October 19, 2010


Here’s a short post on world-building since I have the sneezes and I have to pull a double load on writing today.

The biggest mistake writers make with world-building, whether it be a fantasy, science-fiction, or contemporary, is info dump. I do it in first drafts just to get stories going, but I always take it out later.

You’ve created this world. It has its own geography, religion, culture, and natural laws. Setting the scene so that your reader understands your world is a logical way to begin a story. It’s also boring. You can easily take the prologue, the first ten pages, or the first chapter of world-building and delete it now.  Do it. Trust me.

Now, take those thousand years of history and back story and filter it throughout the novel. Some, you can present in dialogue, and the rest you can weave into inner monologues or descriptions of places.

Keep this in mind when you feel the need to explain things in your story. Always keep things moving if you can.


  1. What you call info dump, I call characterization that could have led to a less abrupt opening.

    -Jerk Agent Who Rejected Your Work for Questionable Reasons

  2. I agree that there's a lot of info dumping going on with first time writing. I started my last draft with about 6 pages of pure backstory, but I agree with taking it out and incooperating it in other ways.