Monday, April 2, 2012

Creating the World of Your Novel

Writing fiction presents complications for both new and experienced writers. The first occurs when developing the world of your novel. For me, creating a book starts with building a tension-packed world full of pitfalls, danger, and valuable aspirations in which characters take form and develop.

Before I wrote
Room 1515, I designed the world in which the story takes place. This world is a near future world, no more than five years from now. The major action takes place in Washington, D.C. and Great Britain, London primarily. The details of the locations where events take place, the physical building structures and surrounding areas, have to appear real, yet subtly altered. Why, because our society constantly changes our physical surroundings to fit the mood of its citizens. So an author must add a new hotel here and a new transit system there.

This world has a political environment that is recognizable, yet futuristic by a few years. In Room 1515's time period, the E.U. fears the Muslim world is on the verge of overrunning Europe, and the United States has a president who is removing all United States troops from foreign countries, leaving Europe defenseless. In addition, the top .0001 percent are manipulating the financial markets. They have the capability to bankrupt any nation in an instant.

This concept is not new. Many novels incorporate parts of this stereotype world. Why, because military, financial, and unseen fears are natural tension builders. Plus, many see this scenario as highly plausible. The challenge is to make my story standout as unique. An author must be careful to remember the changes they made to their world's new setting. Human nature tends to remember what we see and forget what we dreamed. Example: An author closes Lafayette Park in Chapter 3 due to a waterline break--the dream. Then five chapters later, we search out a website picture of Lafayette Park, and write in a character walking in the same area we closed in Chapter 3. When you design your world, document all the changes.

Notice I set my story in Washington D.C. and London. I believe thrillers should be set where stuff really does happen--and in places readers find interesting.

The final act of creating the world of your novel is a grabber, a second dilemma. The second dilemma must have major consequences if not resolved. This dilemma must be something all sides in the conflict want to solve. Important, the sides involved must not agree on how to solve this problem. In Room 1515, the dilemma is man's ongoing destruction of the earth.

Enough for now. Next time I'll deal with dropping your characters into your world.

Here are the links to view Room 1515's video and buy my book.


Sober on the Way to Sane said...

I appreciate the pointers. I've written off world fiction and keeping track of all the places can be challenging. I am outlining the plot for a new historic fiction and have noticed how relaxing it is knowing that if I have questions about distances or other physical features I can just look them up! There's a lot to be said for not having to create the universe in every book. Thanks again, great blog!

John Biggs said...

I'm reading Room 1515 now, and I don't think your fictional world is five years in the future. I think a lot of it is happening right now.