Hi everyone! Today, I am talking creativity and universe building. Here are 5 simple things you can do to make sure your universe is as complete and immersive as possible:
1. Understand How it Feels to Live in the Universe
Start with the feelings that people within the universe experience. This is an absolutely vital part of building a universe, because it is the feelings that people will connect to when they experience something. Whether it’s a fantasy universe with wonder and magic or a cyberpunk future where the corporations suppress everyone who just wants to live their own way, people will look for the feelings that they want within the universe when they bond to it.
2. Ensure that a Broad Framework is there
You want to ensure that that, no matter what story needs to be told, there is support for it. If you do, people can imagine further stories in that universe, which will make it feel larger than you can practically explain.There is no hard and fast rule for this, it’s certainly not an easy thing to know exactly how much is required in order to build a universe framework. Sometimes, all you need to do is explain that “Angels and Demons are fighting over what remains of our civilisation and will trample on any Human who gets in the way.” and most people can then understand what the feeling in that universe is. This applies whether depending on whether you’re playing as an Angel. Demon, or indeed one of the remaining Humans.This is something that I pursued in Era: Forbidden ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-forbidden ). On the other hand, you might need to describe at least the top few companies that exist in the cyberpunk universe, so that people can understand how the attitudes vary. That might cause a different experience, depending on who they’re interacting with.
3. Ensure that any story you tell is about the most important person in the universe at that moment.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that there are no other important people in the universe at other moments. A brilliant example of this is the Star Wars trilogies. In the first, Anakin Skywalker was unquestionably the most important character in the universe. In the second, it’s Luke Skywalker. However, Anakin Skywalker is still there as Darth Vader, but he is not the central point of the story anymore.
In the third trilogy, the same applies to both characters – they are both present in the universe, in the sense that Kylo Ren still looks back at Darth Vader, and believes that he may have had the right path. And Luke Skywalker provides guidance to Rey whether he intends her to follow the path of a Jedi or not.This is a good example of how the focus of the universe might shift. As stories are told, bear in mind that the story you’re telling right now will automatically cause a focus for that universe. If you give an example story of your universe, people will believe that that is what the most important part of it is, and they may be reluctant to go off and explore in other directions.
4. Don’t Close the Scope.
If you leave the universe open for infinite possibilities, then they’ll be no limit to the stories that people can tell within the lines that you defined for that universe. Fanfiction has been doing this for absolutely ages, and it’s a great example of how sometimes one of the less important characters might actually be the centre of the universe in a story. Even something as basic as an origin story for a minor character will mean they are central at that moment. This is just because because they are eventually going to appear in the main story as a minor character and affect more major characters. But in that place at that time that is the only character which people have an interest in. As long as you leave the scope open for people to create their own stories, you’re never going to have a problem with people thinking of their own stories within it. If you close it off, you’re going to find that people do not find your universe filled with possibilities.I understand this might sound a little odd if you’re looking to complete the universe. But it’s worth bearing in mind that people don’t necessarily want your universe closed off in order for it to feel complete.
5. Don’t get Bogged Down in History.
5000 years of history in your universe is all well and good… but, honestly, few people want to read real history, let alone fictional history that you’ve invented! You need to be aware of that, and you need to make sure that when you create your history, you focus on the things that affect how things feel in the present of your story. You may not even need to tell very much of the history at all – what you need to do is make sure that people understand that the history of difficulties between two alien nations means that in the present day, they don’t trust each other. You don’t necessarily need to tell the full story and every blow by blow event in the war that happened.
This is for a few reasons. First of all, it allows you to finish creating the universe much faster than you otherwise would be able to. Secondly, it allows you to focus the reader’s attention on the important points of the history that will affect the feel of the universe, building on point one.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing these 5 things that I think you should do when creating universe to ensure that it is both immersive and complete! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!