Fool's Alchemist Fool's Alchemist

What I’m Learning About Creating Stories and Building Worlds


A young woman standing in front of an adult sized book opened to reveal a doorway on the left page leading to a set of stairs hinting at fantastical settingRight after deciding to write your fiction story, what is the next thing you face?

Figuring out how to write your fiction.

The fun stories you wrote as a kid for school, or improvised for friends or family, were just that – a story by a kid.

These accomplishments were important because they taught you that you have a knack to create and tell stories. You felt joy having fun inventing stories. You know you can do it.

Yet, somewhere along the way, you developed expertise in another field or industry. You know what it’s like to work and feel like a professional. Intuitively, you know there’s some work to do to upgrade your skill set to produce high-quality stories.

How do you start getting good at creating fiction and building worlds?

An open book with a landscape of grasslands and pine trees on top leading into a similar background

There are so many things to learn about: story structure, characterization, scene writing, story premise, moral theme, subtext, description that is lean and conveys a mood, active dialogue and so much more.

With your pride and faith on the line to become a published author someday soon, you begin to take the incremental steps to build an understanding of these concepts. You start to figure out how they apply to how you will tell your stories. You learn to experiment with them in practical ways.

The goal? Get to that point where you feel that natural confidence that you experience when you practice the profession in which you are already an expert.

What’s the difference between this page and the Book Reviews page?

Over thirty books open in the middle and stacked on top of each otherThe difference between this segment and the Book Reviews segment is simple. Here, I will focus on what I’m learning about a concept, or an idea, or hypothesis, or whatever.

It could be considered a collection of reflections on a given element at a given point in time.

Different books and other sources will inform the thinking related to that concept.

So, I read widely. I focus on understanding a concept. If that means I end up reading parts of fifteen different books supplemented with another fifteen articles, then so be it. Yet, I don’t think of it that way. I simply want to understand. This results often in starting and getting partway through quite a few books at the same time.

It’s not that I won’t ever finish reading those books, but I may finish them later. It could be weeks, months or years. It depends on the book and the extent to which I feel ready to move through the last third (usually!) of the book. To be ready for that last third, I may feel that I need to have a solid grasp of the first two-thirds, and the foundation of knowledge established therein.

How to find what you need to help you learn how to create fiction stories and worlds?

I’m at the beginning of building this page so, for now, I’ll simply list the posts and provide a brief description.

At some point, it’ll make sense to group the posts in sub-lists. Adaptations will be made at that time. As the page evolves over time, and the list becomes unwieldy, I’ll revisit the structure of this page.


Images courtesy of the artists at Pixabay.