Sticking to Your Own Rules

Posted November 8, 2012 by elizatilton in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

One of the most important aspects of writing fantasy is creating rules: rules that govern society, magic, atmosphere, ect. Without these rules, readers won’t be able to grasp your setting and how everything works.

When BREAKING DAWN came out, a lot of fans were livid with Mrs. Meyer because she broke one of her own rules. At some point during the Twilight craze, on some blog or interview, Meyer stated that her vampires didn’t have any liquids which meant Edward could never have been able to have kids. Of course, she stated that particular rule had been taken out of context, but it didn’t matter, the damage was done.

It’s not easy creating a world and remembering every single detail about it, but it’s our job as writers to make sure we follow what we create.

So how can we keep track of everything? The easiest way is to create lists. There are a bunch of great world building templates out there. Here’s a link that breaks down the top questions you want to ask yourself

Another fun way is to play Dungeons and Dragons–tabletop. Don’t laugh, it’s a great creative exercise. When you build your character, you have to pick abilities and restrictions, and everything cost points, and your character gets a certain amount of points based on level. The restrictions are great because you can pick weird things like awkward casting, phobias or unlucky. Besides the character traits, you get to play out your mc. Talk about really getting into first person POV. The point of me blabbing about D&D is the rules. Dungeons and Dragons has it’s own settings with it’s own rules on magic. By playing D&D and using their rules, you can grasp what you need and what you don’t need in your own world.

In your world, is magic an innate ability or do you need to learn it? In the world of D&D, mages would be people that learned magic while a sorceress has the innate ability, both have limitations, and both based on the character arc.

Channel that inner nerd. Pull apart your favorite fantasy books, and see how they did it, and why you loved it. Kristin Cashore is a genius when it comes to world building, check her out.

If you have any worldbuilding tips, please comment below!

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2 responses to “Sticking to Your Own Rules

  1. I keep lists. There are too many details to remember, and if I'm not sure, I go back and read through the previous manuscripts. It's time consuming but necessary.