Going Beyond the Story: Creating a Universe

Many people believe that what I do is create stories. You might be surprised that I would start a sentence like that as a storyteller as if that wasn’t the case. That is the case but it’s more than that.

Look at the top of my website. You will see two things which are inextricably tied together that are the foundation of what I do. Under my name, it says explicitly “storyteller” and “universe creator”. I used to have two other words there: wordsmith and novelist but those two words seemed extraneous as storyteller encompassed both of those things. It’s the last part that I believe gets overlooked often and I’ve said it in that particular way on purpose.

You may have seen the term in fiction writing “world building”. For what I do here, it goes beyond just creating a world. It’s not just the world but a whole universe because my stories take place in various different places: different dimensions, times, even different planets. That being the case, it is not simply a world that is being created but a whole universe. It’s similar to world building but on a broader scope.

Take Marvel and DC for example. Many of the adventures and stories take place on the planet Earth but a vast number of them do not. Some take place on different planets. If you read Dr. Strange or The Spectre, you know that often their stories take place in different dimensions. These dimensions have to have background and substance in order to be believable.

Universe creation is an integral part of what I spend a lot of my time on. Universe creation is a precursor to what I do before I begin to write a story. If that pre-work is not done beforehand, I’m asking for trouble. This is how many writers will write themselves into a corner because they have not thought through the ramifications and details of the setting that they are placing their characters and where the story takes place. It is an elaborate focus on setting.

This is not the same as outlining. There are some authors — many authors — that swear against writing anything beforehand and just sit down at the computer and began tapping away. Depending on the genre, you might be able to get away with that. But if you write in the arena of science fiction, fantasy, or their many close cousins like urban fantasy, steampunk, and (as mentioned above) superheroic, I believe doing something like that is unwise at best. There are too many details and too many aspects that crop up as you are writing that need to stay consistent. It is like I said in a former post: it’s not that it needs to be realistic. It needs to be believable. Your fictional world will not be believable if it’s not consistent and your readers are going to pick up on that. A writer should never underestimate their readers. They’ll soon realize that you don’t respect their intelligence and be gone before you know it.

In order to take my readers down the rabbit hole further, I have coined the phrase RIU (Reality Imagination Universe) Citizens. RIU Citizens are those who get the inside scoop on the universe that is being created where my stories take place. Of course, you’re going to be immersed in it if you read any of my work but there are behind the scenes details that I give RIU Citizens that just casual readers are not privy to. The term RIU Citizen denotes that these people are more involved in the things I create. They are residents of my universe, not just spectators. They live there when they read my stories. They know details that make the stories come alive more. They have the insider information.

I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy the stories without being an RIU Citizen. You most certainly can. My goal is to make sure that you do so that you want to become an RIU Citizen. I’m just saying that you’re probably going to enjoy the stories more if you become an RIU Citizen. Of course, this will take a small bit more investment of time. Hardly noticeable.

The universe behind the scenes for my stories is critical and crucial information. I spend much time on fleshing out and creating those details. Almost as much time as I do creating the stories. Yes, it is that important.

So I want to invite you today to become a part of the RIU Citizenship. As you read the stories and get the information, you will begin to not only observe through the eyes of being a reader but be employed as one who is a part of it.

I know I’ve been going above and beyond lately than the original goal of one post a week but there’s so much I want to share with my 3 1/2 readers.

Until next time I friends, see you in The Tapestry!

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