A Whole New World(Building)

If you’re a writer, like me, you probably have your experience with world-building. Even those of us who write realistic fiction have to build our worlds, right? We have to explain to our reader (without droning on about it or info-dumping) how our world works, even if our story is set in present-day on Earth and it’s not alternative history.

For me, unless my story is super straightforward, I consider what I’m working on to be Real-World Fantasy. It gives me the freedom to make rules for how MY Earth works. More often than not, I stick to the rules we’re all familiar with because I’ve mostly written Young Adult and New Adult Romance up until recently.

However, a lot of my stories take place in fictional towns. Or fictional high schools. Those settings need to be built so that my readers will believe they are real when they read the story that is set in these places.

For example – JUST A DUMB SURFER DUDE 1-3 had Dextrus Academy as the backdrop for a lot of the story, and though unnamed, the tiny little Vermont town where all the characters lived was fictional as well.

Even in a realistic, real-world setting, I had to give rules and backstory so that readers could feel immersed in the setting and find the characters believable.

World-building is done by almost every author in almost every fiction book that is written.

It’s the story that determines how much world-building is needed. High Fantasy will require much more world-building than realistic fiction set in a fictional high school, obviously.

Quickly, so as to not lose your interest, but to give you some idea about world-building if you’re new to it, things that need to be figured out are:

  1. Climate/Environment
  2. Geography
  3. Resources (trade, currency, natural resources, farming, etc.)
  4. Has your world changed over time? How much time?
  5. How much of your world do you need to show to tell the story in the book you are writing?
  6. Does the environment/terrain affect your story/characters?
  7. Population size, density, class system, races, ethnicities, species, languages, war/peace, etc.
  8. History of your world
  9. How is your world ruled?
  10. Religion and politics.

I could go on and on…

My next book (coming March 25th, 2022) is POSSIBLY TEXAS and is set in…you guessed it…Possibly, Texas. This is a fictional town, and though set in the real world that we all know, it’s “quirky.” The citizens and the town itself are run by different rules from time to time.

Since it’s set in the real world that we all know, a lot of things were already figured out for me. I didn’t have to worry as much about language, religion, currency, laws, politics, and so forth.

I had to focus on the terrain and geography of the town.

The history and mythology of the town.

Each character’s backstory, how they came to be in Possibly, and what their purpose was in town.

I had to figure out each business in town, who owned and operated it, how it worked, and what service it provided–as well as why.

Who runs the town? Who’s in charge? Do they have a common religion in town? Where do the kids go to school? How do they get utilities and services such as groceries and gas?

In the end, I created a fictional town that worked and ran in a way that would be familiar to readers…but quirky enough to whisk them away on an adventure. To feel that while they have one foot in reality, they’ve stepped through the looking glass. I wanted readers to think:

What have I gotten myself into…and how do I get more?

I would like to invite you on a short walk down Two-Mile Trail.

As we round the wooded bend, we’ll hear a vaguely familiar tune coming from the AMOR speaker set up on the town sign.

Maybe we’ll remember where we’ve heard the song before…maybe we won’t. But we’ll know we know it from somewhere.

Then it’s just a short stroll over Lovelorn Pass Bridge, that someone might be jumping off of and into Susurrus Creek below, and we’ll be in Possibly proper.

If the mystic in the circus tent off of the town square and the giant pirate ship don’t confuse you too much, maybe we’ll explore downtown?

So, come with me on an adventure. Visit Possibly, Texas.

It’s quite possibly the best place to be.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase