As you may know, my inquiry question is: what components make a fictional world vivid and realistic? My question has remained constant over this year’s Zip and I chose to do this question as an extension of my question last year, which focused on creating fictional characters. I wanted to continue learning about what it takes to be a fiction writer and create something of my own! I’ve gained a multitude of skills this year. I’ve learned to limit my research so I don’t focus too much on one component over another. I’ve practiced looking at our world and picking out components that are crucial to making our world go round. I’ve practiced taking notes and writing vivid short stories. All of these skills are things I will continue to develop throughout my high school and even post-secondary career.
The answer to my Zip question is subjective. Creating a fictional world is different for everyone! Yes, there are components that everyone needs to consider, like setting and the laws of physics, but most things are up to the imagination of the creator. For my fictional world, I’ve found that a few components that are absolutely crucial are physical terrain, the basic function of society, history, technology, and a magic system, if one chooses to create one. I decided to focus on technology, society, creating a magic system, and a little bit of history. My artifact is a short collection of 3 short stories. These short stories show the life of three different people going throughout their lives in my fictional world. I focused on showing social views and the way ‘magic’ is incorporated into this society. This artifact connects to my 3 chosen curricular competencies, which are:
- Use writing and designing processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
- Transform ideas and information to create original texts.
- Construct meaningful personal connections between self, text, and world.
The three short stories I wrote have all come from a planning and designing process that goes back to the very beginning of ZIP. I first had to design a fictional world and imagine the life of someone living in this fiction world then turn these thoughts into an engaging story, which meets the competency of ‘using writing and designing processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful texts’ and ‘transforming ideas and information into creating original texts’. A lot of my stories focus on the day to day lives of people in my world, which really don’t differ all that much from the lives of people today. I took inspiration from today’s world and combined it with my imagination and research to create my own fictional world, which satisfies the competency of ‘constructing meaningful personal connections between self, text, and world’. Here’s an excerpt from one of my stories!
Walking out the doors of his work office, he pauses, soaking in the soft spring sunlight. He’s done for the day. No more reports, proposals, or meetings until after the weekend. Walking down the street lined with flowers and trees, he enters his favourite coffee shop. He gives the familiar man at the counter a smile. A few minutes later, he exits the shop with a cup of tea in hand. He takes a sip. Chamomile. The coffee shop famous for giving the right drinks at the right times, due to their employees who have abilities to sense emotions and thoughts; they didn’t give him coffee this time. His exhaustion must be his primary emotion if he’s been given tea for the first time. Sleep is his top priority now.
Here are a few links that came in useful during my research/planning stage!
This link leads you to a guide for creating any kind of world. It goes into writing about/creating alternate worlds, imaginary worlds, and real locations. There are sections on different aspects to keep in mind as well, like gaining inspiration from real world comparisons and looking into plausible what if scenarios.
This link leads to a website that gives you concrete steps. For example, step 1 here is creating the physical lie of the land. I didn’t follow these steps, but the steps showed which components are crucial to a fictional world.
This link only focuses on creating a magic system. It goes into detail and gives examples of things to consider. I found this website very helpful, because one of the core ideas my world revolves around is magic. This helped me get started with a few ideas!
This website has three different posts regarding magic systems. Each blog post goes in depth about different components of a magic system. For example, the first blog post covers the difference between soft and hard magic systems, and tells you a little bit of the pros and cons of each.
New questions I have about my ZIP are:
- How do writers use details of their world to add to plot points in novels?
- When creating an extensive history of your world, what are some ‘eras’ that may be present?
- How might abilities affect the lives of certain individuals?
As I’m interested in (possibly) writing a novel, it makes me very excited to even think about these questions. The idea of making something of my own where stories and lives of people unfold is exhilarating!
ZIP is coming to a close and I’m a bit sad to see it go. This will be my last ZIP… I think I’ve made it a good one!