On a message board I’m on, someone asked about worldbuilding, ie how do you do it.
I’ll admit, world building can be both fun (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!) and intimidating (MY WORLDS AND PLOTS GROW LIKE KUDZU, AND THERE I AM BLITHELY SPRAYING MIRACLE GROW ON THEM. Of course, after the fact, I can be found pulling my hair and wandering around the house mumbling, “How am I going to get all this into one book and the romance, too”), but I did try to find a way to answer the question that might help things click into place.
You know me…I gotta make it visual…well, at least relate it to something one can visualize. So here goes.
The Puzzle of Worldbuildlng
Try to relay tidbits of the world in the natural course of the story…via characters discussing things or visiting places or events happening where the world building can be woven in seamlessly piece by piece.
Maybe one way to think of laying out the mythology in the story is to do it the same way you would approach working on a 500 piece puzzle. For instance, the bits of your worldbuilding you DO know–the basic framework of your world–would flow easily early on in your story and should be slipped into place without much effort. Consider this first layer of worldbuilding like the puzzle’s outside pieces, where that one straight edge helps you form the main border.
Once all the outside pieces are placed, you then work your way inward, using the picture on the front of the puzzle box to help you decipher the colors and shapes stamped on the pieces, turning them until they all finally come together in a completed puzzle and overall picture. You do this secondary part of your worldbuilding via creative dialogue, action/fight scenes, flashbacks, dream sequences, a hunt for something/discovery of something, etc…anything that flows into the natural unfolding of the story. This deeper level of worldbuilding happens throughout every scene, even down to the last few pages.