History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Shade and Light in Worldbuilding

Makeshift shelter constructed of wood and leaves on a sunny beachWhen you’re world building, how much thought do you give to places that have shade and places that are brightly lit? And how do your characters react to the same?

In this article, which talks about the lack of shade in Los Angeles, and how it is a marker of economic disparity, there are all kinds of elements that a writer can pick out for world building purposes. What kind of trees grow in your world? How common are they? Do they provide shade, or are they tall spindly things like palm trees? Are there parts of the world where the trees are allowed to grow, and parts where they’ve been cut down? If there aren’t any trees, where do people find shade?

All of these things can contribute to the culture of your world–maybe there are no trees, so the culture has evolved to spending daytime hours indoors, and evening hours outdoors. Alternately, maybe people have constructed sun blocks instead. But are those sun blocks equally distributed or confined to one part of a town?

Thinking about things like shade and light might open up an entire avenue of your world that you haven’t thought about before. When you picture your world, think about where the shady spots are, as well as the bright spots, and figure out what that means on a broader scale!

Happy world building!

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