Writers Digest

Take Your World-Building to the Next Level

By Michaela Whatnall


World-building is an essential part of writing any novel, be it fantasy, sci-fi, or even realistic fiction. The world which your characters inhabit must come alive for the reader in order to be believable and compelling. And it’s clear when a novel has succeeded in creating a living, breathing world—how many times have you heard someone wish they could live at Hogwarts?


So you’ve done the basics—you’ve developed a world for your characters and story to inhabit, filled with its own rules and unique details. But how do you make sure the world will exist vividly for the reader? How do you take it a step further to ensure yours is a world your reader will feel they know intimately?


While this post will be focusing on world-building in fantasy and sci-fi novels, world-building is equally important for realistic fiction or any other genre. What makes your world unique, be it the dragons that lurk in the mountains or the wacky neighbors who populate your main character’s street, is what is going to bring your story to life.


Take a look at these five tips for taking your world to the next level.

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NaNoWriMo: A Writing Exercise for Facing Your Fears

By Laura Nsafou


NaNoWriMo has arrived! Unfamiliar with the acronym? It’s the writing challenge of November–the National Novel Writing Month. You can learn more about it in The List’s article Everything you need to know about NaNoWriMo, but the basic goal of this challenge is to write an entire novel in one month.


Every person who has attempted the NaNoWriMo challenge knows that you experience several obstacles. One obstacle is that you’ve got inspiration, but now you must write it down. So…how do you do it? Writing every day seems easy at first, but what NaNoWriMo teaches many writers is that the act of writing and having an idea are two different beasts.


The next set of obstacles form after the writing is complete. Doubt, curiosity, and fear will creep into the creative process if your preparation has not been vigorous.


Is my piece original? Have I written enough? Can it be a good novel if I’ve only spent one month writing it?


NaNoWriMo not only makes the writer question their personal process of putting ink to paper, it also underlines what we don’t think about when it comes to creating a story.


Below are four tips that will keep your courage strong during NaNoWriMo this year.

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