World building is a process. Even if it’s a contemporary story, there are all the little things you need to keep consistent. And when it’s contemporary laced with the supernatural? Well, that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
I’m starting with the world this time around. Normally, I sort of make it up as I go along, fit the pieces in as I plot out the story. This time, I’m actually making the rules for my world ahead of time. Laying down the law, as it were, the cold hard facts that can not be deviated from. I’m hoping this will help me to establish the plot easier. It’s new for me and I’m really enjoying the process so far. When I come up with a “rule,” I’m having to really think about the why of it. And that’s really helping to cement things in my brain. I may not use everything in the story, but I’ll have the information available should I ever need it.
I’m also working on character sheets. Physical appearances, strengths and weaknesses, personality quirks, the whole works. This is something I used to do, years and years ago, but somehow, it fell out of practice. I’m not sure why I stopped. To have that quick reference is such a blessing. It’s much easier than having to go back through a manuscript and check to see if I got a character’s eye color right, that’s for sure. Again, everything might not make it on the page, you may never actually see a character’s tattoo, but I’ll know it’s there.
I’ve always been the kind of writer that works half way between plotting everything out and flying by the seat of her pants. So this isn’t entirely foreign ground. But it is a different way of doing things, at least for me.
I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer these past few months. And I’m always trying to improve and grow. I’m hoping that this is one more step towards the growing. I feel like it could really help to make me a better writer.