book is out now! Pop over to Amazon to check it out. The Kindle version is available to pre-order and will be released on 1 October.

It’s my guide to creating a believable world for your stories, no matter what medium you use to tell them or how fantastical (or even mundane) your setting. There are worksheets, writing exercises and illustrations to help you out. There is also a checklist of things you might not have considered (but probably ought to know).

Hopefully, this book will help some of you out, especially considering that it is time to start planning for NaNoWriMo. November will be here before you know it!

How to Preview the World

Cover art? Check. Blurb? Check. Words for the inside of the book? Check! It’s all coming together nicely – and here’s a sneak preview of the cover, just for you. The release is currently scheduled for October with the pre-orders coming in September. If you liked my worksheets, please check it out – it’s got even more resources to help you with your work.

It’s been a busy year for me so far with a lot of deadlines, but I’m really looking forward to this one. Stay tuned for more news soon!

Story Emporium and Other News

So this year has been a bit of a downer so far, but finally, I have writing-related good news! Issue 2 of Story Emporium (Purveyors of Steampunk & Weird Western Adventure) is coming out in August and my short story The Herald may be featured. You can check out the cover art for the magazine here.

In other news, I promise I haven’t given up on The Rage. I’m just taking a little break and rebooting my writing brain so that the next part is as good as it possibly can be. I’ll admit, I lost my way with it a little and wrote several versions of the next episode, but none of them were quite good enough. Plus, with all this summer, you’ve got to get outside while the sun is shining!

Also this year, I will be publishing my world-building book and I’m looking for people to join in with my cover reveal. Post a comment below to let me know if you’re interested.

This week’s worksheet is designed to be used over and over whenever you visit somewhere new (or old) to build up your own reference library for sensory details in places. It’s one of the things that my beta-readers often tell me needs improving. I know what the places looks and feels like, but I’ve not put enough of it into the writing. By building up a reference library, you can look back at places you’ve visited and recall more clearly how it felt to actually be there.
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Since I added a Worldbuilding Worksheet a few days ago with the aim of using your characters to help flesh out your world, I thought I’d upload a straight Questionnaire about the settings you might use in your story. Like the last one, I’ve tried to make it as comprehensive as possible, which does mean some of the boxes won’t be useful all of the time – if you use it to design a city, for example, the “Anthem” field is probably not going to get filled.
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Sometimes, the things a character eats or wears can tell you as much about the world in which they live as the character themselves. For example, a character who eats mostly plain, staple foods may be financially poor, but if they live in an isolated village, it could also be that no amount of money could possibly fix that year’s poor harvest.

The worksheet below is designed to give you some ideas about world building using the characters in the world itself. You could use it to design a single character, a family or even an entire race of people. Continue reading

Worldbuilding

I’m writing a book about worldbuilding. It’s not the only thing I’m working on, but it’s the one I want to talk about today.

So, here are my three top tips for building your own world:

  1. Show us what the world looks/smells/sounds/feels like.
  2. Make sure you know how this world works.
  3. Make sure you know why things are happening (Why not ten years ago? Why not in the next town over?).

Showing us your world is kind of an obvious step in any story. Whether it’s a fictitious setting or a real one, the very least you want to do is make the reader feel like they’re there. Without a sense of place, it can be hard to connect with a story. Even a story that paints a bleak and isolating setting can be easier to identify with than one that paints nothing at all.

Knowing how the world works is useful for consistency. If you don’t understand the rules of your own world, you won’t know when you’re breaking them. And if you do, you can count on some smart-arse reader like me to pick up on it and stop believing in your world. Of course, you don’t have to write a multi-volume treatise on the government and society of your world. Just a few basic rules is enough.

Most important is the why. Why has this war broken out now? Why is the revolution happening in that country? Why isn’t it happening somewhere else at another time? I think this is the most critical part of building a convincing world. Always ask why events are happening and why your characters believe the things they do or why they behave in a certain way.  It’s also a good way to avoid plot holes, but that’s another matter.