Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writing 101: Creating Lore

One of the most difficult things for any author to do is create lore, and no I’m not talking about Data’s evil brother (Star Trek shoutout). When you introduce fantasy creatures and certain other elements into your story, there are some questions you’re going to have to answer -- preferably, before you even begin writing the story.

Your Own Private Mythology

Lore is one of those things that’s always evolving. J.K. Rowling included mermaids in her books, Stephenie Meyer found something brand-new to add to vampires and authors everywhere are inventing their own lore right this very moment. If you’re also going to invent your lore, there are some things to keep in mind when you’re doing it.

When you’re creating lore for brand-new characters, you have a great level of freedom. You can come up with anything you want -- like J.R.R. Tolkien and the hobbits. When you’re writing about creatures that have already been established, like vampires, you still have lots of options. Maybe you’ll stick to traditional mythology about vampires, as established by writers like Bram Stoker. Maybe you’ll come up with your own, like a newer author we all know about. 

That’s the thing about writing your own lore. You can pretty much write your own ticket, because it’s your book. Some purists may not like new lore you add to established creatures, so that’s something to think about. But no matter what you choose to do about your lore, there’s one thing you’re going to have to do first: establish it.

If you’re creating new lore or re-visiting established lore, you need to know exactly what that lore is before you even begin writing the story. Answer any of your own questions about it, and then some, because your readers will have questions and they will expect to find the answers. You’d better be prepared to give them to those readers. If you don't fully understand your own lore, they’re not going to, either. So make sure you know what it is, and choose to reveal it how you want. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with readers who are confused about what’s going on in your book. And that’s when they’ll choose to put your book down instead.

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