Improve Your Creative Writing Skill Through WorldBuilding

WorldbuildingImage: Dream by Wombo

Let’s improve your creative writing skills by creating a world for your characters. When writing sci-fi or fantasy, your characters come to life in their environment. If done correctly, they become memorable and legendary.

The setting of a story and the building of a world are similar, but building a world implies going far beyond the setting. However, building the world does, of course, include the setting.

There is a stage in the worldbuilding process “where authors create believable settings for their stories. This may involve crafting a fictional world's history, geography, politics, and economy, as well as religions or power structures” (Worldbuilding: Create brave new worlds [+template]).

What sci-fi or fantasy or dystopian movie or book stands out in your memory? What did you focus on most, the environment, language, dress, or a combination of these and more?

The book Alice in Wonderland is a classic. The world she falls into is filled with fantastical characters and environments. The magic includes her ability to eat different sides of a mushroom to make her body grow bigger or smaller. 

Wow, what a world!

To improve your creative writing, you will need to practice building a world for your character. When reading or watching different worldbuilding environments, pay close attention to how the world is built and how the characters exist on a day-to-day basis within it. 

Man building worldImage: Dream by Wombo

You’re not just reading or watching for entertainment purposes now; you’re paying close attention to learn how to construct your own.

Consider some of these worldbuilding factors:

  • Speech
  • Clothing style
  • Hairstyles
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Business
  • Structures
  • Religion 
  • Food 
  • Social constructs
  • Punishment
  • Superstition
  • Taboo subjects 

Every factor need not be addressed since “. . . it’s easy to get lost in the small details you want to include in your universe. However, focusing on too many aspects of your fantasy worldbuilding will not only take time away from the actual writing but possibly limit your freedom when trying to change your story later” (MasterClass).

For a deeper look into worldbuilding, check out MasterClass here

Improve Your Creative Writing
by Viewing an Example

Worldbuilding manImages: Canva and Dream by Wombo

Improve your creative writing by checking out this example of what’s needed in order to build a world for your character. It must be interesting and believable, and it must take us someplace that stretches our imagination.

Here is an example from one of my screenplays:

Inside the sick bay of the spaceship, an alien hovers over Grandma who lies, with eyes closed in sweet repose, on a narrow table. The alien repositions the overhead light to illuminate the old woman’s head.

AlienImage: Dream by Wombo

On a nearby metal tray table are tweezers and a small clear jar with a top. Through the glass jar a form wiggles. From the table, the alien lifts the tweezers and unscrews the jar lid. Tweezing from the jar, the alien lifts out a bot, a long writhing maggot. The maggot-bot is shaped like a corkscrew.

With surgical precision, the alien guides the beak-shaped mouth of the maggot-bot into Grandma’s ear. Grandma lurches forward, her shoulders lifting off the table, but she soon settles down, her eyelids fluttering.

Half a minute later, only the tail of the bot is visible, the rest of it has already ventured inside the ear. But moments later, even the tail has succeeded in cork-screwing its way into the canal.

The above narrative points out that we are seeing a different world from our own. We are directly told that we’re in a spaceship. Further, our attention is directed to a corkscrew maggot-bot with which we’re not familiar. And if that’s not enough, an alien is performing a medical procedure.

Here is another scene on the alien spaceship. A hostage situation is taking place:

She fixates on the alien as he grabs something from a cabinet on the wall unit. It’s a black ball of fur, the size of a tennis ball. A white stripe runs around its circumference. It’s a SkunkBot.

The alien places the SkunkBot at the foot of her cell. It rolls inside. The woman tries to kick it away, but it evades her boot, moving in random, sideways, and curvilinear ways. 

The bot scuttles up the wall to the ceiling, just beyond the woman’s clawing reach. From there, the SkunkBot releases a spray.

Its mist drifts down, its potency is undeniable upon the woman, who is still gazing up at it. But soon she tumbles down on her cot and becomes unconscious. 

This was a fun story to write. Imagination was key. The more examples of stories I read and watch, the more my imagination becomes stimulated.

Improve your creative writing by understanding the components of worldbuilding. Practice until you bring your characters to life when immersed into a world where your readers can appreciate them by believing them.

Worldbuilding: Create brave new worlds [+template]. Reedsy. (n.d.).

10 worldbuilding tips: How to write an engaging fictional world - 2023. MasterClass. (n.d.).

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