In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique “Dark Water,” a short story by James Middleton. They discuss world building, genre, and how details can affect the stakes in your story.
Viewing your fictional world through your main character’s point of view will help you convey the details that he or she would notice. To that end, we suggest that you interview your character. As an intrepid reporter who will tell the character’s story, create a list of questions based on what you want to know and what aspects of the world aren’t clear to you (topography, climate, government, cultural practices, technology). Ask some wild card questions just to see what comes up: What’s your favorite place? What do you eat for dinner?
Then change your role and answer the questions as the character. Get into character as much as possible. Change your location and perhaps the means of recording the answers (grab your phone and record your voice). Try wearing an article of clothing that reminds you of your character and adopting his posture or mode of speech. Your character can act as a guide to help you enter the world. The more you can become your character, the more easily you will access what he or she knows about the world.
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