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When world building, a writers’ initial focus should begin with central character and developing a setting from the main characters’ eyes. Other characters, like supporting and antagonists, are not necessarily needed during this initial start point. This also means that creating a well-developed main character is also unnecessarily during this initial start phase. So put away your well detailed character sheets and consider your world for a moment. Character sheets can change and will change over periods of time. Importance should be weighed by where your protagonist is in their respective world.
Step #1 of World Building
Decide to build a fictional world. By reading this far, you, the writer, have already made a commitment to building a functioning setting for your character, not matter how grand or minuscule it is. Congratulations on the completion of step one.
Step #2 Choose your Protagonist
When focusing on building a world for your protagonist, your initial focus should be only the protagonist. The protagonist is the supporting beam which your fictional world supports itself on. The antagonist and supporting characters don’t matter at this point in time. This support beam doesn’t need a fancy or elegantly structured. Consider three concepts when constructing the theme of your world.
Does your protagonist begin happily?
Does your protagonist’s story end?
Does your protagonist’s story end happily?
Step #3 Pro and Anti Protagonist
The term Anti-Protagonist doesn’t refer to the antagonist, so keep in mind this is world building and not character building. The Pro and Anti Protagonist are possibility tools incorporating the six basic conflicts in a conflict narrative.
pos·si·bil·i·ty tool /ˌpäsəˈbilətē to͞ol/
A possibility tool is a writer’s mental prompt. It narrows and limits ideals, eliminating other possibilities that contradict the chosen idea. This allows the writer’s imagination a clear and precise theme to build upon. Composers’ Laboratory
Example: Frank Herbert’s Dune incorporates a planet comprised entirely out of a desert-like terrain. This restricts the possibility of having visible bodies of water if the planet is completely comprise of sand.
Since the protagonist of Dune uses this planet as a means of overcoming obstacles, this world can be considered pro-protagonist.
Writers’ take note:
Presenting a theme that ends happily is much harder than those that end in despair. To ensure that such progression keeps its momentum, consider building the protagonist’s world the sword concept. If the thought of a happy ending does not appeal to you, consider the shield concept instead.
Focus on world building. Focus on setting. Don't dictate without proper reason. Settings comprised mainly factual information are lots for information dumping. Initial world building should comprise of databases containing basic necessities. Build the World When Advancement is Necessary. Pursue Constant Development. Moderately well settings can suddenly transform into worlds overly developed or lacking development. Readers can quickly become dis-involved when the plot veers from the setting and vice versa. Very successful worlds are emulated and revered to the point of fandoms: Masashi Kishimoto, J.K. Rowling, Eiichiro Oda, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tite Kubo, Anne Rice, etc.
Build The World When Necessary
The initial development of a world should answer one of two questions. Is this world development pro-protagonist or anti-protagonist? In the essences of world building the protagonist is defined as the focus of the story, whether he is the hero or the villain. If the budding world is meant to help consider the world a sword, if it is meant to destroy consider a shield. the Composers' Laboratory coins the phrase "pro-protagonist" and "anti-protagonist" by this definition: Is the budding development expresses scenes that aim to help or hinder the main character as the plot develops.
The Shield - The Anti-Protagonist
Shields block to defend. If the protagonist must shield themselves from not only uncharted territory but also plot devices, then consider constructing an anti-protagonist world. Horror and suspense stories are good examples. Tonogai Yoshiki's Doubt spins a tale of mystery and suspense that leaves readers with a surprise ending.
The Sword - The Pro-Protagonist
Swords attack to defend. If the protagonist decides to use uncharted territory to defend against plot devices, then consider constructing a pro-protagonist world. Most genres, especially in the romance genre, enter this category. Disney's and Square Soft's Kingdom Hearts is a thrilling tale filled with adventure.
Invoking The Mimic
When reading dialogue, the internal brain mimics the action presented in the story, this is called the readers' imagination. Since the human imagination is endless, it is the writer's goal to engross readers. Lack of settings lead to assumptions that veers from the writer's intention. It's a common pitfall.
Mimicking pertains to the reenactment of emotions and visual images replayed within the mind.
Think back to a child's imagination. When a child images a bird flying, they don't imaging the bird but rather themselves as the bird. The setting itself is not the sky but the act of flying. The feeling of the air current holding the body steading in the air, the rumbling of clouds in the distance, the hissing of the wind through the ears.
Think back to an adolescent's imagination. The true setting is not the child reading the book, but rather the contents of the book the child is reading. The contents of the book invokes the direction and atmosphere that shapes the world around the character. If the hero/heroine is deeply engrossed in danger and strange noises, the adolescent too will begin to believe in hearing strange noises. Even when there is silence.
A world can be shaped to help or crush the main character. How the writer wants to invoke the tale depends on the direction the writer takes the world.
World Builders' Encyclopedia?
The tools of World Builders' Encyclopedia build an affective and realistic planetary setting. Through sheer will, years of research and months of effort, budding writers will be able to express their ideal settings whether it is on Earth, an Earth-like planet or an alternate Earth or Earth-like setting.
Why is this important?
A productive, effective setting portrays and entices the character's arc. Is your main character ship wrecked or fulfilling a prophecy? It is not enough to build a setting. Effective world building should be considered like a terrain deity. The hero/heroine are pieces that must venture through the scenes in motion to either claim victory or be defeated.
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