I want you to imagine a boy who lived in a world very much like our own. Going through his life he grew tired with all its imperfections and it got to a point he wanted to change that world. So he decided to create a world of his own. He created the idea for his world taking most of his life experience making it to the very detail. One day a power erupted inside of him and the boy began to change everything about this new world. This boy recreated the world making the sky red, buildings of the future and even different creatures that you couldn't even imagine and now the boy found peace in the world of his dreams! And that brings me the topic of today on How to create the world of your dreams world building and you!
So hey there everyone it’s your boy Vandel and I’m back with another with another topic on manga and comics and right now I’m going to take a break on the process of making manga and going into the foundation of one of the core elements of storytelling and that is world building.
Now quickly let’s define World building.
The process of developing a detailed and plausible fictional world for a novel or story. Simple you basically get to play god and craft a world that is different from our own that works for your story. With that definition in mind I want to go into some tips into what you can do to get better at crafting a better world.
-Spending Too much time World Building
Let's Start here and one thing I find Comic / Manga Creators is that They Spend Too much time World Building. Yes I know this right now this is you. The person who figures out how the toilets created by some black smith affect how the people of this world poop. Ok. Clearly you are the person that enjoys getting the finer details of their world. That is admirable but the problem with looking at these finer details like all artists is that we can get lost in them and we aren't creating our story and characters or even drawing and thus we become stuck. The goal of this whole process is to create the manga of our dream. Because as much time as you will spend building your world will never be perfect.
At This point you will say Vandel I have so many ideas how can you limit me and my imagination! Now hold up, I don't want to limit you. I want to streamline this process and I will give you some options on how you can efficiently work through your world building without getting stuck in this part of the process for most of your creative life.
So you have all of these Ideas I recommend splitting them up into two categories and that is the macro and the micro ideas of your world building. So basically take your ideas and see what fits in which part. The macro are the big parts of your world building. I would say that these are the parts of your world building that are important to your story. An Example of a macro world building is possibly the creation of mountains due to warring clans. They both were wiped out leaving a sword at the top of the mountain that our main character wants to get. There are many other examples of Macro ideas but to keep it simple let it be an important part of your story when you decide to use it. The Micro would be extra parts to your world building but aren't as important to your story. This might be how or why flowers are grown in a certain region or how the molecular biology of the reptile people in your story are and every other organism. Now if its important and your story needs it, use it. But if not I think you can go without it.
-Instead Build as you go
Alright let's say you are someone who is just starting on this journey and you don't have many if any ideas. I recommend That you Build as you create your story. Now this is basically just taking what works in your story, mainly those Macro elements we discussed earlier and just making your story with those ideas. As you go along the creation of other world building elements you can create more as necessary. Now I would like to talk about being careful since if you haven't thought out things thoroughly you may make mistakes in the continuity of your world and how things work. Be Careful in what you have stated in your world and make notes so that you can refer back to those notes so you don't want to contradict how your world works or things that may or may not have happened in your story.
Now one thing that I like to do if I'm not super planned out about the world is I like to create Threads. I don't know if there is an official term but Threads are basically visual open ended objects or items that can be expanded upon later. So for instance I’ll use artwork in a scene that might depict something like a major battle of two animals and this is something I can use in another chapter of my story and build on that. There are many ways to use threads and are a nice tool if you have a flash of an idea you want to save for later to build out your world that might not be so important to the actual story now. I hope that made sense.
-Don't Let the World take over your character
Alright it's time for me to beat a dead horse but i must say that… Well you know… You don't know? Characters.. The characters! Now I know this is a world building video and we are talking about the world. However, The reason people always want to get to know about the world and see what it's about is because of the character. I go into how you can create an awesome character in the video about how to start your manga. There is way more in that video. But that brings me to another part of creating your world.
Don't Bloat it with unnecessary exposition especially in the beginning of your story. Don't tell people about your world, show it to the reader as the story progresses and you build the world. World build… Ok I think you get it. It's off putting and boring to read pages of your world that i'm not yet interested in exploring. So perhaps a brief mention. but let's start with the characters, always the characters… Also in the idea of bloat is in that the exposition you are filling the details of every little detail that isn't really important to the story try to avoid doing that and if you are going to say something talk about the most interesting thing that can at least hook us right in before we get into who or what the story is about. Don't keep the reader waiting no one likes filler…
-Understanding your story
Ok I really went into the things to avoid during your world building, but a way to really avoid that is to understand your story. So know what will happen from the beginning of your story by outline your story and seeing how it will flow. Whether its long or short form, having that outline will help you flow and add all the elements of how your world will act and function. It is a small detail but it can be overlooked. Know where your story takes place and how that functions for that world. Ill get into how you can expand your world but do keep in mind what type of world you are trying to create for your story.
-Understanding your audience
With understanding your story for yourself to be consistent you need to understand your audience. Because for example if you have a world placed in high fantasy you might have something that is a bit more detailed and imagined than a story that takes place in the modern day. That's why knowing your story and that setting can impact how detailed you want to be and how your readers will be into your world building. You want your audience to be drawn into your world and want to see more of it regardless of where it takes place. You want them to know more so putting thought into it is super important. You want to work smarter not harder in this case and that's why you're here!
Now You still might have gotten into the video and you are like Vandel imma world build till I DIE. OK So Boom! We need to do the simplest thing to all your notes and Organize them! You probably have so many notes that have been kept over the years but really organizing them can help. The macro and micro was one way to organize your ideas about your world. There are many websites where you can condense your ideas. I’ll drop two sites I think are good but you know they didn't sponsor me. Please sponsor me.. The first is Scrivner which is basically for those who are on the heavy writing side but allows you to properly sort everything out. However it is paid after your 30 day free trial. The Next one NoteBook.ai might be a bit better for manga artists as it's more visual and can help you visualize better what in the world you are building. Its cool for free but limited and you would have to pick the stories you wanna build. However you know the one thing I didn't mention: good ol 'stone and chisel you can organize in your cave and the world is an oyster [ Cough]... Sorry caveman brave kicked in. But the better organized you are, the better you can add and refer back to your world ideas that you really wanna use or didn't get a chance to.
Within all of these Sites I think templates can help you really understand your world. That's Why I created a template of 101 questions that can be asked about your world. I really tried to keep it to the Macro but there are some micro bits that will help you. The more you know about the world the faster you can get to really putting it all together in the recommended sites. Now Look in the description I put a link for you all to get this template for free! So I hope you all enjoy it and it really helps with a lot of the questions you may have not thought about that might help spur on more story elements of your manga. It'll be exciting to explore more possibilities.
-It’s your world Be CREATIVE!
Speaking of possibilities, the one thing I see in all created worlds are a lot of parallels to the world we live in. I mean world building is creating a world that you want to be in and thus it can sometimes not be so removed from your own world. So how can you be creative with your world and it starts with your story: do cats rule the world, does the water goddess say who lives and dies? Do people worship mops? I don't know what that looks like but what I'm saying is really think outside of what you know or change how things work to fit that world.
Like I wanna use One piece as a lot of people know it does a lot of things right when it comes to world building. A small thing: how do you communicate in a non technological age. There are two methods of snail phone and even a bit more detail on that idea the snail takes on the features of the person on the call which is fascinating. Its a small detail. There is a money system, there is a world government, there are wayyyy more things in this world but really twisting your world to your story and how you can be inventive.
Here is one more example. In My Hero we have Todoroki who is the result of his father and other people in this world who want to create higher quality and refined quirks to essentially make more privileged children with strong quirks. Now we see through todoroki how that societal effect can damage those involved from that type of thinking. There is more to that but that is just an interesting way of adding more into your world.
Know your story and really run with it. Thinking about society, The environment, and politics in some instances will help you really come at these from a different angle that you want to change with your story. Those questions that are FREE in the link below will definitely get those ideas flowing! don't limit yourself to what you know really goes beyond… Push your limits !!! PLUS ULTRA…!!!! Ok sorry I got wrapped into my hero binge.
Now what you know about the world you live in will help you create your own, however to make your world really full one source of information will only make it flat and we all know that the world isnt flat right... To make that world feel full what we want to do is Research. Now researching I feel can go through two modes of finding out how you want your world to be. There is researching your inspirations and then researching cultures and history. Both I think are needed to create something that is totally unique.
When researching your inspirations you're basically looking at parts of world building that you like in other shows. Like the snail ideas I mentioned above, how can you create a unique communication system that works for the story? That said, let's bring back organizations making a list about what works in the worlds in the stories you like and how it relates to the story. Another good idea is really thinking about why this works so you have a better understanding of what you like about that world building element that you chose. Always ask why this works? What do I like about this ? and how does this enhance the story you are looking at ? I think it's a good idea to sometimes use this in your own story. But now we need to take it further. Let's look at actual cultures.
Now when looking at different cultures, looking at customs and how their history has been can be very insightful for how you might want to base aspects of that in your own story. Now you want to put your own twist on it to make it different but it can help inform your world. Using an actual culture has the benefit of grounding your story in a culture and learning about them and talking about how they were part of your inspiration and allow more people to look into them. Studying culture and how they form and what they do you can see some commonalities and things they do differently and understand the cause of what made that happen.
I used a culture in my story Note. This was the South African people and their colonization of their land by the dutch. There is a whole lot more in that but it was heavily inputted into that history of what happened. But I took that point to show how that has affected society and turned the people of that world into servants to pay a heavy tax to those they were colonized by. However that may have not been known to a lot of people so explanations like this are great when explaining parts of your world and how they came about.
Research comes in many ways. But taking inspirations from different worlds and adding them to your ideas of perception of the world will create something new. Try your best to be original. I want to be in a new world, not just in Naruto Z. Make something new and everyone will want to be part of that world!
-Manga is Visual Use That!
The last tip is really unique to the medium we work in and that is that Manga is visual and we need to use that. A lot of the ideas we have gone through you probably have imagined in your mind about your world. That's great. I think using a lot of the tools here will help, for example creating a Pinterest of buildings and world elements that you want to have inside your world. It’ll help as you reference them. Next, create sheets of your buildings and world elements, how do buildings look, Cultural clothing monuments, elements and so on. Whatever is important to your story, put that on your sheet with enough explanation for you to understand. The reason this is important is because you want to have consistency in your world visually or at least makes sense to the cultures and people of the place and time and make sense to how you have created it. This part here is really where you put everything together so really push all that pre production work you have done!
-Recap Closing Thoughts
Ok So this what I think will really help get you to creating a solid world that will only grow with time. Definitely research, take inspiration from everywhere and put yourself in it and it'll be something everyone wants to travel to. Be organized and don't get stuck in world building too long and also don't forget the characters you should be good at!
I know there are possibly details that I might have missed or things I could have added let me know in the comments down below. Also if you want info on other aspects of the manga creating process that I can give some ideas on let me know as well.