Assimilating with the Environment
When you are building your world, you are doing much more than drawing a map. You need to take into consideration the people or beings that will inhabit your world. You will need to consider such elements as food sources and environment and the ways it interacts with your characters – is food plentiful? A society where the land is rich and fertile giving to unlimited agricultural possibilities would be a very different world than one that may be dying – the soil is barren, and disease has tainted the meat supply. Determining all these details of the environment such as weather conditions, geography, how well it lends itself to supporting life (fertile vs. barren land) can help you with plotting your novel as your characters move through the story. The environment may have major implications for back story and elements your characters are dealing with or be there merely to help the reader get a mental picture of your world.
Sometimes it is easy to overlook details like clothing and jewelry when growing your world, yet it often exists subtly in the story in a myriad of color and style. Is clothing something organic – perhaps made of wool where you would need to consider the sheep for sheering to obtain the wool for weaving – perhaps there is bickering over land rights between certain groups of the inhabitants of your world for land rights for the animals to graze.
Are there specific types and styles according to the season of the year? Are the styles of clothing in general apt to change quickly, and anyone of worth has to scramble to keep up or be considered no longer 'in?' What about jewelry? What sorts of items exist and how are they worn? What do they signify? Do weapons form part of the jewelry the people wear, and if so are the weapons symbolic, or is the person expected to know how to use them? Do some jewels signify a cultural status?
While these questions may seem trivial and may not, in the scheme of things, seem important to your story, asking these types of questions can help the author to build the world in their mind and as they work out all of the fine points of the world – the more real and whole and detailed it appears in their mind, the more real they will make it become to their readers.
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