So everyone has been giving writing tips this week. They've all said some really great things, and I color myself lucky to be blogging with them. I'm going to talk a little bit about world-building. Not like, full-blown into it or anything, but just a few tips I've learned as I've penned my novels that occur in different worlds.
1. Start slow and small. I know, I know, This goes against everything you've ever heard. But when you're building a world, it's a delicate balance. You don't want to A) drop your reader into a world they can't figure out or B) take the crucial first pages to explain everything.
You just need to give me enough to know that the world I'm reading operates by different rules. I need time to figure out how things work, so give me something but not too much.
Let's compare to the movie Monsters, Inc. (Yeah, okay, I've seen it about 40 times this week. Thank you, OnDemand.) It starts out with a child sleeping in bed. Then a monster comes in--this is a hint that we're in a different world. Then we get a glimpse of what the monsters do.
The movie starts slow and small, acclimating you to the new world. You should do that in your book too.
2. Lead me along. This is an aspect of any good storytelling, but especially when building a new world/culture. Place clues and new-world items in key spots to draw attention to them. Take my hand and lead me through the story.
Not push. Not pull. Lead.
3. Assume the reader will need to be told. Again, you've probably heard the opposite of this. But when world-building, make sure that if things are important to your character, your laws, your world, that you let the reader know explicitly. We don't exist in your world. You, as the author, know much more than we do. So tell us what we need to know. Just don't tell us twice.
This is vital information we need to know that drives the plot forward.
Okay, enough Monsters. Have you had to write a new world before? What tips do you have to add to these?