Enter My World

Everyone knows that most fantasy and science fiction authors create worlds for their books, often they make up an entire book dedicated to names, locations, and important scenes. It’s the only way they can keep everything straight.

Did you know that all authors should build a world for their book, even if it’s a stand alone novel?

That’s right. You should put in writing the world you are creating. Never leave anything like this to chance. It’s an easy way to reference a street name, a location, or the color of a car without breaking your writing time to search for the information.

What kind of information should be contained in this file? Actually, anything you plan to put in your book, or additions you didn’t think of before starting. I’d suggest dividing this helpful file into sections, utilizing the Hyperlink area under the Insert tab on Word to create headings for those sections that make it easy to access. (Instructions to use this hyperlink are in Word’s help files and can be found by pressing the F1 key.)

You can be short of very detailed with these sections. It’s all depending on how important the character is and what kind of information is necessary for the book. If you are writing a series, you should probably do a full description and add in all details that come to mind as you’re writing


From the protagonist to the antagonist to all those characters who will support your story in varying roles, you will need a bare bones description—basically what they look like. You should also include what drives them in their current situation, things they care about deeply, their plans for the future, and anything that might seem important (right down to constantly chewing gum or their fingernails).


Where is your story happening? On a planet in the far reaches of the universe? A land that time forgot? A mystical castle? Or just around the corner? You need to set that scene and every detail that makes your story memorable. Details here can trip you up if you forget one. Put street names, what kinds of plants, trees, and flowers there are, specific streets you wants to use, anything that adds to your story. Remember continuity—keep this updated so that you don’t change Market Street to Market Road.

Extras you absolutely have to remember:

What kind of car your character drives. Does it have a special meaning to them? Where they like to hang out. Their dreams of the future. All the information you need to know can be at your fingertips in this section.

There are many other things you can put into this file, and set up a hyperlink for finding it quickly. Be sure to save this file in the same folder as your book, so you don’t have to hunt it down in case you need it fast.

All of this doesn’t have to be done before you start your book. You can do a simple set up and add information as you’re working. Then when you’re working, it’s a matter of comparing information, ensuring all is the same, and you’ll have a better book.


Jack Strandburg said…
Invaluable information, Kathi. I use Excel to list characters, chapters/scenes, objects (props), setting, brainstorming/issues and perhaps what has helped me the most is possibly events for each character. That way I can handle anything needed for the backstory (which won't necessarily appear in the story) and give me ideas for how the plot unfolds.
KC Sprayberry said…
I prefer to have a document. Probably because I used spreadsheets for so long in the Air Force.

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