Worldbuilding is a skill. It can always be improved. Here are three ways you can improve your worldbuilding abilities.
Whether you’re worldbuilding for a novel, video game, or tabletop game, you need to hone your worldbuilding skills. The better your skills are, the more lifelike your creation is going to be. Luckily, there are a few ways that can help you improve your worldbuilding. Read on to find out how thematic layers, maps, and cultural evidence can improve your worldbuilding.
1. Use Thematic Layers to Build Consistency
Thematic layers refers to a consistent theme that exists in an area. It may refer to demographics, geography, cultural identities, or even geophysics. When you use a thematic layer to describe a town, an area of land, it sticks with your readers or players. It also stands apart from other locations that you create thematic layers for.
Those areas become enriched for your readers and players. It’s easier for them to immerse in that area because they can see it clearly. They can smell, taste it, and even hear it.
It also makes logical sense. A world that only has one thematic layer throughout it is boring and unrealistic. The environment shapes people and the people shape the environment. Themes exist based on needs.
Using thematic layers can enrich your world and keep it from feeling bland or the same throughout it.
2. Maps Organize Your World and Help Players Digest It
Most people are visual in nature. They understand things better after they see it. The same goe for worldbuilding. Your worldbuilding can be improved when you use maps. One of the reasons maps are helpful is because it helps you stay organized. You can physically see where the cities are, where environmental challenges like mountains and lakes are located. This can help shape your story and adventures.
It also helps your readers and players. Without a map, they have no way of understanding what the country or world looks like. They don’t understand the distances between towns or the kind of landscape that exists between settled grounds. Making maps and giving them to your players or readers helps them to immerse in your world. Once they can see it, they can feel more a part of it.
3. Cultural Evidence Brings a World to Life
When developing your towns or settlements, you should always include cultural evidence. This refers to small details that are easily overlooked but help enrich an area all the same. It may be banners or heraldry. It may be newspapers discarded in the mud. It may be an ad scrolling along the side of a skyscraper.
Cultural evidence is little snippets of the day-to-day culture that exists in that space. It offers readers and players a glimpse into what it’s like to be a regular denizen of that area.
However, cultural evidence is also easy to overdo. You may find yourself mentioning detail after detail. That can quickly saturate the scene and make it difficult for readers or players to focus on the important details. Any detail you place in the scene should have a purpose. Perhaps it’s to steer them in a certain direction to follow your hook. Maybe it helps them solve a mystery. It can also be used to introduce new factions, individuals, and religions.
Using cultural evidence can enrich your world, improve your worldbuilding, and make your world feel lived in.
Start Improving Your Worldbuilding
These three methods can help you improve your worldbuilding. Have you used any of them before? If so, let us know how it helps you worldbuild. If you have any more tips on how to use the above method effectively, then be sure to let us know in the comments as well! Otherwise, use these methods and start building immersive worlds.