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Worldbuilding

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e-Writer in Residence

  • Map with a compass

Chance Tabor | November 28, 2018

Be it a game, a book, or a movie- setting will always be incredibly important to your story. If your setting isn’t as memorable as your story, it’s time to try something new! Choosing where your story will be isn’t nearly as easy as people make it out to be, but crafting your setting can be fun in its own, uniquely challenging way!

The easiest way to go about setting a story is generally to make the framework in which your story will happen, first. This gives you plentiful freedom to do whatever you care to do in your world. Things to consider include the Religion/Religions of the world, what level technology has advanced to, if there is some kind of magic or spiritual force, the geography of the world, and what the government is like. In fictional settings, mapping your world out isn’t a bad idea, too! Not every setting has to be a generic archetype of Fantasy, Steampunk, Modern, and Sci-fi! Feel free to mix ‘genres’ however you choose- the world is quite literally your canvas!

However, sometimes simplicity can be good, too. Some of the best Urban Fantasy settings are simply ‘This is the real world, except ____,’ and the simplicity helps it. Historical fiction is very simply set in a certain, real place during a certain, real time period. This kind of simplicity benefits from being well-researched on a time period, or very thoroughly fleshing out what’s different in an urban fantasy setting.

Never, ever just give away information though- Exposition is a sign of poor writing. When explaining how something works in your setting, or how a historical event came to be, explain it through your character’s eyes. Give it context, let it come forth like a story would be told. A good mystery wouldn’t just give you all of the clues at the beginning!

Setting your story can seem like a daunting task, but there’s no reason to shy away, now that you know how! Good examples of books with interesting settings include George Orwell’s writings, Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series, and ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ by Phillip K. Dick.