This is a sequel to this post here. For those of who have read it, carry on! ^_^
How does a world get built?!
Either from top-down or from the inside-out.
The top-down direction is the order I described in the previous post. You start large scale, creating first the space, the ground, the landscape, then you populate it with various forms of life, their attributes, abilities, how they behave, how they interact, what kind of civilisation, history, culture, language etc… down to minute details of typical mannerisms. For instance, someone with a certain background may consider it rude to look directly in the eyes? Who knows.
The inside-out direction is the reverse. There, you first start with a few (1-5, lets say) characters. Their appearance, name (or lack of?), personality, childhood memories, actions, decisions, manners, abilities and all that shebang are a product of the world they were born into. This way, you can discover that world by looking for the backgrounds and roots of the characters’ attributes.
Of course this is a nice dualistic theory. In practice, it will probably be a mix of the two. For instance, you may start with a character, build up their background and their country, then build up a neighbouring country to pit against it, then from that, derive the main character’s arch nemesis.
You can also start somewhere in the middle, maybe with fragments of a language, that then develops the need for characters that speak it, and a world for those characters to live in. It’s a non-linear process.
Which direction you choose is up to you of course. That’s the beauty of creative writing! In my experience, it depends on what kind of ideas you already have. If it is a great history of the several kingdoms, or the intricate workings of an exotic culture, then you will probably go top-down. If you’ve got some bombastic scenes, or have met some awesome characters wondering your mind, then it will be likely inside-out. You can start from almost anywhere; a fancy salute, a new word, a dazzling landscape…
It might sound somehw complicated but the truth is that at a (unexpectedly early) point the life awakens and your world will kind of unfold in front of your eyes while you struggle to keep up scribbling down the details 😀
More on that later 😀 stay tuned for the third part, the grandiose finale 😛 byee~