The secret to worldbuilding? – More than just fantastic beasts

Here ya go, ladies and gents, a wonderfully written and insightful piece that definitely taught this TVWriter™ minion a thing or three that I can’t wait to incorporate into the next script somebody pays me for. (Yeah, well, that’s my excuse for not writing; what’s yours?)

Take a look. We’ll be pretty darn surprised if you don’t agree:

from Shadow and Movie Blog

Worldbuilding is one of the most exciting parts of writing a story. There’s a reason why games like Minecraft, that allow you to let your creativity go wild, are so popular and so addictive.

You can play God by creating a world out of thin air: decide what species populate it, what are the natural and artificial elements that make it unique, who is in charge, and even what is culturally considered right or wrong.

If you’re writing a story, you might be thinking to poke the curiosity of your audience by creating as many species, rivers, building, governments, traditions and rules as you possibly can. And if you’re a screenwriter you imagine the full theatre going “Wow” as the beautiful image of your “thousand and one years old tree” appears on the screen. But there’s a problem.

There are a lot, and I repeat A LOT, of writers that try to create a breathtaking world. Unfortunately, most of them (even expert writers) end up spending hours and hours crafting a world that no one cares about.

Think about it. How many people have written fantasy books/movies? And how many of those people have became famous for their worldbuilding skills? Not that many, right? But regardless of the number of names have popped into your head, I bet that two of them were: J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.

How did they do that? What’s their secret?

Here’s the thing, what made their work so successful and beloved is not WHAT they created, but rather HOW they created it.

Rowling didn’t invent wizards, the idea of magic and magicians has existed for centuries; and Tolkien was influenced both by his Catholic religion and various elements of the European culture.

What made their worlds special is not the ensemble of elements that make them, it’s the way those elements are arranged and used that really captures the reader or the viewer’s attention. The same way a bunch of notes doesn’t make a hit song, but the expertise of the musician playing does.

So before you buy an expensive software to design a map or keep track of all the different religions you invented, just remember that this is not a competition on who writes the most or who comes up with the most extravagant idea.

Worldbuilding actually is made of two equally important parts: the creation of the world and the presentation of it.
There are plenty of books, articles, tutorials, digital tools and other things aimed to guide you through the process of creating a world from scratch.

But what I wanted to focus on is the presentation part, because often that’s exactly what makes all those writers fail.

The way in which the world is presented determines its success. Creating a great world but presenting it terribly is the same as hiring a famous professional chef to cook for your restaurant and then have the meals served by a rude clumsy waiter on dirty plastic dishes.

As an example on how to present you world is J.K. Rowling’s movie “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”.

The world is tied to the story….

Read it all at Shadow and Movie Blog

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