Laura Howard: For the Love of World Building


For the Love of World Building

As of today, I'm just  about halfway through edits on my novel, The Forgotten Ones. I want to say thank you to all of my readers for your patience with me as I bumble through the publishing process. 

And, thank you for sticking with me even though my blogging has been sort of irregular the past couple of months. 

Today I'm welcoming Teal Haviland who will be talking about one of my favorite subjects - World Building!

When asked to write this guest post about world building several thoughts rushed into my mind. All clamored for my attention, wanting it to be focused on them. 

Two won out—how honored I was to have been asked to write my first guest post by a blogger (Thank you, Laura!!!), and the one that really staked claim on my consciousness . . . I don’t know enough about world building myself, yet, to write a blog post. After shooing away my insecurities, however, I see I do. I also realized I love it
Any writer of fiction creates a world for the reader to escape into, but the worlds of fantasy writers—whether it’s urban, high, epic, or any of the other classifications of fantasy—create worlds which send our imaginations on a journey of magic and myth, rich with fantastical discoveries. 

It’s true I am still learning my craft (and I hope to always be learning) but I have information to offer those who are attempting to write their first book, hopefully helping them a bit along the way as others have helped me.
So . . . what do I know about world building? This guest post proved to me I know more than I can fit into my word limit if I don’t want it to read like a textbook excerpt, but there are two things I’ll share that condenses everything I have learned down into key points:

  •  Everything that happens in the story being written is creating its world; from the clothing worn, food eaten, magic used, hierarchy, weapons, landscape, rituals, people, animals, fantastical creatures, language . . . everything. It’s what I enjoy most about fantasy—the limitless possibilities of the characters, stories, and worlds.
  • The writer must know the rules of the world being created and stick to them. This is the one piece of advice I have heard and read continually. It’s like the sacred rule of world building. I think if it’s broken, the offender gets thrown into another fantasy writer’s version of Hell. Depending on the writer, that could be good or bad. I don’t plan on discovering which. 
I chose to write in a genre known for its opinionated, picky, and sometimes finicky fans, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am not just a writer of fantasy; I am one of those fans. I have always loved fantasy of all kinds, and the reason I chose the genre that holds the best, but most particular, readers can be explained in one word—escapism.
Anytime I thought about how great it would be to write a book one day, I never questioned the genre I would try to make my mark in. It only makes sense to retreat into writing my own stories just as much as I have always escaped into others’.

To me, the best part of world building is being the creator of a story that is mine. As the author, I call the shots. I decide what makes the world work and what can destroy it, who has power and who wants it, who has the ability to use magic and whose heart has been blackened because of its use, who succeeds and who fails, who finds love and who loses it . . . every tiny detail. 

I can be as simple or intricate with my creation as I decide suits the story and characters—as long as I follow the rules I dream up.

 I’m the boss (bwahahahahaaaaa). Oops . . . did I type that? Oh well, I do intend on taking over the world, so I need to practice my sinister laugh. 

The writer’s imagination is the heart of the world that’s built, the words are its foundation, and the story as a whole is the structure which houses its soul. Fantasy is created from wonder . . . just as it creates wonder in those who read it.

World building . . . what’s not to love?

What do you like best about World Building?


  1. Great job Teal on your first blog post...enjoyed reading it :)

    1. Aww . . . thank you! I really appreciate you saying that. :}

  2. Wow, let me say that cover for your book, Teal, definitely shows off a type of "world" for that read.

    1. Rebecca, thank you so much. I am pleased with how it turned out. :}


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