5 Tips for Building Your Story World

5 Tips by Anne Brees

Your story world adds a lot to the story, though you may not realize it. It molds your characters, shifts your plot, and gives your story those little details that makes it memorable. Once your story is written, it can be difficult to seamlessly weave in your story world. It’s better to decide where your story takes place before you write and see how it adds to the story.

  1. Is it a real or imaginary place? Both options offer a variety of pros and cons. If you chose a real place, you have the opportunity to introduce your readers to another part of the world. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor captures you in the old city of Prague and it’s one of my favorite parts of that wonderful novel. You already have all the details of your setting, you just have to research to find them. However, that means that you have to write by the already set confines of the city. If you write an imaginary place, you get to create whatever you want to fit your plot. However, that means that you have to come up with all the details yourself. In doing this, your story world can be paper thin.
  2. What is the culture? What are the traditions of the culture? What are the popular holidays? What is the traditional and modern fashion? How do people talk? What restaurant does everyone go to for different moods? Where do the popular kids go to hang out? What about the unpopular kids?
  3. What is the history? Did someone famous live here? Did someone infamous live here? Did they have some little part in a war that no one knows about except for the residents of the town? Was something invented there? Did some famous explorer cross through? Are they proud of how little has happened there?
  4. What are they proud of? Do they have a killer milk shake at that little restaurant on the corner? Did a celebrity once stand on that street corner? Was the world’s biggest/smallest/longest/shortest/etc. ___ featured there?
  5. How does your character feel about their location? Does the character love the town as much as the other residents? Is there a bit of grudging pride for what you chose for the above question? Are they afraid to leave it? Can they not wait to get out of there as soon as possible?

What do you use to build your story world?


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