top of page
  • Kayleigh

Friday Tip: World-Building

Many writers get caught up in the visual details when #worldbuilding and forget the other senses. Telling me about what a character is seeing is great, but what does the world smell like? Sound like?

Ask yourself: when reading, what details pull YOU into a world?

Imagine that you are reading a scene that takes place at night. Maybe it rained earlier, so the streets are slick and shiny in the moonlight. It's late, so the buildings are tall and shadowed, with few lights on...

Now, imagine the different way you would respond to this scene if:

  1. The MC smells the wet stone below their feet and can hear the soft crickets. That could be peaceful, not alarming.

  2. The MC smells garbage, maybe rotten fish. From an alleyway they hear a yell, then a slam.

Obviously this is a basic example that we would flesh out further, but you should be able to recognize that your reaction and expectations as a reader would be very different between these scenes.

In setting a scene and in building a world with depth, especially in fantasy or sci-fi, you need to be paying attention to all senses, not just the visual.

When I was a kid, the thing that really helped pull me into a world was smell and taste (through food). Those were the details that got me to really sink into a story.

What do you find important as a reader? As a writer?

bottom of page