Worldbuilding, world building, or world-building is the current overused term finding its way into nearly every conversation on writing. But what exactly is worldbuilding?
In truth, worldbuilding is nothing more than the construction of an imaginary world or setting. The geography can encompass an entire universe, or be as small as a back roads community where gossip heats the coffee. However, I've been seeing the term used more and more in conjunction with paranormal and fantasy stories, to the point in fact that a degree of ownership seems to have become improperly attached to it.
The term "worldbuilding" gained acceptance and popularity during the 1970s science fiction writers' workshops. Maps, history, geology, genealogy, ecology, language, and entire races were created for the writers' stories, plots, and characters to thrive in. Dungeon and Dragons role players specialized in creating fantasy worlds from the outside-in and inside-out where the science fiction enthusiasts worked from the bottom-up or top-down.
How a writer chooses to create the world for their story is entirely up to him or her. There is no right or wrong method. What is important is that the writer understands the importance of consistency and accuracy within the world/setting being created. Expectations of conduct for vampires and werewolves have become the norm. Full moons, silver bullets, garlic, and wooden stakes are as ingrained in readers' minds as hamburgers are to golden arches. If your vampire doesn't sleep on the dirt of his birth or death, the writer better have an immediate, solid argument the reader can reluctantly accept. In other words, a world parallel to the readers' level of acceptance has to have been constructed, or be prepared for a load cry of "Foul!".
Minutia matters, no matter what world the writer is building. In the 1950s, "running shoes" didn't exist. Sherlock Holmes never requested a crime scene technician. And, Neanderthals didn't know they were Neanderthals, unless the writer built the right world around them.
Which brings us to my novella "Desire Damned."
What could "Desire Damned," an MM erotic tale that takes place on the battlefields of Gettysburg, possibly have to do with Neanderthals? I hope you'll read the story and find out.
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