October 15, 2016
If you’ve read Steps of Power, then you know I have spent a lot of time on world-building. History is one of the most exciting aspects of world building. This Key 1 focuses on the history of the created world and the external plot events.
Every well-developed world needs history. I mean, when I pick up my new read, I’m bursting with anticipation, I’m ready to fly out the door on my adventure…
And then I find out the world is flat.
(yeah, not an issue Tolkien had)
But that’s what history and the present world-building key is designed to prevent.
History tells the present where it came from and suggests where it is going. It breathes life behind the scenes and that inevitably reveals itself in the characters and the story. What happened at the beginning of time when the goddess brought the elves into the world. Who was there? Did they get along? They didn’t?!—what happened? What was the result? How did this affect future events?
And then, broadening out: What was happening in the north? The south? The east? The west? What was going on in other societies? What were the golden aspects of the age? What were the problems?
And while most world builders only develop the history as it directly and solely relates to the plot, even stronger world-builders often stop after the above questions are answered. That leaves me sad. Like Bilbo.
They forget one key detail:
The same diversity in events is happening right now—in the present age of their world.
That is to clarify that the main plot—the one authors want to write about—in a well-developed world—is not the only issue. The world is always battling a slew of problems. And while the plot might be focused on one, failing to develop or mention other issues gives the world a one-dimensional affect.
An example of a complex world with multiple problems:
I’m going to use The Kings as my example (for those who enjoy such things), because I have the easiest time whipping out examples.
~~~(Some of the) Past historical events mentioned~~~
The War of Dragons
The Last Battle
The incident with the sirens
The Royal Schism
Numerous heroes and their deeds
Which suggests to the reader a rich and complex history—some of the details the readers know/learn, others are not elaborated on at this time.
Defeat the rebel warlord
Change the corruption of the council
This is the plot suggested to you, the reader, and what problems you probably expect resolutions for.
~~~Current events of the world mentioned~~~
Famine on Ryekarayn
Tension with the centaurs
Tension between Lithri and Darivalians
Strange eye in Darival
Thakish behaving abnormally
Fragility of the human kingdom on Ryekarayn
These global issues are outside the conflict between Jikun and Saebellus. Some of them affect the main plot, others do not. Yet they are all currently present in the world and add a layer of depth for the reader—a level of immersion and realism in a fantasy world.
All of the events of the past and the world’s current dilemmas surround and envelop the main plot—creating complexity and depth that I can just lose myself in! That really allow me to escape!
What are your favorite in-depth “history and present” world-building stories?
Copyright © 2020 Steps of Power. All Rights Reserved.
Our site content may NOT be sold or used for any commercial purposes.
The artwork on this site is the sole property of Steps of Power and may not be used without permission. When sharing our artwork you must give credit to www.stepsofpower.com.
Free shipping offers only apply to orders shipped within the U.S. For international ordering, see our support page.
Webdesign by Michael Broering: Click here to contact