Writing The History Of Your World [World Building]

We all have a history, a background story. Every character has a background story, whether your readers discover it all or not. This goes for your fictional world as well.

We all have history classes in our school learning about our country, world, and its geography. Whether your characters attend school or not, there should be a few history lessons poking through your words for both them and your readers.

Writing The History of Your World | Creative Writing | World Building | Fantasy | RachelPoli.com

History Questions

  • Have there been any wars in the past? Who fought, who won, and why were they fighting?
  • Have there been any significant natural disasters? Have they changed certain areas of the world, is it a big part of a character’s past?
  • Are there any rulers? Is there a government? How did they come to be and what’s their purpose?
  • How were certain areas of your world built? Who built them and why?
  • Are there different countries? Are there borders? Why were they put up?
  • Are there any myths or legends that float around in your world?
  • How did your world come to be in the first place? (For example, do your characters believe a God create it?) Do they all believe the same religion? Maybe no one knows how the world came to be.

The Big Question

Ask yourself:

What would my characters learn in a history class?

The questions listed above should be in your answer. I’m sure there are other questions I’ve missed.

How do you create a history for your world? What are some other things you think about? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to chat! If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 200: Enter

Short Story: "Enter" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Casey knocked on the door. She took a step back wondering who was going to be on the other side. She casually looked over her shoulder wondering if her friends were even still standing on the sidewalk.

They weren’t.

She sighed, turning her attention back to the door. Once their baseball had been chucked over the fence by accident, no one wanted to knock on Mrs. Peters’ door to ask for it back. Casey didn’t understand why her friends didn’t want to talk to the old lady, but apparently she wasn’t a very nice person in the past.

Casey wanted to prove them wrong. Or, at least prove to them that she was the only brave one in the group.

They had all said that they would be waiting for her on the sidewalk. They were going to have her back in case anything bad happened. They wanted to witness everything. But of course, as soon as Casey knocked on the door, they had all run away.

Casey stared at the brown painted door. There was a nice “Home, Sweet, Home” sign on the sign. Underneath her feet was a mat that said “Welcome.” Casey didn’t understand why this old lady was do mean. It certainly didn’t seem that way.

Her friends had mentioned that Mrs. Peters liked to yell a lot. A few of their balls had made it over the fence before and every time they’ve asked to get it back, she’s yelled at them. After a few times, they gave up on trying to get their balls back.

Still, Casey looked to her right and noticed a lovely flower garden side the small porch. She didn’t know anything about gardening or flowers, but it sure looked nice and well kept. There were red flowers, yellow flowers, a few purple flowers, and even blue flowers. Casey smiled wondering if she would be able to get away with picking some to give to her mother.

She looked at the front door again. How long was she supposed to wait here? Should she knock again? Mrs. Peters was old. What is she was taking a nap? If Mrs. Peters was as mean as her friends said she was, Casey certainly didn’t want to see what would happen if Mrs. Peters was awoken from a nap.

Casey turned around again. She tried to see if she could see her friends anywhere and ask them what she should do, but they weren’t anywhere in sight. She grunted. Of course they weren’t. They were most likely back in their backyard playing with a different baseball. Casey was sure that they weren’t going to care whether she came back or not.

She faced the door again and looked up at it. There was a small window at the top, but Casey was too short to peek through it to see if Mrs. Peters was there. She would believe that Mrs. Peters was waiting quietly on the other side in an attempt to ignore the kids, hoping they’d go away on their own.

So, she knocked again. One more time couldn’t hurt.

Casey gasped after she knocked the second time. She could hear something from the other side of the door. Uh, oh. Maybe she really did wake Mrs. Peters up and she was on her way to go get a weapon of sorts!

Casey took a step back on the porch. She wanted to run, but there was no way she was going to back out now. She had told her friends that she would get their baseball back and she was going to do it. What could an old lady possibly do?

It was at that moment that Casey heard a voice. She looked all around her, believing that her friends had actually come back for her, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

Then she heard someone speak again. It sounded as though it was coming from inside the house.

Casey took a few steps forward toward the door again. Cautiously, she put her ear against the finished wood.

“I said, come in! The door’s open!”

Casey recoiled backward a little at the harsh words. That must have been Mrs. Peters shouting. She swallowed a dry lump in her throat and put a shaking hand on the doorknob. Slowly, she twisted it open and poked her head in.

There, just a few feet away from the front door in what seemed to be the living room, sat an old woman in a wooden rocking chair.

“Come in, come in.” she sighed. “My voice isn’t as strong as it used to be.”

Casey swallowed another lump. Her voice seemed just fine when she was shouting through the door a moment ago.

She entered, closing the door behind her lightly. Of course, she wasn’t too sure if that was a good idea as she didn’t want to lock herself in the house. She wanted to have an easy escape route just in case.

“Oh,” Mrs. Peters sounded surprised upon looking at Casey. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you before.”

“Um…” Casey stammered, “My name is Casey… I’m uh, friends with May and Tanya… Your next door neighbors…”

“Oh, the twins? They’re so cute. Are they here as well?” Mrs. Peters asked politely.

Casey felt her shoulders relax. Mrs. Peters didn’t seem like a mean woman at all. “No,” she shook her head.

“Oh, that’s a shame.” Mrs. Peters sighed. “I don’t get too many visitors anymore. In fact, that’s partially why I keep the front door unlocked. When someone does come, it’s easier to just shout at them. It gets harder each and every day to get up and moving out of this chair.” She chuckled to herself. “Oh, but listen to me go on and on… Why don’t you sit down, dear?”

Casey didn’t know what else to do but sit. So, she sat down on the couch across from Mrs. Peters’ chair. She looked around the room. It was dimly lit with antiques upon antiques all around the room. There was no TV, which Casey thought was odd. How could you not have a TV, especially when you lived alone and had no one to talk to?

“Is there something you needed?” Mrs. Peters asked.

“Oh, um…” Casey coughed as her voice squeaked. “Our baseball fell into your backyard. I was wondering if I could just go and get it.”

Mrs. Peters laughed. Casey shrunk down in her seat. Maybe this was what her friends meant. Maybe Mrs. Peters was stealing their balls and not giving them back.

“Of course!” Mrs. Peters exclaimed.

Casey felt herself relax again. Mrs. Peters wasn’t so bad.

“Honey, you don’t need to ask permission. If something of yours goes over the fence, feel free to just go into my yard and take it. You know,” Mrs. Peters continued, “I have a pretty large backyard. Bigger than May and Tanya’s, I believe. It’s fenced in and my garden is out front, so if you kids ever need extra room, go play in my yard.” She let out a sigh. “I remember watching my own children and their friends, then my grandchildren, play out in the yard. I missing watching them have fun, hearing the laughter… It’s what kept me young. Now…” she laughed again. “Well, look at me!”

Casey found herself smiling. She had no idea what her friends were talking about. Mrs. Peters was clearly too old and just wanted a little company. She stood up from the couch and held up her index finger. “Could you excuse me for a minute?”

“Of course, dear,”

Casey ran over to the back slider door. She immediately found the baseball in the large grassy area. She ran over to it, picked it up, and tossed it over the fence. She heard May and Tanya cheer as it flew over. She rolled her eyes. They definitely did ditch her and sure enough, they were playing something else while waiting for her.

Well, they were going to be waiting for a long time.

Casey made it back inside the house. She closed the door and sat back down on the couch.

“Mrs. Peters,” she said.

“Hmm?”
“Would you like some company?”

Mrs. Peters stared at Casey for a moment. Then she smiled wide. “You know, I don’t see my family too often. They live pretty far away. However, I recently found out I’m going to be a great-grandmother.”

Casey grinned.

Mrs. Peters reached down next to her chair. Beside her was a basket filled with yarn and knitting needles. “I made a blanket for each of my grandchildren. I would like to carry on that tradition, but I could use some help.”

Casey frowned. “But Mrs. Peters, I don’t know how to knit… I wouldn’t want to ruin the blanket.”

“Nonsense,” Mrs. Peters handed Casey some yarn and her own pair of knitting needles. “You’ll learn. And, maybe someday, you can make blankets for your own grandchildren.”

Casey took the yarn in her hands and watched as Mrs. Peters began her own blanket. She smiled and tried to copy what she was doing.

Words: 1,525

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

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Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold By Iain Reading [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review | Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading | RachelPoli.com

I have received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I love this book cover. It perfectly sums up some major events of the book – the plane, Kitty climbing the mountain, the whale in the background – and the art style is just great. I love looking at it and it certainly enticed me in.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I was approached by the author’s publicist about this book. I love mysteries and was intrigued by the “historical fiction” part of this story. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty Hawk goes on an adventure flying off in her plane to Alaska in order to watch whales, observe, and study them. Then she runs into a group of gold thieves. She overhears their plan and they catch her before she can run away. Her mission is no longer whales, it’s the gold.

I felt as though this book was slow to start. I didn’t really get interested in it until Kitty ran into the thieves and that was around 100 pages or so into the story. When that happened, I got really into it. I felt as though the plot was cleverly crafted into the story making the history important, but not bombarding me with a history lesson.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed Kitty’s character. She was a strong protagonist and certainly knew how to take care of herself. However, a good chunk of her dialogue, especially in the beginning, was her talking to her internal self. It got confusion since her thoughts were in normal quotations and I also didn’t think it made any sense. She was having actual conversations with herself. It became annoying and I didn’t think it was needed.

Once I met Charlie, Buck, Will, and Jay, I enjoyed their characters a lot more. The four brothers were certainly a great addition to the cast. Though, I wonder if all four were needed. Their personalities were certainly different from each other.

However, Jay was the silent type. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was almost as though he wasn’t even there. He didn’t start really speaking until the main part of their journey was halfway over. I had completely forgotten about him to the point that when his name was stated I had no idea who he was.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This story flowed well. As stated earlier, I felt as though the beginning was slow, but it did pick up when the adventure truly began. Once that happened it was smooth sailing. The history lessons were minimum but I learned a lot anyway.

I enjoyed all the description of their adventure, though a lot of the dialogue felt unrealistic to me. A lot of dialogue didn’t contain any contractions making the characters sound almost robotic. It just didn’t seem like something a person would say in real life.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Overall, this was a great read. Once you get past the beginning it’s an enjoyable read. If you like a casual mystery and have a taste for adventure, give this one a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Apparently even in deadly serious situations boys simply can’t resist the urge to play like they are secret agents or something.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About The Series

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to Kitty Hawk World

Check out the book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Time To Write: Brainstorm Worlds [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a set the scene. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now check out this week’s prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | World Building | RachelPoli.com

Brainstorm ideas for creating a world for one of the characters you’ve created.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing!

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5 Tips To Name Your World [World Building]

Just like naming your characters, naming your world and the places inside it can be difficult. You should give it some thought, but you might be able to just write down whatever comes into your head first.

Naming Your World | World Building | Fantasy | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

1. Have names your readers will remember

Everyone knows Hogwarts. We all know Mt. Doom. They’re not fancy names. Hogwarts is out of this world while the word “Doom” is simple and common. Names don’t have to be simple but they should be memorable.

2. Avoid names that can’t be pronounced easily

Short names are good, long names are fun, a mixture of the two is great. However, when it comes to any name, you should be able to pronounce it easily. Even if your readers have to stop to sound it out, they should be able to make some sort of sense of it.

3. Take names from the things around you

Pay attention to the current world we live in. Graffiti is on the walls, names are in the credits of movies, you can easily take common names and turn it into something else. Some names you can probably use in your world as is. Not everything needs to be made up.

4. Play around with places that already exist

Scramble the letters in your hometown’s name. Spell it backward. Spell it backward and then scramble the letters around. The possibilities are endless.

5. Let names come to you

You don’t always have to sit and brainstorm name ideas. If your characters are going to a new town, you don’t have to know that town’s name right away. Refer to it as “Town A” and bold it so you can easily see it stick out when you’re editing later on. You can always think of a name later. A name may come to you when you least expect it.

How do you typically come up with names for your worlds and places? Let me know in the comments below!

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WIP Wednesday: February 2018

I don’t have much of an introduction for this one. It’s already February.

I feel like 2018 is already going by too fast.

WIP Wednesday: February 2018 | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

What am I currently working on?

TAKE OVER

The first round of edits is underway for my next Wattpad story. I’m planning on publishing this on Wattpad in April. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, feel free to check out The Scribe which was my first story published in January.

GEORGE FLORENCE

I’ve lost track of how many edits I’ve done on this one. I’m plugging along on it trying to fill in plot holes and figure out the overall series. This one is certainly a process, but it will get there. It will come together. Slowly but surely.

PERPLEXED

This project is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I keep getting farther behind on it. The ideas aren’t as smooth as I imagined they’d be. I’m determined to meet my deadline though!

FREELANCE

I’m finally taking that leap into the freelance world. I’ve spent a good chunk of this month preparing for starting my own freelance business. If you need some extra help, feel free to check out the Let Me Help page on this blog. Even if you don’t, please check it out and let me know what you think. I’m excited to finally dive into this.

What are you currently working on? How is your progress going? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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World Building Checklist

A lot comes with world building. There’s so much to think about. Will it all be needed? Maybe, maybe not. However, it’s best for you to know absolutely everything just in case something comes up.

World Building Checklist | Fantasy | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

World Building: Things To Think About

  • Type of world
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • History
  • Rules (of the world and magic, if magic exists)
  • Magic
  • Technology
  • People/Races
  • Religion
  • Food, habits, gestures
  • Language
  • Government
  • Laws
  • Education
  • Calendar
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Creatures
  • Currency
  • Time
  • Housing
  • Leisure/Activities

What are some other things you would add to your world building? Let me know in the comments below!

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