How I went about building my world for my 2016 NaNoWriMo steampunk novel
|I do not actually have a world that I can put into an item in my port, but I wanted to explain a bit how I went about building my world, or at least starting to build it. That is what you will find here.
First, I started with the status quo, which I called The State. Then I added the "underworld," or those who looked to do away with The State. I called them The Alliance. Both of these may very well change as the story goes on and I find a less-cliche name for each. But, I started with two factions set against one another. They are not exactly "warring" just yet, but they will be, and they have completely different ideologies.
Next I brainstormed a list of settings. Honestly, I do not know if all of the settings will be used in the novel, but they were things that came to me that I might need. Will I need an abandoned airship hangar? Who knows, but I have it in my world so that I can use it at any time. I started with a tavern, a good place for nefarious characters to do business. Suddenly, my main character's brother was the bartender and the place became a clandestine meeting place for The Alliance when certain members cannot spend the time to go all the way to the Headquarters.
Both the Alliance and the State have a headquarters. The State also has a prison, of course. I think my main character may wind up there at some point, so I created it. That necessitated creating a list of laws and reasons for citizens to get thrown in prison. The list became long and, really, arbitrary - citizens could get thrown in prison with no due process and without a trial. They could be held until The State saw fit to let them go. Of course, while they were there, they must be useful, so the uses came out of that.
For this particular novel, Google Images was invaluable in setting up my world. I made several searches for many different aspects I thought I might use - including the prison, the tavern, the hangar, an airship image, character images, etc. This all helped me to build my world. Of course, the images are not mine, so I cannot use them in the novel in anyway, but they serve as a visual cue to me, and will help me a great deal while I'm actually writing. It will keep me from suddenly changing a setting into something it isn't. I also then print those pictures off and tack them to a cork board. This is how I create the entire city and the surrounding area where my novel will take place. I create a map of different places, with sticky notes for important rules or points of each place stuck to each picture. This gives me a map with rules, and that helps me to keep things in order and not write something in Chapter 10 that couldn't happen based on the rules I laid out in Chapter 2.
I use Scrivener for my novel writing, and this year I added all of my pictures, both of my characters and my settings (all of which I found on Google Images) to the cards on the cork board view of my project. I have to say - I just figured out this year that this was possible, and I was really excited when I figured out how to do it. It is great to have that right in the document on which you are working.
I don't know if this is the best way to build a world, but it worked well for me this year. This is only the second time I've attempted NaNo in a non-present sort of setting, so I'm fairly new at this. My only hope is that how I built this world may help someone else create their's as well.