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For Writers,  How To,  Writing Tips

How To Create Vivid and Memorable Fantasy and Sci-Fi Worlds in Creative Writing

Memorable worlds in creative writing allow the reader to truly feel a part of them. The characters and scenery come alive to create a place we can disappear within. And, sometimes we love these worlds so dearly that we create pieces of them in our own world (take Harry Potter World at Disney). But how do we create these memorable worlds in creative writing? And what is it that makes them so memorable?

Writing a story that readers can get lost in requires worlds that feel real and alive. The world your story takes place in may be entirely based on our own world, or it may be a world of magic and fantasy that you bring to life through your writing. As these worlds stray further from our own, it takes more work to bring them to life. A story of a simple romance that takes place in modern-day Alaska is much easier to bring to life than one of superheroes with other-worldly powers or one that takes place on an entirely different planet in a futuristic universe. But that realism in whichever story is what makes them memorable.

With fantasy and science fiction stories, the worlds can quickly and easily become messy, unrealistic, and confusing. That’s why it’s imperative to understand world-building and create a plan for your story. So, let’s take a look at how we can create vivid and memorable worlds in creative writing.

How To Create Vivid and Memorable Fantasy and Sci-Fi Worlds in Creative Writing pinterest graphic

Start With a Plan

If you have no plan for your world, creating it will be far from simple. And, not only will it be difficult, but you’ll take twists and turns and backtrack unnecessarily. Save yourself time and stress by starting with a plan. You’ll want to have an idea of what your world will be like and how that will come across in your story.

To keep all of this information organized, it’s good to have a story bible or something similar so you don’t lose any details. I have a post all about story bibles and their uses you are welcome to read. If you don’t feel like creating your own, I have a template that you can use right away to plan and organize all the details of your story. You can find that here on my Etsy.

story bible listing image

I recommend drawing inspiration for what you imagine your world to look like from Pinterest. Save these pictures so you can better describe the world to your readers. Having pictures to reference will allow you to be more descriptive and vivid in your writing.

Add History

While creating an entire backstory for your world is excessive, including some history can add realness. When a story is set in our world, we already know its history, but when a story takes place in a futuristic setting or on different planets, we know nothing about how the world came to be.

Including a big historic event that set the course of your dystopian story or a huge extinction that left humans looking for a new planet can provide understanding for the reader as well as creates a more realistic world. Before you begin your story, take some time to create a timeline of your world. Include one or two big events and summarize them so that when you write, you can include some details about your world’s history.

Be Descriptive

Describing the locations and scenes in your story is essential to creating a vivid world. Even though you may imagine these wondrous locations, your readers won’t be able to picture them as you do—at least without some description. Describe the places your character visits in great detail so you can truly paint a picture in your reader’s mind. These fantasy and sci-fi worlds can be complex, unique, and hard for your readers to imagine.

To be descriptive, it’s important to use your senses. Describe the way the world looks, what it sounds like, the climate, layout, etc., to bring it to life in the reader’s mind.

Bland Characters = Bland Worlds

No world can be memorable if the characters are forgettable. You must create memorable characters to create a memorable world.

Creating dynamic characters involves making them feel like real people with goals and wants and likes and dislikes and faults and everything that makes us human. They should grow and change (for better or worse) throughout your story.

If you need help creating well-rounded characters, I have many posts that go into more detail:

Wrap Up

So, to create memorable and vivid worlds in creative writing, you should have a plan ready to go, write detailed descriptions of the world, and create dynamic characters with goals and aspirations.

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