World-building is just that. Building a world for your NaNo novel. Usually world-building is associated with fantasy or science fiction novels. But even if you’re writing a contemporary novel set in your home town, you still should know as much as you can about it and do research, which is easier than ever to do thanks to the Internet.
For example, you may know everything about the side of town you live on as to where people go to eat, attend school, work or play but what if your character comes from a side of town you’ll not that familiar with? Then you’ll need to research it, visit it or chat with people who do live there.
Here are some articles that can assist you with your world-building efforts.
The Seven Deadly Sins of World Building – An article that details some of the sins that can happen during world-building such as not considering the basic infrastructure or creating monolithic social, political, cultural and religious groups.
Twenty-Five Things You Should Know About World-Building – Chuck Wendig never fails to make me laugh and he provides writing information that’s not only totally insane but totally accurate to boot. His post on world-building includes such headings as A Rich Tapestry Or An Unrolled Tube Of Plain White Toilet Paper? and Wait, I Need To Research My Made-Up World?
An Impatient Writer’s Approach to World-Building -I like prepping but I’ll admit I’m still having trouble world-building. Like the author of this post shares, I get impatient. Here is a quote from the article as to Strauss’s approach to world-building.
Before I do anything else, I make sure that I have a firm grasp of my world’s core principles; but the details–the shape and nature of the actual places my plot takes me–aren’t developed until I get to them in the course of writing.
How Much of My World Should I Build – Lisle suggests that you build only what you need and imply the rest. Sounds good to me. I love a detailed world as much as the next reader, but I also don’t want to drown in details, especially if they’re not essential to the story.
30 Days of World-Building – This one started out as a series of post on a NaNo forum. Although geared more toward fantasy writing, it’s still useful and the author has graciously provided links to free downloads of the document, including pdf, epub and mobi.
So You Want to Build Your Own Fictional World – – The website TV Tropes has set up a page that assists you in building a world. What’s nice about this page is that when you click on the links it takes you to posts on the site about that particular topic and gives you examples and definitions. Of course you want to avoid doing anything that’s been done to death, thus the title “tropes”, but you may get some ideas as to how to twist a trope to make it new and fresh. Remember, there’s really nothing new under the sun, just revamps, revisions, revivals and reimaginings of what’s already been done.
Aliens and Alien Societies – Although this book focuses on science fiction the chapter on Creating Alien Societies can help you create any society, whether it’s human, paranormal or fantastical.
I actually find watching Face Off, Syfy’s reality series in which makeup artists compete for prizes, interesting because the makeup artists have to also explain the concepts behind their creations, i.e. what environment their creatures live in. For example, one of their challenges was to create elemental fairies who came about as the result of a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake.