I'm worldbuilding for my new novel.
I've never done this before, so it's kind of a new experience. So far, it's awesome. I realized as I started on chapter 1 yesterday that I am the god of this novel.
Wow. Once I realized that, I felt so much power. So invigorated.
For those of you who don't know, worldbuilding (according to Wikipedia) is the "process of constructing an imaginary world." In the world I am building, planet earth has gone through a series of disasters, called by the survivors as the Great Disasters. Those who survived the Great Disasters then had to battle of a series of illnesses brought about by the disasters, call the Three Plagues.
Those who made it through all that are called the Survivors. Since I created their world, I have absolute control over their story.
I outline when I write, but not much. I prefer to wing it as I go. So I started chapter 1 not even knowing the Great Disasters had happened. But as I constructed my setting, questions popped into my head like, "Why is the weather like this? What happened to all the people? If this is planet Earth, what could cause it to be so different?"
One thing led to another, and defining the Great Disasters helped me to figure out the climate of my world, as well as the geography and the government.
I've never really tackled worldbuilding this way before. I have a novel written in an alternate history which has some worldbuilding elements, but only for a brief period of time. This worldbuilding has got me excited. The trick to worldbuilding is to make it believable. Whether the imaginary world is fantasy, alternate history, dystopian (such as mine), every reader knows this place doesn't actually exist. But you want them to believe in it. There's some awesome websites out there to help, such as this one from the Sci-Fi and Fantasy group.
All novels require a bit of worldbuilding, so these are important skills to know. How are you using worldbuilding in your WIP?