World building is a difficult task. Speculative fiction opens up so many possibilities that any other genre wouldn’t offer, but there are challenges that present themselves in the process of doing it. First you have to make your snowflake, forming a complex structure from multiple questions building on top of a base element. Then, as you build it, you have to figure out just how far you can really take it before the audience tunes out. You get both of these right, you should have a pretty solid world to give to people. This groundwork is something you need to figure out before you start writing, because after that point you’re going to find that trying to keep track of it all in the process of moving forward is going to be harder to do. You don’t build your ship as it’s on the water, that’s never going to work in your favor.
Once you get that all constructed, however, there are still some things you’re going to want to keep in mind. Even though the world itself might be everything you want it to be, making people see that world and giving it to them in a way they can process is still a tricky situation. Presentation is, in itself, part of how you make that world come to life for the people who don’t have the advantage of seeing it as clearly as you do. A lot of this comes down to simply writing well, but there are still some things which are unique to speculative fiction because of that challenge of building a world mostly from scratch. You have to find a way to feed them that world, a bit at a time, and make sure it produces exactly the effect you want.
How do you present your world to that audience? How do you make them see it the way you do without getting in your own way? That can take some practice… Continue reading World Building Pt. 3 – Presentation