Okay, Saboten Con was really fun, but it’s time to get back to work. Well, once I get back home. I’m still on the road visiting friends, but I have WiFi and an imagination, so I’ll come up with something.
Today I thought I’d talk about flavor elements in world building. These are the little things. Stuff that’s small and interchangeable, but still important for making your world feel alive. These aren’t compulsory, by any means, but the can really help immerse reader.
Let me start with a series that flat out abuses their flavor elements: Star Trek. I’ve been rewatching Deep Space Nine for a couple months now and, my god, they can’t go an episode without it. No one says “tea,” they say “Argonian Reed tea.” Its never “he’s as big as a bull,” it’s “he’s as big as a Tavinian rage bull.” It’s awkward that they’re so specific about everything. You think just once they’d say just “ale.”
With some exceptions, I think Star Wars does it better. Remember that blue milk from A New Hope? It’s just there. No name, no explanation. There’s no reason the characters should acknowledge it. It lets you see the world is different without bashing you over the head with it.
So, my humble advice is to go a little nuts with your flavor. Add unique features, but remember not to bash the reader/viewer over the head with them. Let them wonder what those things might be, so long as they’re not plot critical. Leave a little to the imagination. Just enough spice to flavor the plot, not drown it.
Be excellent to each other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.