Playing God

According to many religions, all of existence – people, places, laws of physics, flora, fauna, weather patterns – was created by some form of omnipotent force. Alternatively, science suggests that it was a Big Bang followed by millennia of evolution.

However it happened, existence is complicated. The problem that writers have, is that we’re not omnipotent but we have to pretend that we are. We have to act like we know literally everything about whatever world we’re writing in.

I can’t decide whether it’s easier to write about the world of the day-to-day or create a fantasy world of my own. On the one hand, the ‘real world’ is accessible, observable, documented: with enough research, an author can write both fiction and non-fiction authentically.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to know everything and to maintain accuracy in all areas. This allows more knowledgeable readers to perceive plot-holes and inaccuracies. If your favourite thing in the world is research, this is probably not a big deal. Personally, I’m not a fan.

That leaves the creation of a separate and distinctive world created by the author and produces its own set of problems. You have to create your own laws, societies, governments, geography, history, religion, physics, and on and on and on. All this before you even think about characters and plots.

Silver lining? It’s your world. Nobody knows more about it than you do. That’s not to say that you can just do whatever you want: even imaginary worlds have to be both believable and relatable. If you want your character to travel 600 miles on foot in three days, you’re gonna have to explain how the hell they’re going to manage such an improbable feat.

There are plenty of useful resources available online to get you thinking about how to generate a believable fantasy universe. Sites like provide detailed advice on the basics, getting started, and avoiding genre mistakes. So, if you’re thinking about writing anything, your first step should probably be to really ruminate on all those little background details that add depth and veracity to any well-told tale.


Writer’s Prayer

Too many worlds live inside my head;
A surfeit of paths down which to be led.
Limitless choices that wait to be made;
An abundance of plans to be carefully laid.

A bushel of hearts in the palm of my hand –
Deciding their chances to fall or stand.
Plethoric moments to fight or run –
Controlling their moments of fear and fun

With laws to be written, and currency coined,
Some lives torn asunder, some loves to be joined,
Whether placing an obstacle, or mounting a threat,
There are tools to provide for each challenge that’s met.

Too many worlds live inside my head
That hungrily wait to be fattened and fed.
Layers of thought to be stitched to a whole,
A rich, grand adventure, the ultimate goal.


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