A quick observation about world building and speculative fiction

I’m still buried from many days off at ConnectiCon (though it was great), and I’m feeling the pressure to get Hollow World copy edits done…So I just have a minute to make a quick post.

At ConnectiCon I did a panel on world building, and I, and all the other panelists, said the same thing about how only the tip of your world building pyramid should show.  In talking afterward it occurred to me the irony that  one of the things that defines speculative fiction (in particular fantasy and science fiction) is the fact that it takes place in an invented world so world building is a cannon of the genre.  But…the reality is that books that spend too much emphasis exposing their world building seem inaccessible and heavy.

Bottom line…it really doesn’t matter what genre you write in.  The story is primarily driven by plot, character, and conflict.  Keep focused on this, and use your world building to set a stage not “take center stage.”

That’s it…I’m back to the grindstone.

2 thoughts on “A quick observation about world building and speculative fiction

  1. If you’re clever about how you handle your world-building, you can show the tip, but not actually build the whole of the pyramid beneath. You need to be able to project it upon demand, not work out every bit of it before showing any to the reader.

    • Perhaps…but that technique doesn’t work for me, personally. I tend to do a lot of world building, such that I have a firm foundation in my mind, and then I can drop hints here and there along the way. Your technique may be more efficient, and if it works for you – good for you. But for me I like the aspect of “being grounded”

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