Worldbuilding Tips

Tales of Old to Fill in the Gaps

Dragon windowThis is the important back story that takes a great deal of planning only to be used in glimpses in the writing. Yet the background determines the current setting. It can also influence the future sequences of events. This is the omnipresent part of writing where actions have already been set. Allegiances made, agreements broken, and old grievances that are not laid to rest. There is something worthy of time in these actions. Where civilisations have come and gone, to create the building blocks of the fantasy realm. They hold a mysterious key to the past, and this key opens the door to many layers creating depth in the story.

Immerse Yourself in the Past

This may sound rather mundane and I apologise in advance for boring anyone. Yet there are a few important steps with creating tales of old, and by far the hardest seems to be the one of letting go. Before I delve into that one there is a huge step to be taken before a word is written for the first draft of the story. If I were to count back between all the wrong turns, it would have taken about ten years to gather snippets and think about what would fit where. Yes, I spent ten years of thinking about what happened in the past, and how the civilisation grew into its current form. All this before I had even begun the first draft. Where did the people come from? Where did they settle, what was the food source, the dangers, and wars fought before my characters came into being? There was a great deal of thought given to conflict and the changes that led from this.

Stand Back and Let it Go

Why create a world before beginning one? Because history shapes the real world, and this in turn will impact on how a fantasy realm develops. There will come a point at which all that thought gathering and loose ends will be set aside. This is where the story stands, right in the middle of what has been and what could be. There is no need to revisit the past, let it sit to the side and trickle through. If you have taken the time to think about the past then it will flow into your writing as an incidental afterthought.

Share Just Enough to Stir Interest

I cannot stress this point enough, share a glimpse of the past when the story takes you there but hold off on the details. A lengthy explanation, more often than not, will weigh the story down to a halt. The idea is to add small hints and let the story stay in the action with a steady pace. A simple, yet small detail can add volumes without the need to say too much.