Hi everyone! Seth here, with a blog fantasy and reality and the awesome interaction between them. Due to the complexity of the subject, expect this to be dealt with in multiple parts. Enjoy.
I’ve often wondered if the largest disconnect between the people of the past and those of us fortunate enough to live in the present, is how much time we spend in other worlds. Part of this musing is, no doubt, brought on by my occupation. As a writer, creating worlds that people want to get lost in is a foundational part of my job description. In many ways, my success is contingent on how good I am at that singular task. Considering this issue is profitable for understanding how to build worlds in a better, more attractive way.
When we build a world, one of the things that allows people to interact with it is that world’s believability. There exists an invisible line that, if crossed, will remove a person from your world and dump them back into reality, often in a jarring way. This line is largely tied to the coherency of the rules in the created world and how closely those rules follow the rules of reality. Another way we could say that would be, the extent to which the underlying rules of the world we are building mirrors the underlying rules of reality determines the extent to which someone can excuse differences between the real world and an imagined world.
Even more simply put, the strength of the underlying structure of the created world determines how much disbelief it can support.
As the name suggests, worldbuilding is a matter of building. We construct worlds from our imagination using the ideas, experiences, and points of view that we have collected throughout our lives. Those ideas, experiences, and points of view are unique to each of us, which is part of the joy of worldbuilding as it allows us to share our uniquenesses with others. The challenge comes when our ideas, experiences, and points of view are so foriegn to another that they simply cannot accept them as possible.
To overcome this the master world builder creates a substructure that, much like the beams that support a building, creates a sense of reality for those who enter the world. Just as the metal beams of a skyscraper allow the building to support many floors, the closer to reality our worldbuilding substructure is, the easier it is for the world to support fantastical things. As you build your worlds, remember this truth.
There is much more to cover on this topic, including things like, Structure, Importance, Complication, Pace, etc…, which I’ll deal with in individual posts. Until then, happy worldbuilding!
Stay tuned for more writing from the WorldCraft Club as we explore worldbuilding and the crafting of fictional settings to inspire your creativity.
Seth is a host of the Worldcraft Club Podcast and he wrote this blog. He writes a Gamelit series called Nova Terra that you can find here on Amazon. He currently lives somewhere in Pennsylvania with his wife, kids and neurotically cuddly labradoodle.
We’re happy to host guest blogs on here whenever we can, it gives James a break and let’s other people contribute their ideas. Let us know if you have a worldbuilding concept or strategy to get off your chest, we’d love to hear it.