Building a World for a Novel – Part 34
Part 34: The Rule of Opposites
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! You are about to step into aDangerous Zone.
Our worlds are largely complete now. It’s time for what the Hollywood gang would call Set Dressing. And, just like the professionals who make movies, we must be careful to do no more and no less than what is needed to give our world that magical touch of verisimilitude.
This part of the creation and maintenance of your world will not happen all at once. It can’t, really. As you begin writing about this place you are going to notice what’s missing, and will rush to fill it in. Be careful at this juncture. If you want your world to stay consistent, you will want to carefully weigh each new thing you add. Does it fit the genre, does it fit the theme, does it fit historically?
The mark of an inexperienced world builder can be summed up in “The Rule of Nots” and “The Rule of Opposites“.
Not placing something useful and important in your handmade world because it is in the world where you live is a trap. When you do this you are allowing something beyond your control to decide what does and what does not make it to your world. It’s like one sibling doing the opposite of what the other says without realizing that he or she, while attempting to be free of the other, is being controlled just as readily.
The same holds true for using opposites. It is tempting to say if the world I live on has air-pollution, my new world won’t. Or, if my home planet has continents surrounded by large oceans, my new world will have huge land masses surrounding tiny inland seas.
The problem is that both the Rule of Nots and the Rule of Opposites are employed in place of creative thought and energy. However, if you pull out your maps, charts, lists of people, organizations, industries, agriculture and the like, and actually plan what belongs by running scenarios in your mind, your result is going to be by far more professional.
In the end you may find yourself placing NOTS and OPPOSITES into your world, but you will have done so by choice, not by reaction. Your world will be the better for it.
Continued in Part 35