When writing fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi, it’s important to know where your story takes place and what it looks like. Even the most amazing characters need something to support them: a living, breathing world.
The idea for this post came from Lynette Noni’s post where she shared pictures of how she imagined some of the characters and places in her books. You should check it out!
Back to the world. Not all of us are great artists or photomanipulators, so it’s not easy to find the perfect picture to showcase your world. How could there possibly be a photo of that underwater city of yours or that high-tech spacecraft your protagonist just purchased?
Well, there can’t. Fortunately we have the luxury of creativity and imagination. Visualization in worldbuilding is not about finding your fictional places in reality — it’s about finding enough parts to bring the world alive in your head.
Your reader won’t (probably) see your source material and even if they did, you can’t rely on it. Your story must describe the place so vividly the reader can see it too, and that’s so much easier if you have visual aids while writing.
I can’t remember how many times I have pictured a place in my head, wrote a scene about it, come back to it much later to write another scene and when I get to editing, I realize I’ve moved that building, added a river in the middle of what was supposed to be a swamp, forgotten that one cave…
Notes are great and the more the better, but how easy would it be to be able to glance at a photo and see the location for yourself? It doesn’t have to be pretty, so feel free to mash several pictures into one if you can’t find a swamp with an oak growing in the middle.
Do you search for reference pictures while writing? If yes, do you do it before you start writing, once you hit a scene that needs a clear location, or perhaps only when you get to editing? If you don’t use pictures/drawings at all, how detailed your notes tend to be?
The first Camp July Care Package will arrive on Wednesday and the first genre to made it is Fantasy! The second genre will be determined next Sunday, so remember to vote for your favorite genre before that.