A Whole New World

Grace Cavanaugh, Staff Writer~

worldbuilding-wordle4

A common misconception in my family is that writing is easy. When I complained to my mother that I did not have any spending money on a family vacation a few years ago, her flippant answer was that I should just publish a story I wrote in 9th grade on Amazon and start selling it for a dollar or so. What I have tried explaining to her, and many others, is that writing is not as easy as people think. There is a lot of time, energy, and imagination that needs to go into a written work, whether fictional or not. However, that does not always mean that it has to be tedious or boring.

Worldbuilding is probably one of my favorite aspects of writing. As a writer, I specifically only deal with fiction, and not just because I am too lazy to do research. Writing in fiction allows the author to explore their own imagination. I do not have to rely on history or other people in order to create my world, characters, or story. It is mine to do with what I wish.

With worldbuilding, you can really start from anywhere, but it is easiest to start with what you know. The first world I built for a story was based off of our own world. The rules and laws of science still (mostly) applied, and there was no magic. It was inspired by James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, probably resembling it a bit too closely, but it was an easy world. Of course, I had to maneuver around my lack of knowledge concerning geography, but it was fiction; I could do whatever I wanted.

The next world was a bit harder. This time, I was inspired by Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. This time, I set it on a planet very different from our own, but it was also 7th grade: I was 12 years old and had only started dabbling in writing. The world was incomplete, my dimensions were off, and I did not even have a proper map built. It would be another few years before I had properly built that one little island in a world that has now been established beyond it.

The thing about fictional worlds is that they need lots of rules. For instance, take a story idea I have been playing with for years. It features a particular kind of magic that I have never been able to work out. I knew how I wanted it to go, and how I wanted to write it, but I needed set rules and regulations for it. The idea is approximately four years old, and I have only just now figured out how all the magic works.

Worldbuilding is a lot of fun, but it is also fairly draining, and very hard to stop once you have started. I would suggest that you set aside a bunch of free time before starting to work out specifics, because it will take a large amount of time. Although, save for actually completing a novel, figuring out how a world works is one of the most satisfying feelings a writer can have.