I used to compare worldbuilding (crafting the world inside a story) to working a jigsaw puzzle. First, you connect all the straight-edged pieces, creating an outside framework. Then you work your way toward the middle, manipulating the pieces until everything fits into place. You do this by setting up the "framework of the story" first, and then you go back and fill in the rules and details about your world through the characters' interactions.
But while I think the puzzle "visual" works pretty well to get the point across, I believe it's a little two-dimensional.
Now I like to think of worldbuilding like the human body. The meat of your story is the organs inside, from the brain to the heart. But what protects and holds all of that precious cargo together? The skeleton does. Thing is, the skeleton can't do it alone. There are also tendons, muscles and even skin that act as layers of protection, holding everything in place.
That's how worldbuilding works. You have the structure and rules of your world (the skeleton) and inside the structure there are the characters you create (the organs). Your world will have additional layers that give it depth and make it unique (skin, tendons, muscles), but as solid as your whole world is, it should also be dynamic. Characters change, grow, and evolve. Your world rules can bend and adapt, so long as they remain true to the general concept you set in place. Basically, your whole world should breathe and have movement (the body walking/running/dancing).
How does what I've talked about apply to my worldbuilding of BKoD? In the picture above, I'm holding my original scribblings about the BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS world. While working on book two (LUCID) and also in planning for book three, some of the events and players I'd originally envisioned shifted and changed. Remember when I said you should let your world breathe and have movement? Ha, that definitely happened! But in making these changes to the BKoD world, I had to make sure that any adaptations I envisioned would hold up under the rules I'd already set in place in book one. Above, I also talked about being able to bend the rules so long as they remain true to the general concept. Not only is understanding worldbuilding important in crafting your story, but it becomes especially important when writing books in a series. I always try to keep the "human body" concept in mind while crafting my books' worlds.
Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.
After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.
Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.
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Once Nara combines her prophetic ability with Ethan’s power to outsmart Fate at his own deadly cat-and-mouse game, she’s more determined than ever to help Ethan learn the meaning behind the raven sword tattoo that suddenly appeared on his back after their confrontation with Fate.
During her quest to uncover the tattoo’s secrets, Nara enlists the help of some new friends and discovers her own surprising connection to Ethan.
While Nara digs deeper into the mystery, her desire for answers leads her down a dangerous path full of powerful and ruthless enemies. Swept into an age-old battle, Nara quickly learns that keeping one’s enemies close can be a necessary evil, making an intangible enemy she can control far more preferable to the human enemies she can’t.
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P.T. Michelle is author of the young adult series BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS. When P.T. isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading or taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets and anything beautiful or odd in nature.
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