Writing Wednesdays

Setting: 3 Reasons All Stories Need Worldbulding

So, when you think of worldbuilding likely the first thing that comes to mind is a sci-fi or fantasy novel. While in those novels worldbuilding is an essential part of the story to create a suspension of disbelief, I believe that worldbuilding needs to be a part of every story.

  1. All Stories Have a Setting

In order to begin with the importance of worldbuilding, lets talk about something else: setting. You can’t have a story without a setting. Think about it. Would Harry Potter be the same if we knew nothing about Hogwarts? What about Silence of the Lambs? Without setting a story doesn’t seem real. We all take things in about our environment through every sense, whether we realize it or not. That said, in a story set in an actual location, worldbuilding can be as simple as looking up the weather, spying on Google Earth and putting a few pictures of your locations where you can see them while writing. The good part is, if you know the general physical characteristics of a place the inside of building, and small details like that will instantly be credible if you got the rest of the details right.

2. Every Setting is a Character

When crafting setting it is important to think about how your setting will influence your story. Trying to write a murderous story set in a bright, shining city, with no negative emotions or connotations expressed in the setting, the world will feel out of place in your story. While I’m not saying that you can’t set a murder in sunny California, you need to pay attention to how the setting is described, especially when there is a murderer lurking. Making sure that your setting tonally matches what you’re writing is a part of worldbuilding and important for all stories.

3. Knowing Your World

If you know your world, the setting of the story, it is easy to use it to trap your characters and to enhance their experience. Whether this means crafting an entirely new world, or simply looking at how setting your story in different places can change it, this is an important step in writing your stories. If, when working on setting you find that your current world is slightly wrong, you can fix it before you have a monster of a novel and have to work over every little thing to see what is not working then realize you need to change items in your setting. For example, in my current novel I’m writing it as set in Bozeman, Montana in the winter. Hunting for a serial killer is tough anyways, but when I add in the fact that there tends to be heavy snowfall, chilling temperatures, and the potential for my heroine to get caught in a snowstorm, that both ups the stakes and adds a unique element to my story.

Well, that’s about all I have for this topic at the moment. What are your opinions on worldbuilding and setting? Next week for Writing Wednesdays: 5 Tips on Writing LGBT Characters

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