March 15, 2017
So the other day I received a question from an amazing woman that inspired me to share my thoughts:
One thing that I really admired about SOP is that you have a depth of plot. Important characters that come out as the story progresses and different threads of story that interweave throughout the bigger picture. My question is: How?
As many of you know, I did a series on the Five Keys of World-building a few weeks back, but I think this question is unique in that it asks: once you have all those keys, how do you weave them in to the big picture?
And I think the short and sweet answer is: by dropping random details and thoughts EVERYWHERE. See, everything you write has its own history. Everything.
When you think about it like that, yes, it is massively over-whelming (no author has time to write the history of every single minor character, passing food cart, coin exchanging hands, worn boot, leather sack, and sleepless night)—but it pays to note and randomly choose here and there those that do have relevance.
Now, this does NOT mean that particular coin or fruit merchant are relevant at this very moment or EVEN this very book. The point is that you have planted a seed.
Perhaps throughout your book you grow that seed by dropping some other tiny detail about it or passing comment. Then one day (or one book, as it goes) BAM, that little seed is a massive tree.
Imagine yourself with a sack of seeds: start planting them into the story RIGHT NOW.
In fact, some things you might not even have a purpose for yet, but the more seeds you plant, the more trees you’ll have for later. Planting/growing that seed creates far more dimension in the world than plopping down trees whenever you need them.
THIS is what gives your world the illusion of realism and infinite depth: threading the mundane in with the great—weaving them together so seamlessly that the reader can no longer tell what is “great” and what is “mundane” (because even the smallest details reveal themselves to have relevance later.)
Then soon, the world seems as complex and infinite as our own.
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