5 Stages of Building a Story World

  1. Get a new notepad. All good stories start with a good notepad. It has been scientifically proven that the nicer the notepad is, the more books are sold when it finally goes to print. So don’t feel guilty about splashing out on that Moleskin, it’s an investment in your future. 
  2. Find a coloured pen set. You need at least one colour for each aspect. Setting, politics, history etc. The more colours the better the world. The real world has a near infinite range of colours so aim for that many.
  3. Draw a map. Tolkien drew many maps for Lord of the Rings and you can actually trace the route the little hobbits took during their adventure. It’s good to be able to ‘see’ your world from above and plan where to send that devastating tidal wave that will cause your hero to surf their way to the Inciting Incident.
  4. Throw the map in the bin. Unless you are some kind of moonlighting cartographer the map will look like a child with a broken arm tried to draw it. Dispose of it and pretend it never happened.
  5. Keep going. Just when you think you have enough detail for your world spend at least another week on it. Thereby putting off beginning your novel just that little bit longer. It’s far easier to envisage the elusive book contract whilst you are still in the planning stage.
  6. (Optional) Retrieve amateur map from bin. Go on. It’s good to laugh. Post it on your fridge like the work of art it isn’t.

6 thoughts on “5 Stages of Building a Story World

  1. This cracks me up! I, too, purchase a brand new notebook or journal for each new project, (moleskin is great!) and I also use coloured pens. I haven’t tried the map-drawing exercise. Great idea. I’m on it! But you forgot to mention research. There’s always one more book to read to ensure you get all those savoury details just right when you do start writing. Head to the library. Now.
    Thanks for my morning smile.

    • I love Moleskin notebooks! They are a real treat. Research, I hadn’t thought of that. That would really clock up some procrastination hours thank you!

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