Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How I Write-- Plot/Character Arc/World Building

Brainchild of Ansha Kotyk, How I Write is a weekly blog series all about writing and the different styles we all have. Click on the banner to go to the homepage and visit other participants or click below. This week is all about Plot/Character Arc/World Building.

Characters have always come fairly easy to me and at least for me, that is what makes world building. You can have as bland of a setting as you want but its the characters that will liven it up and make that story memorable.

For the most part, I'm not a plotter. I do outline briefly but it's never more than a couple of jotted points. I love writing series and the world building that you can create. There's something about being able to stay in a world and unfold its mysteries slowly. I like following characters from book to book and seeing them grow as they interact with the rest of the characters.

I've always wanted to create a World Bible, a folder that contains all the little details-- from the colour of characters' hair and eyes to main plot points and what the town looks like. I've always wanted to make one and I've even downloaded free writing software to do so but, I just haven't been able to get into it. As I write the books in the Fatal series however, I do recognize that I'll need to eventually because there are just so many characters. It doesn't matter if they aren't mains, they still need to be remembered and accurate from book to book.

I don't really have a way about creating my worlds. I am not a fan of writing about towns and cities. You will never catch a real life town in one of my books. Why? Things change too quickly. Details change and there will always be something I do wrong. Yes, it helps readers to get into the story more if they know the town, but for me, I really would prefer to either make up a town or have the setting out in the middle of nowhere.

I guess I don't really know how I create my worlds. It's all a bunch of guess work that comes as I write.


  1. I use the Microsoft One Note software for the "World Bible" - type folder you're talking about. It includes my detailed character sheets, information about the world and it's history, and any maps if relevant.

  2. I love the idea of a World bible too -- I'm a realistic contemporary sort of writer (at least at the moment) and you'd think I wouldn't need a world bible. But I do! I need to explore One Note more. I tried using it for some non-fiction I was writing, but ended up not having the time for the learning curve.

  3. I make up my towns too, readers can pretend they're their own town or a major city near them... but it has to be made up, I like research but I don't like THAT much research! But we'll get into that next week! Great post Alexia!

  4. I'm a pantser, but I maintain a bible for my recurring characters (short stories) or novels. The key is, I add to the bible as the details come up. I keep two files open in my word processer: the novel itself, and a "notes" file. When I introduce a character, a world or city or starship (in SF), I add their names to the notes file, along with any details I think important.

    (It's amazing how often certain names recur if I'm not careful....)