The little things that make a story instead of just a world building sampler

This is honestly the part my writers block sits on every time.

Do I need more movies in my life or something?

Mostly character moments for me. The big barbaric warrior character is world building. Finding out he doesn’t find flowers romantic, he’s terrible at walking silently, he acts more stupid than he really is, and he’s a true friend when needed to those who are worthy- that’s character and story.


Yes. And more books and comics and short stories. I used to feel the same thing, it took years before I could write a short story I would even like

In fact I would advise you to start with short stories or comic scripts, they are quick to finish and are good for playing out what makes a story.


It’s like getting to know your best friend. Their little quirks or things no one else knows. If you’re sitting there and you think,

“Damn, (storyplace) would be cool if it had flying monkeys.”

Do it. So what if your character never meets said monkey? Maybes it’s in passing. Maybe the sky has a bunny shaped cloud that day. It’s just like living life, but transferring it into a novel format.

Hell, I know I do stupid shit or act weird on a daily basis. I watch others study flecks of dirt, or note how a smidge on the floor looks kinda like my 7th grade math teacher. Just go with it, and then figure out if it works later.

Also listen to music. It really helps me.

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Another thought…

Have you tried writing a story set in a world that you don’t need to make? I have noticed that a lot of the time I get so wrapped up in how everything works that I get stuck in endless research holes and in the end I don’t have any character, just a three generation political history of X. Our brains are trained to make patterns and fill in holes, maybe by working in a world you know very well already you might be able to see the patterns in the story and fill in the holes of the characters instead?

This is what I think one of the biggest traps in speculative fiction is. It’s easy to get lost in shiny and cool grand ideas when writing (or reading) and then you never notice that the characters at the heart of it are pretty much cardboard.


It honestly just depend. I usually make stories that have their own rules and universe already made (Naruto, Avengers, etc.) and I would add extra details to my own. Reading (or listening) books (comic, manga, short stories, etc…) and watch movies can help on your world building.

Actually “shiny and cool” usually pisses me off. I prefer weird, goofy, and dramatic.

Well I have some tolerance for “shiny”.

Learn a thing or two from my good man Noah: Arcs, arcs and arcs

The development of the plot, the world and the characters are what matters most. No player wants to feel as if his impact throughout the game has been for absolutely nothing ( unless you’re doing some 1984-level dystopian stuffs )

Makes sure there is growth in all of those aspects but sometimes compromises can be made.
For instance, the original Avatar series really focused on the characters’ personal growth whereas the Korra one was much more about the ideological changes happening in the world.

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With worldbuilding, I tend to start with characters/plot points and then work backwards in a ‘ok, what would have needed to happen to make this like that?’ way.


Does warring conspiracies count as dystopia? I do plan on the player having impact at least on one other character.

Characters are actually one of my weaknesses and yet somehow I’m decent at writing debates… at least according to some amateur poet that was looking at my work (too bad the debating hogs all the page time from any plots I was trying to do).

For me it’s the characters that make the story interesting. Unfortunately it feels to me to many writers nowadays are more interested in making sure they check the ethnicity and orientation boxes rather than making their characters interesting.

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Well, I created the world first, and then “hmm… what kind of people that’ll live at here?”

Speaking of playing god :laughing:

Try Gets the old brain going.

Is the war absolutely all-consuming? If so, then yes, anything that turns the world (of the story, not necessarily the entire world) into a pit of despair is absolutely dystopian.

But otherwise, minor conflicts happen every day even in our world so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it dystopian.

On a sidenote, too much dialogue( which is obviously the main thing present in a debate) is never a good thing. Both in terms of plot( since talking doesn’t really get the characters to actually do much of anything) and aesthetics ( quotation marks or dashes galore)

A good place to start would be practice. Head on over to /r/WritingPrompts, make an account on Reddit if you don’t have one already, find a prompt and try your best to create an interesting world.

Another suggestion is to plan it all out beforehand. It can get a bit dull, writing notes about your world for hours on end, but the rewards are really high.

My favourite author, Brandon Sanderson, planned the world of his story, The Storm light Archives for something like 10 years. He wrote his first draft in 2002 which was “a mess” before eventually releasing the actual first book in 2010 with tons of changes.