Nation building: a guide for writing fiction

This is my attempt to write 500(ish) words a day and post it online. Baring my access to the internet and other such distractions. Here is my thoughts on an article that I read concerning that one should not worry about the background of a location. For me it helps, and here are my thoughts:


Here are my thoughts on the idea of nation building for fiction. It helps establish a source of actions for the characters. As characters travel around or conduct their adventures, the writer can easily be caught up talking about what the area looks like or how many trees are in a particular area. This distracts the reader from the action.

When you go out into the forest, do you try to count the number of trees or sparrows in an area? Mind you, if that was your job, I sure would, but if I’m looking to get lost in the woods to let my mind flow freely I can care less that there are more pine trees that oak trees.

Many of these descriptions say for example, that are set in a city help me keep areas and people in check. If someone is running away from the local law enforcement, I would expect the scenery would either aid or hinder the escape. Is the city filled with winding roads, like in Paris, or were they developed with ease of travel in mind?

Looking at the book Bad Omens, the evil character Crawley used his demonic knowledge to weave an evil sigil into the fabric of the city. Not only did this feed the planes of hell power, but it also caused unnecessary traffic in London. Even Washington DC was designed to maximize the secret powers. This is the main focus in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles.

Luckily for them, the locations were already set. For fiction and fantasy writers a framework is needed. While it not absolutely to come out and say, “Hey, the City of Gamsbin is really a copy of Istanbul (aka Constantinople) from 1274.” The question the author should ask themselves is “why is it like the place?” Next, set out to describe it.

“There’s no place like home”

Another important not is to transfer what is seen in your mind to what is on the paper. Sure you can see towering glass structures or long wooden piers jutting into the ocean, it’s another to simply keep it simple.

The hero walked down the wooden pier.


The hero’s (once he/she has been established) footfalls echoed along the wooden pier. The timbers, once the proud body of the city’s armada, were now relegated to a skeleton of its former glory. As the hero reflected upon the history while the waves crashed against the structure. Eventually, all must succumb to the eventuality that time will ravage the body and mind. He paused for a moment to glance down at the water. He narrowed his eyes, “but not this day.”

In this, we can see the hero reflecting on the outcome that eventually, he/she will end up like the might warships, a skeleton. Will his efforts be in vain or will his/her actions be useful for future generations, like a foundation?

Final Thoughts

The use of symbolism can be used to foreshadow events. Through keeping in mind, you can make the hero or villain of your story reflect upon the actions.


Dr. C. Cat (the one and only) is the first economic conservative cat blogger, and sometimes fiction writer. If you wish to donate to me, please send me all the tuna you have in the house. I would be sure to send back an empty can so it can recycled.

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