“Worldbuilding” is a term you’ll hear from a lot of writers — especially when you’re talking about the science fiction and fantasy genres. Great authors can create a living, breathing environment for their stories, invite readers into another world, and make us homesick for a place we’ve never been.
Before you write your next story, make sure to give your characters’ world the attention it deserves. Consider worldbuilding one of your first priorities.
Tips for creative worldbuilding
Struggling to create a world for your characters? Try some of these strategies for worldbuilding:
1. Read about other authors’ worlds.
The tiniest element of another writer’s creating could inspire your world. Take note of how the writer shows, rather than tells, elements of her world.
2. Watch and analyze movies.
Worldbuilding isn’t just for books. Try Tombstone, Blade Runner, Waterworld or How to Train Your Dragon.
What did the movie-makers do to make the world come alive? Pay attention to the details that add life and depth to the story.
3. Mix and match different worlds.
Take two ideas from different places, put them together and add your own twist to create a whole new world. This is especially helpful if you don’t know how to get started.
4. Draw a map of your story’s world.
It doesn’t have to be fancy; a quick sketch will do. Then add more detail to flesh it out and help you visualize what you’re creating.
5. Think about the history of the world.
What kinds of people live there? Are they like you and me? What makes them different?
6. Consider what kinds of flora and fauna live in your world.
Tame animals? Wild, unexplored forests or other landscapes?
7. Outline your world’s background.
What kind of technology does your world have? What is the government like — or is there one? What is the culture like? Do its inhabitants have fads and styles?
Fantasy books with great worldbuilding
Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of technological and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (collectively known as speculative fiction or science fiction/fantasy)
In its broadest sense, fantasy comprises works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians, from ancient myths and legends to many recent works embraced by a wide audience today, including young adults, most of whom are represented by the works below.