Happy Monday all! Fantasy and supernatural stories need to follow a set of rules in order to be as realistic as possible. Dystopian tales do the same. Whatever environment the characters will roam in has to make sense, and if a rule is broken, a good explanation has to be given, otherwise the whole world building falls apart.
But I’ve come across a lot of stories that broke rules, or invented new ones, without giving the reader enough foundation to justify such a plot shift. The author will focus on the characters more than on the world they live in, and all of a sudden, things change, and I get confused. I start asking questions while reading the story, and ultimately lose interest if too many of these new unexplained rules get thrown into the mix.
I made the same mistake. I thought writing a fantasy story allowed me to do whatever the heck I wanted. The truth is – if your reader is older than five years old, the world building will have to be tight and structured. I lose my marbles when I watch a TV show or a movie, and rules are being broken so many times, I’m pissed, and stop watching the show. The characters can be the most compelling folks, if the world building blows, I’m done.
Many authors won’t give as much attention to details to the world they create, and their story, just like a house, won’t have a strong foundation. Therefore when plotting, think of the world or worlds before the characters, and set up rules. For trilogies, or series, keep this set of rules handy. If the characters have superpowers, they will follow their own set of rules, and these rules can’t clash with the world rules.
Who thought that writing a novel would be so scientific, huh? I certainly didn’t. I wrote without plotting, and after 95,000 words, considered the job done. What a hassle it is to rewrite 75% of the story because of rules. And many authors learn that the hard way, because let’s be honest, unless you work in the publishing industry or attend a few writers’ conferences, you know squat about rules. All you think about is how you want to write this awesome book since you were a kid, and bam, now you have to set up a whole strategy in order to successfully do so. Rules are one of the main elements that will fail a book. Another reason why readers don’t trust self-published authors. Good editing will usually fix that problem, but often, self-published folks don’t use the services of a professional editor to review their work. Sad really.
To make your dream come true, don’t ask your best friend or your mom to review your book. Ask them to read the ARC, but please edit the story first. Create rules, brainstorm, rework the rules and plot accordingly. Writing the rest of the story will come easy once this step is completed, and editing will be smoother too.