Guest Blogger: S.K. Whiteside

Guest Blogger: S.K. Whiteside

Genesis: Creating Worlds

Have you ever wondered how writer’s come up with such elaborate world’s to which their stories unfold? What goes through the mind of an author as they create unique characters and scenery that captures reader’s attention and welcomes them to their realm with open arms? Like most authors I have my own personal approach to this task but felt compelled to ask my colleagues their opinion. The “Muse” apparently takes a big chunk of the credit but they are only the embers to the fire. The METHOD that stokes the embers is where we as authors differ. Many authors create as they go and just “end up” with their own world. You may often hear these authors refer to themselves as “Pantsers”. Their worlds are formed randomly and completely from pure imagination.

I admire those writers. Ok,  I admit… I am jealous of them. They write and second guess themselves a lot less than most others. I am way too analytical for that and often try to anticipate questions as I write…which makes me have to stop and research…but we will get to that.

Then there are the “Plotters”. Plotters, when creating worlds, tend to be visual in nature. Maps, Diagrams, Character Bios, Sketches, all play a part when these authors create their world. They want you to be able to visualize what they create so it’s kind of important that they actually…see it.

I get it.

Then there are those writers like myself…a combination of the two. I like to call us “Big Bang” Authors (like Big Bang Theory but not the television show) or “Genesis Authors” (That can be a bit narcissistic but, I digress). We take the insistent banging from the muse and make it snowball into a slew of characters, diagrams, charts, and stories that often spin off into their own sub series.

What starts as the inspiration for one story ends up world with a multitude of complex characters and sub stories to be told. By the end of the original story you have plotted out seven others to obsess about for the next year. When you get into parallel dimensions or the various other “types of worlds” the authors utilize things get even crazier. For example, I like a bit of history, some modern day flair, and mix it with a bit of Paranormal/Fantasy. What exactly does that mean? Well, I like to take a historical figure or aspect and say “what if” in modern day. Kind of like Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter but set in today’s time. I ask “What If so-and-so really existed but instead of being human, were a vampire…or werewolf.” From there I create my world focused around that. Then out comes the timelines, extensive research, the charts and well, you get the picture.

Yes it can be a bit excessive for some of us but that’s kind of the point. A good story makes the reader feel as if they were a part of the story – or at least among friends. How can you achieve that when the reader cannot envision the world you create? If, by the end of the story, the reader feels like they are losing a good friend or leaving home for the first time, then the author has done a good job.

4 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: S.K. Whiteside

  1. Every thing I read on this site just gives me so much more to think about as well as show me what i need to think about when I write. I can make of a total world and sometimes I add a few things as the story develops just as the characters drive me farther in. I have a very vivid imagination but I also draw maps just to keep things on the same path. This is after I see the town or scene in my head.


  2. Thanks guys! I appreciate the kind words! I wanted to give some insight into what goes on in an authors head when they are creating worlds.

  3. Awesome post SK. I find myself becoming more of a plotter as I write on, but it is a loose outline. I still love being a pantster and seeing what my characters want me to do. I guess I’m a hybrid 🙂

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