In the manga/anime of ‘One Piece’, there’s a character named Nico Robin. Her goal is to find these large blocks of stone called Poneglyphs. They tell a variety of things, but there’s one that is supposed to hold a span of lost history. It covers what’s called the Void Century or Blank Period, which nobody knows anything about. This is a really cool subplot, which doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It also got me thinking.
Robin’s quest is much like world-building. You have your starting point, but a lot of gaps to fill in as you go along. Every story adds to the world. Not only in locations, but the past of those areas and the surrounding lands. You learn about ancient wars, great heroes, old villains, and other colorful additions that make your world feel alive. Thankfully, it’s much easier to find your world’s Poneglyphs when you’re the one creating them as they’re needed. Personally, I think this is one of the most entertaining parts about world building, especially in fantasy.
Huh . . . This post was supposed to be longer, but that point was pretty clear. Guess I’ll switch a few things around and make this a Questions 3 post.
- How much of your world’s history do you design before writing?
- Do you think minor details (local tales for color) are important or should be left out?
- What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger self or a new author in regards to writing a history for their world?