|Photo credit: Kansas Poetry (Patrick) on Flickr|
So this is something I’ve really had to think about lately, while revising one of my WIPs and preparing to revise another WIP, which is also in need of major world-building.
Once you’ve established your world-building elements, whether it’s technology, magic, setting, culture, etc., step two is to isolate each of those major elements and think about how it affects your protag's world.
For example, if you’re incorporating some form of magic into your world, you need to think about the implications. Does everyone use magic? If so, is it considered normal? If so, is it considered unnatural or weird for someone to not use magic? If this is a more modern-day setting, do they have technology that works with the magic, or are they two very separate entities? Do they cancel each other out?
This works the same way with technology or fun gadgets. Say you have a Sci-Fi world with a technology that extends lifespan. How does that affect population growth? Does everyone have access to that technology? Is it free, or extremely expensive, so only the wealthy can afford it? How does this affect society’s perception of youth and old age? Does it affect how society views illness, whether chronic, terminal, or the flu?
The ripple effect demonstrated here, to me, is key to effective and believable world-building. Every element of world-building you write into your novel has some sort of influence on your characters’ world—and sometimes it takes a little extra brainstorming to realize that any one element has more of an effect than you may have originally imagined when you first dreamed up the element.
Can you think of any ripple effect world-building examples from a book, movie or TV show?
Have you considered the ripple effect of your worldbuilding? Writer @Ava_Jae discusses this important step. (Click to tweet)
"Once you’ve established your worldbuilding elements...think about how it affects your protag's world." (Click to tweet)