The Building Blocks of a Novel, Part 1: World Building

The Building Blocks of a Novel, Part 1: World Building

Writing a novel is hard work. Everyone who has written a novel or tried to write one (or several) would most likely agree with that.

Much of the struggle today—besides from the writer’s fear of failure or judgment or feeling like a fraud or the like—is based in overcomplicating things. The fictional world the story is set in has to be rich in details, the characters complex and fully fleshed out, the scenes meticulously described, the characters’ actions explained so the reader gets what the writer wants to say or show, and so on.

That’s enough to get anyone overwhelmed.

There is, however, a way to make the process of writing a story a lot easier (at least in the beginning so you have a place to start because starting is the first step to actually getting somewhere). This solution I’m talking about is to simply break everything down into the most basic building blocks of a novel.

What is it that a novel truly needs? A world, a cast of characters, and a story/plot. This is the foundation of every novel and it is the place to start (you can figure out everything else later).

In this post, I’ll be writing about world building, the place it has in the novel, why it’s an important part, and give you tips on how to develop it to fit your novel.

An Introduction to the Building Blocks of a Novel

An Introduction to the Building Blocks of a Novel

Writing a novel is hard work. Everyone who has written a novel or tried to write one (or several) would most likely agree with that.

Much of the struggle today—besides from the writer’s fear of failure or judgment or feeling like a fraud or the like—is based in overcomplicating things. The fictional world the story is set in has to be rich in details, the characters complex and fully fleshed out, the scenes meticulously described, the characters’ actions explained so the reader gets what the writer wants to say or show, and so on.

That’s enough to get anyone overwhelmed.

There is, however, a way to make the process of writing a story a lot easier (at least in the beginning so you have a place to start because starting is the first step to actually getting somewhere). This solution I’m talking about is to simply break everything down into the most basic building blocks of a novel.

What is it that a novel truly needs? A world, a cast of characters, and a story/plot. This is the foundation of every novel and it is the place to start (you can figure out everything else later).

In this post, I’ll give a short introduction to these three building blocks (they will be more fleshed out in a series of coming posts) and additional resources of how you can start working on them right now.

Setting: 12 Questions to Develop Your Story’s Setting

Setting: 12 Questions to Develop Your Story’s Setting

A great setting can offer much more to a story than just a place where characters move around and talk to each other. A great setting that’s used in the right way can add to the tone and mood you want to create in your story.

In this blog post, I’ve compiled 12 questions to help you develop your story’s setting.

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 5: Discrediting the Witness

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 5: Discrediting the Witness

One of the biggest reasons J. K. Rowling turned the fans of her Harry Potter series into fanatics were—besides from the exceptional characters and rich world building—the clues and hidden secrets that were sprinkled through each book. These things had the fanatic fans searching the stories and analyzing every little detail to try and figure out what they meant.

This kind of engaged audience is what all writers want, right?

In this blog post series, I’ll show you Rowling’s different techniques of dropping clues and hiding secrets.

In this blog post we’ll focus on the fifth and final technique: Discredit the witness.

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 4: Hiding Clues in Lists of Interesting Things

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 4: Hiding Clues in Lists of Interesting Things

One of the biggest reasons J. K. Rowling turned the fans of her Harry Potter series into fanatics were—besides from the exceptional characters and rich world building—the clues and hidden secrets that were sprinkled through each book. These things had the fanatic fans searching the stories and analyzing every little detail to try and figure out what they meant.

This kind of engaged audience is what all writers want, right?

In this blog post series, I’ll show you Rowling’s different techniques of dropping clues and hiding secrets.

In this blog post we’ll focus on the fourth technique: Hide clues in lists of interesting things.

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 3: Dropping Clues in Dreams

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 3: Dropping Clues in Dreams

One of the biggest reasons J. K. Rowling turned the fans of her Harry Potter series into fanatics were—besides from the exceptional characters and rich world building—the clues and hidden secrets that were sprinkled through each book. These things had the fanatic fans searching the stories and analyzing every little detail to try and figure out what they meant.

This kind of engaged audience is what all writers want, right?

In this blog post series, I’ll show you Rowling’s different techniques of dropping clues and hiding secrets.

In this blog post we’ll focus on the third technique: Dropping clues in dreams.

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 2: Divert Attention with Jokes and Ridiculous Statements

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 2: Divert Attention with Jokes and Ridiculous Statements

One of the biggest reasons J. K. Rowling turned the fans of her Harry Potter series into fanatics were—besides from the exceptional characters and rich world building—the clues and hidden secrets that were sprinkled through each book. These things had the fanatic fans searching the stories and analyzing every little detail to try and figure out what they meant.

This kind of engaged audience is what all writers want, right?

In this blog post series, I’ll show you Rowling’s different techniques of dropping clues and hiding secrets.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on the second technique: Divert attention with jokes and ridiculous statements.

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 1: Diverting Attention with Action

Dropping Clues and Hiding Secrets Like J. K. Rowling, Part 1: Diverting Attention with Action

One of the biggest reasons J. K. Rowling turned the fans of her Harry Potter series into fanatics were—besides from the exceptional characters and rich world building—the clues and hidden secrets sprinkled through each book. These things had the fanatic fans searching the stories and analyzing every little detail to try and figure out what they meant.

This kind of engaged audience is what all writers want, right?

In this blog post series, I’ll show you Rowling’s different techniques of dropping clues and hiding secrets.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on the first technique: Divert attention with action.

How to Craft Your Protagonist’s Internal Growth: 9 Questions to Consider

How to Craft Your Protagonist’s Internal Growth: 9 Questions to Consider

It’s important for your protagonist to have some form of growth through your story—especially internal growth. Internal growth will help you create a well-rounded character, which is one step in the right direction of crafting a character that lifts off the pages.

I’ve compiled a list of questions in this blog post (and a workbook in which you can answer the questions). These are questions that may help you craft the internal growth of your protagonist.

But first, let’s take a quick look at why growth is important.

How to Foreshadow Events to Create a Well-Rounded and Cohesive Story: Tips and Questions

How to Foreshadow Events to Create a Well-Rounded and Cohesive Story: Tips and Questions

Foreshadowing is a literary device and a necessary aspect of any well-crafted story. Though necessary, many writers may not know how to use it to its full effect. I will therefore offer you some tips on how to use it in this blog post. But, first, let’s look at what foreshadowing actually is.