Intro To World Building Through Pop Culture - Where to Begin?? (pt.2)

Writing tips and author advice on building a sci-fi or fantasy world with a focus on pop culture. This is the second post in a series.


Eirian Naomi Omid

2/25/2022 3 min read

Intro To World Building Through Pop Culture (pt. 2)

Where to Begin??

So it’s all very really simple. 

I began doing this when I was 12 or 13.

Start with this style of world building anywhere you’d like. It’s essentially an exercise in nouns. You’re figuring out which people, places, and things have a place in your story.

Don’t worry about the story behind the brand yet, just focus on the names for people, places, and things at first.

I first did this with a vampire story I was writing when I was 12 or 13. I needed a name for a teenage heart throb and unfortunately named him Luke Slobber, but at least he had a name. From there I branched out into stores, restaurants, fast food joints, and various types of musical artists.

And these things change and grow over time. Sometimes you come up with a name writing the rough draft, and have changed it four times by the final one. The first name you come up with is essentially a placeholder term. As you go back through during the editing process, you’re going to come up with better, more stylistic names and terms. You might also catch yourself using too many synonyms in a row, or too many alliterations, which should be rectified in the editing process as well. For example, if my heartthrob’s name had been Luke Slobber and his co-starlet’s name was Lucinda Squeaks, or Linda Saliva, then I would have been told to change one of those names so that the LS motif doesn’t get confusing.

Character names can change to. My main character in #SelfishSunday was originally named Anemone… and then someone commented on an Instagram post of mine that you couldn’t pronounce the name drunk. Hence, the Keoni Magnolia series had formed. And in a salute to that historical fact, I named of the pizzeria they go to towards the end of the book in honor of that lost gem - Anemone’s.

Start anywhere. What or who do you need first? A place to hang out? A high value wrist watch? The best place in town for a first date? The song playing on the radio when your MCs leave on their first road trip? What about the car they’re driving? Start there. Name it, claim it, prepare to rearrange it, and continue writing your story.

You can take it as far and wild as you want. My planet even has different names for north, south, east, and west. But that was a very recent development.

Later, you will need to think about the significance of the name mentioned, and the history behind it. You may even find yourself tightening up your degrees of separation and link more of the story than you initially anticipated.

I can’t give you an example of this tactic to use within my own writing because it would be major, mid series spoilers, but…

Say that your main character carries around a laptop all the time. If you have the history of the laptop, the main character could see the inventor speak at a convention, or meet them somehow later on in the series. And an overall series writing tip is to make sure you don’t leave a lot of unnecessary descriptions. Even if it’s a red herring done intentionally, every description should have a purpose. Recently, during the editing of breakout, I realize that I had given in-depth descriptions for characters I had no intention of bringing into the story long term. In that case, you can either cut out the fact and add to the story in other places, or make note of it and leave it as a lead to come back around to you at some point later on in the series.

You need to know your main character, and have an outline of your story, but from there, the job of the 1st/rough draft is to help you find all the cardboard cutouts and props that you need in order to tell the story.

Trust the process. Things will flush out with the editing process. So just start… Start.

We’ll cover everything else once you’ve done that. Because the only place to start, is at the beginning.

About Eirian

World Building Through Pop Culture with EirianWrites is a monthly world-building segment, centered around building your fantasy world by using the modern world around you, and is written by author, artist, and content creator Eirian Naomi Omid (aka EirianWrites).

Eirian Naomi Omid is a New Adult Fiction Author who specializes in Speculative Literature and Urban Fantasy. She has self-published 6 books, including Note to Self, a book of affirmations written by Goddesses, for Goddesses - which was written by a group of women, each of whom gets paid for their contribution on every copy sold.

Outside of writing, EirianWrites produces a monthly podcast about Goddess Mindset, and a true-weekly YouTube show which breaks down the important mindsets presented in popular lyrics.

You can keep up with everything Eirian Naomi does by visiting her website

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