Hard World Building vs. Soft World Building

There is a lot of factors in writing a fiction/fantasy novel that keeps the reader immersed in the world the writer creates. The two main ways that these are expressed in a story is through Hard World Building and Soft World Building.

Hard World Building: essentially, this method of story telling tries to fill the written world with as much logic as possible so that you as the reader is enveloped by the world. These books tend to have heavy handed descriptions of language, rules, and grounding facts.

Soft World Building: creating a world that is more up to the imagination of the reader where the themes/philosophy/visual depth that makes you imagine more than what is written. There is much more reader imagination involvement and a lack of defined lines to let the world envelop the reader in wonder.

Note: Neither of these is a “better” way of writing, they simply are two different methods with different priorities of story telling.

The video below is from the YouTuber Hello Future Me giving a great description and examples of Hard World Building and Soft Worldbuilding. Enjoy this and see how many books/movies you can find examples of these world building methods.

(“Hard Worldbuilding vs. Soft Worldbuilding | A Study of Studio Ghibli” by Hello Future Me)

About Curtis Decker

Happy to be here and to open the library to all in need. I love talking about stories, drawing, farming, and hiking. Come in for books, conversations, and to share in the atmosphere of our historic small town library. A magical place of stories and wonder.
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