Some great advice from this week’s guest author, Melissa McPhail
Every author should understand world-building. Whether engaged in the writing of genre or literary fiction, an author crafts a unique world with each novel. Even when set in the present day, the novel’s events layer a new dimension upon our visible reality. It’s the dimension of those characters, of that story, but it should feel as real to the reader as his own tangible environment.
One overlooked element in world-building is religion. Often when religion isn’t factoring into the plot of the story, the author may fail to mention it. Yet when we take a look at how religion influences our daily lives—even when we ourselves may practice no particular faith—it’s clear that religion of some nature is part and parcel to nearly every culture that inhabits this earth.
Religion influences our daily interactions with others (moral codes, traditions) and for many, it determines at least in part the way they spend their mornings, nights or weekends. It even influences the words we swear (or curse) by.
Religious symbols and icons are prevalent in society, from cathedrals to dollar bills to the skylines of Earth’s most ancient cities. Sadly, in today’s culture, the subject of religion provides unending fodder for politicians, litigators, pundits and malcontents; yet these detractions aside, the belief in something greater than ourselves continues to offer spiritual succor for a majority of the world’s population.
Whether you as the author practice any faith, it’s impossible to escape the cultural foundations the world’s religions—from the pagan to the divine—have established through the centuries. Why would life be any different for other cultures, other worlds, other lands? Or for your magical vampire hunter detective?
Don’t overlook this valuable tool for making the world of your novel more real to the reader. The inclusion of some religious mention—whether mystical, magical or mythological—can bring greater depth to any story and create instant bonds of reality between the reader and your characters.
With that said, happy writing!
Thanks Melissa! Hey folks – the Rafflecopter giveaway is still going on! Enter it here:a Rafflecopter giveaway