So you’re at that point. You got an epic story going, you have all your characters fleshed out, and you’re raring to go. However, just as you’re about to put pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard, you stop. You hesitate.
You have no idea what kind of world your story is in.
And here lies the importance of worldbuilding.
The world your story is set is just as important as the characters themselves, because the world is going to affect their mindsets, ethics and morals. It is also unlikely to change —not without some sort of grand force acting upon it, so your world is a crucial anchor point to your story.
Let’s whip out an example. If your protagonist is say, from a race of light elves that are despised by the humans, it’s very unlikely that they’ll befriend a human without any sort of suspicion. Societal laws, and social conducts will frown heavily upon their friendship, and the prejudice would be staggering. Of course, it not the characters’ fault, it’s just the way the world is.
Bringing this a bit closer to home… Think about real life examples: the way that the media glorify certain types of celebrities, or how specific resources are sparse in one country, but bountiful in others, and so on. It’s staggering how much it affects us.
Of course, as a writer, you pick and choose the information you reveal and show to the reader; never write unnecessary things, after all. However, having a firm grasp of your world will not only make your story more believable, but will also help you in the long run in terms of consistency. (What? Suddenly you have a laser gun in your pocket? How can this be? We’re in Medieval England!)
Take a few moments to flesh out your world; you’ll be surprised by how fun it is. Your readers will definitely pick up on your enthusiasm too.
Below are a couple of links that’ll help get you thinking about things you may have missed.
And of course, if you’re stuck certain specifics, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.