Hey guys! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count, and to our September series finale! I’m so glad you decided to stop in and read the final entry in this month’s series.
All September long, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in the books they read, and the ways we can use this knowledge to better ourselves in the craft of writing. We’ve talked about characters both good and evil, about plots that make us scream and ones that make us cry, and today, we’ll discuss what I believe is the most important point of them all.
#8: Worlds Into Which You Escape
Again, this may seem obvious, and like it’s one of the easiest things in the world to do—but it’s not easy at all.
Readers are looking for worlds they can dive into, worlds that feel more real than our own, worlds we’d rather live in, worlds we wish were real. And I mean this both for purely fiction novels and for genre fiction, taking place in worlds completely different to our own.
No matter what world you write in, it needs to be a world readers feel could be real, one readers want to escape into, worlds that make your readers pick this book up time and time again, looking for the same escape they experienced the first time through.
Doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?
See, world-building isn’t just about getting your map made and knowing your east from your south. It’s about visualizing something, about describing it on the page and allowing your readers to experience it the same way you do. It’s about getting that image that’s in your head onto the page, so someone else can see it the exact same way you do.
And it is, in my opinion, one of the biggest things writers need to grow in and develop. While characters are the primary draw for most readers, if the world they’re living in doesn’t seem remotely real, then what’s the point? Readers want to believe what they’re reading, and if the world isn’t believable, then they’ll put the book down in an instant.
That’s the last thing we want.
So work on your descriptions. Master your settings. Find images online that you can use to help you, to point you in the right direction and ensure you don’t describe the same place as looking two different ways.
Go into detail. Think about the things nobody thinks about, even if they won’t make it into the book. Think through every single detail and level of your world, so when your readers enter it, they’ll believe everything you told them.
Allow your world to be an escape for someone—even you.