Fear is a powerful tool to use in all parts of your speculative fiction story, including the world-building. Injecting some fearful elements into your science fiction or fantasy world increases tension, conflict, and ensures your world-building integrates perfectly with your plot. Here are five ways to use fear in your world-building!
Note: When creating societies, you might be tempted to say “Wait, I’ll make them biologically incapable of fear! Tada!” However, since fear is a basic motivating factor of all humanity, removing that from your created culture will make them alien and very difficult to relate to. You have lost a major aspect of reader identification. Now, if your point is to alienate your readers from this other culture, then you’re on the right track! [...]
Maybe it’s all the green from St. Patrick’s Day yesterday, or maybe I’m just tired of being in the frozen North where green things don’t really show up until mid-April, but today, plants are taking over the blog. Consider this one of those world-building/plotting mash-ups to give you a fresh perspective as you take on your weekend!
Note: this is slightly ironic because, despite two years of teaching basic botany, my personal plant-caring skills are less than awesome. However, I love finding ways to use plants in stories. At least they’ll thrive somewhere! [...]
All right, I’m still going forward with the Fundamentals of Fiction: Inside Out, but my world-building side has been itching to make a comeback, so why not do both?
I gotta admit, in my other life as a fiction writer, love is a must in my stories. Even if it’s not the focal point, romantic entanglements offer ways to mess with character motivations and complicate plot points like nothing else. Now, in the speculative fiction world, romance can be viewed with suspicion–I was right there griping when paranormal romance starting ‘invading’ the urban fantasy section of the bookshelves. How dare it disturb the purity of science fiction and fantasy? [...]
You’ve now finished your first draft–or you’re getting pretty close to it! Or maybe you’re right in the middle, deep in the trenches, excited that you finished NaNoWriMo or hit your personal deadlines, but with no idea that after fifty thousand words the novel would just. Keep. GOING. WHEN WILL IT EVER BE DONE?
In any case, it’s a great time to relax, sit back, and do a world-building integration check-up. This can be a welcome break from the daily word count grind and a fun way to celebrate your awesome creativity. All the while, you’ll figure out how to use elements like setting, superpowers, and space ships to make your story stand out from the crowd. [...]
When you bring up world-building, one of the first things that comes up is language. People ask if you’ve made up your own language, or if you’re going to, or how you should do it.
Now, if you want to make up languages, go ahead! I’m not stopping you. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the world of phonemes, morphemes, etc. However, if you want to focus more on getting words onto paper, I’d suggest a different route.
The different between a language and a dialect can be subjective. [...]