Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Worldbuilding: The Beginning, Not the End, of Storytelling

It's no surprise by now that I like rich layered stories, and my favorite are supernatural, fantasy, historical, and science fiction. I love the unfolding of the seemingly impossible.

Worldbuilding, the creation of vivid settings and multidimensional characters with a factual foundation, is essential to the believeability of all stories, but especially writers who write in these genres. I know writers who take this part very seriously and do vast amounts of research and intense character development to meet this goal.

Your science must feel like real science, and your history timeline must be correct...unless your story has compelling reasons otherwise.

But such steps are only the beginnnig, not the end. The paint and canvas serve the picture, not the other way around. At the core of every story should be a compelling story.

You still need a protagonist your readers will cheer on, an antagonist they will boo, as well as challenges to overcome, dramatic tension to keep the pages turning, victories to cheer, and stakes to raise. If you don't have these, the rest won't matter.

One good question to ask yourself? What is the story I'm trying to tell?

Once you can answer that, the rest makes sense.

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