Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A post on World Building by Sheenah Freitas

Sheenah Freitas is here today! You may remember when I reviewed her first book, The Chosen, last year. If not, you can click on the link to be taken to my review. Now she's back to share a little lover for her newest book, and the next in the series, The Number.

Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.

The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.

It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.

As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?

Sheenah agreed to write about one of my favorite topics for her guest post today: World Building. It's what transports us into the books we love, and keeps us there no matter what else happens. I'm so excited to see what she has to say! I'll let her take it away.


World building is one of the hardest things to do correctly when you write fiction. If you’re doing something realistic, you need to make sure that if you’re using a real place you have the details correct. It’s one thing to have a detail about a small town barely anyone has ever heard of wrong, it’s another thing entirely to have a detail about Chicago wrong. And if you decide not to use a real place, you better make sure that the fictional world works and acts like a place in the real world or else someone is going to call you on it.

As difficult as it is to create a town, it’s even more difficult to create an entire nation, let alone a world. Unfortunately, that’s what most sci-fi and fantasy authors have to say. When I take on world building, I try to think of it objectively or simply run to SimCity. I ask myself: what do people need in a civilization? There’s the obvious: food, water, a base set of rules via their government, jobs. But I think a lot of people tend to forget about the little things that really make up the structure of a civilization. If there’s no entertainment, people get bored and bored people will leave your city to go and live where there’s more entertainment (at least, according to the game Pharoh which is highly addicting). And of course where there are people, there will be religion unless you’ve stated that no one in your vast new world believes in a higher being (and a lot of people do).

I think J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant for creating Quidditch. Every culture has some sort of a sport that they play. Americans have football, most countries celebrate soccer, and cricket is hailed in most countries that were once part of the British Empire.

Even if you don’t make certain elements prominently displayed in your writing, I think it’s essential to write out somewhere in your notes the different sports, religions, races, jobs, etc. It’ll help keep your world building richer and readers won’t stop and question whether something is possible or not. Keeping readers engaged and believing in the world and the characters is something all writers strive to do.


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