World building – why?

As in previous posts I have given my thoughts on what I want to accomplish with this blog, I shall now start with something a bit more concrete.
So today’s topic will be the art of world building and why do I chose to write about it.

I love well written world and settings. As a fan of many Science Fiction and Fantasy works, I find myself looking at the history, the locales and the people that inhabit those works. One example I can give is a franchise which I love, Star Trek.
I recall myself watching Star Trek when we had the original series on TV, at the time I was mere single digits and didn’t think about it too much but I enjoyed it very much. It was only in The Next Generation that I started to enjoy the franchise more. The first thing that hooked me was the adventures and characters, later it was the morality of the show (some anvils had to be dropped). And in later years what encapsulated all was my joy of an extensive world (while with problematic continuity, still enjoyable). One which I find myself digging at lore to understand the history of the world which the characters inhabit. I believe that it was Deep Space Nine which evoked my interest in the world of Star Trek more than any. I would like to think that it had something with locale. The series itself was anchored around one spot, which enable the writers to flush out recurring elements more. Unlike an exploring ship which encounter new situations in most episodes, the single locale gave a stability to the world around it. And as such, DS9 was the most political and ambitious show of them all. It cemented various races in the show, it gave us a deeper look at the United Federation of Planets and it provided as with arc stories which revolved around all these elements.
This facet of world building made me enjoy the show even more. As while stories with good characters and plot provide enjoyment, the depth of the world in which these stories occur give way to immersion and added value.

That is why I find myself attracted to long book series or shows with arc stories. As the world is populate with interesting characters, it is their influence and relation to this world that give history that I enjoy so much (I happen to have a B.A. in history, so it might be related). This is explain my attraction with games such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and even Overwatch (true that the latter has almost no in-game context of the world, but it is rich with lore), or TV series such as Babylon 5. In the matter of books there is no question that those who offer a rich world will find themselves on my bookshelf sooner or later.

This is why when it comes to my creative process I will always work on creating the lore and history. At first I had the enthusiasm of one who creates history for the sake of building the world for a story I had in mind (which I never written down). But in later attempts I though that a world isn’t only a plot tool, it is a living organism that is inhabited by the players of the story. And as an organic being you need to take things that require quite the logistics.
For example, when you create a fantasy world you need to take geography into consideration. Like many things it has meaning, for the world shape how other perceive themselves and others. People that roam a desert will have rituals around the importance of water, and their habitat will be around those water sources. That in turn will give rise to a morality that put emphasis on trust, as one that steal water may doom others to slow death.
And you can find many examples like that, and play with the elements to one way or another. But as long as they work consistently and make sense in the world’s frame, then the reader will be more immersed in the story.

And that what I wish to have in the stories I create, immersion in the world. Knowing that while the protagonists go on their way in their own story, that the world around them will keep to exist and feed into the plot and back out to the world.


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