I think that most people have dreamed about flying. How freeing it would be. But if there is no physical component to flying, say like wings we have to move, my lack of physical fitness would literally balloon to epic proportions. Think zeppelin size people floating around. And the price of toilet paper! Sanitation systems. The list goes on and on. It would be a shitty world.
Or by being able to fly, we solve global warning, or at least take a big chunk out of it. No need for cars, roads, parking problems are thing of the past. Parkades are torn down for parks. No road rage, stress is down. Commute times plummet. Without cars to haul goods around we focus on local stores and markets.
Both of these are examples of worldbuilding. You could use either one of these ‘worlds’ in a story, but as you can imagine, each bring radically different impacts to my story. (or your story). What this example does for me is clearly demonstrate that setting is a character in any writing you do. Whether it’s for local papers or epic fantasy like Sharlene Engel is doing, once she stops traveling the world. And yes that was a cheap shot at Sharelene to finish her re-write on her awesome novel so I can read it! (This digression brought to you by it’s all about me (r)).
My struggle with world building is containing the ideas and concepts of the world. They have to make common sense. Practical impacts on the awesomeness of your world. What are the limitations? We are all limited, what constraints do apply to your world? Here’s an example.
Imagine your flying people are space explorer’s and they are in researching a planet for possible first contact. No one on the planet they are investigating can fly. So our intrepid researchers have to walk. What is the impact of walking, on people who have never walked? Or only walked very short distances? (If you like do this as homework)
The better question might be, how can this impact my story?
In our example one of our researchers stubs and breaks her/his/their toe and is forced to go to a local hospital. How can this incident impact first contact between two species? I am sure you can see dream up several ways this can be used in any genre of any story.
My current work in progress has a situation where the artificial gravity goes on and off as a result of intermittent power failure. And while artificial gravity is fascinating to me, what’s more important is the physical impact on characters as they move through the environment trying to save their friends. There is no need for me to explain in glorious detail how the artificial gravity works, it just does. We don’t stop to explain how electricity flickers on off in power failure, it just does.
I am trying very hard to let common sense and character interaction be my guide. For those of you that know me, you can stop laughing about me using common sense.