Author Topic: World Building  (Read 1648 times)

Mistress of Darkness

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World Building
« on: April 29, 2004, 08:13:55 PM »
I'm looking for advice on world building.

I started work on my story and based on feedback from AS, it sounds like I need a better definition of my world than the vague this country is here and that on is over to the east someplace.

Anyone have any ideas?

I've looked at Patricia C. Wrede's world building questions and a World Building tutorial that I found on the internet. Both are very extensive and intensive, and before I dive into either one, I'd like to know what the rest of you do. Or if you've heard/read any good suggestions.
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Master Xaio

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Re: World Building
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2004, 08:22:54 PM »
I find that once I've got a general idea of the different people and their attitudes, I just start drawing a map.  I try and suit each land to the people as logically their personality would partly have partly evolved to suit their land.  From there I find it fairly easy to refine etc.

It also helps if u know what kinda fauna and flora is present in the land.  is it Australian Rainforest, Typical English Oak forests, New Zealand Antarctic Beech Forests (like the ones used for Lothlorien in the LotR moves) or what? Then u do a little bit of research on where that would occur, what kinda landscape.

Thats just a quick overview.
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GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Re: World Building
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2004, 10:33:45 PM »
I find that if I base the overall world around something I dislike the rest falls in place.  Like the war in Iraq, so I would have a mountainous terrain with a dictorical ruler, and then I would base the plot around that.  Or if I already had a plot I would base the terrain and government and society around the character in a evil-nuetral way.  So that it can be an antagonist in the backround that you never really need to cover, but people know it's there...
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EUOL

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Re: World Building
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2004, 07:05:58 AM »
Quote
I find that if I base the overall world around something I dislike the rest falls in place.  Like the war in Iraq, so I would have a mountainous terrain with a dictorical ruler, and then I would base the plot around that.  


That is excellent advice, Gorgon.  Take heed at what he's saying there, MoD.  Outkast's method works too--but, the problem with that is that people who work that way often get 'worldbuilder's disease.'  Or, in layman’s terms, too much time spent worldbuilding, too little time spent plotting.  

Before you begin, I think you should decide how big your story is.  Is it an epic?  If so, you'll need more world to make it feel right.  What is the conflict?  Gorgon's method is a good one because it helps you focus your details on areas of interest--areas of the world that will cause conflict.

You also have to decide how much worldbuilding is your focus.  Tolkien loved to worldbuild--that was his reason for writing, was to better flesh out his world.  That's fine if you have a decade to tell your story.  However, I see many newer authors spending ridiculous amounts of time crafting their worlds, and then when they actually write, the worldbuidling feels weak because they didn't focus enough on the areas that will be important to the plot and characters.
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Re: World Building
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2004, 07:14:23 AM »
Hear the man EUOL MoD.  The over-world-building syndrome is where I sometimes come unstuck.  But either works.  You just gotta be careful.
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William Yeats, 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven'.

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Re: World Building
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2004, 07:34:28 AM »
Different things work for different people.  I'd say that it's hard to be a good fantasy writer without good worldbuilding skills--but there are a lot of different areas of worldbuilding that someone can be good at.

George R. R. Martin, for instance, does a great job with societal details.  However, he's not that great at being original when it comes to the over-all physical setting of his worlds.  (Hobb, by the way, is kind of the same.)  

Jordan is great at giving a sense of history to his worlds, and he's far more original than Martin, but he isn't as good at making a society feel 'real.'  I think that's one of the reasons his characters sometimes feel so similar.

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Re: World Building
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2004, 07:47:35 AM »
two things to pay attention to (and I say little more since we had that convo on IRC the other week) :

How is your world comparable to elements of the real world?
This will help you know how to describe it and easily evoke things that people are familiar with. It gives you your launching point. You probably already know, but compare it to the REAL WORLD not someone else's fantasy world, or else you'll end up sounding either cliche or plagiaristic, or possibly both.

How is your world different from the real world?
This is where yor "hook" will be. These are the things you need to detail (provided they are important to the plot, as mentioned above).

Mad Dr Jeffe

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Re: World Building
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2004, 03:29:24 PM »
Give yourself at least six days.... and take a quick vacation on the seventh....
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Mistress of Darkness

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Re: World Building
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2004, 12:03:53 PM »
Oooh. That's good. I'll remember that one. ;)
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Mad Dr Jeffe

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Re: World Building
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2004, 12:17:09 PM »
also Read a copy of Brokedown Palace by Stephen Brust where the geography is drawn and defined, but also an active participant in the story (which is based off of greatful dead songs) its really neat. Brust bases the world off of what he knowns about Hungarian (being Hungarian and all) and it falls into place nicely.
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Mistress of Darkness

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Re: World Building
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2004, 03:03:10 PM »
Do you mind if I ask what the book's rated before I go and grab it?
" If i ever need a pen-name I'd choose EUOL, just to confuse everyone. " --Entropy

Mad Dr Jeffe

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Re: World Building
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2004, 03:06:21 PM »
PG, no swearing, or Sex, but violence is in it.
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Mistress of Darkness

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Re: World Building
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2004, 03:38:58 PM »
I can handle that.

I've become cautious about fantasy books I've never heard of since I discovered one that described a rape scene.

It was wrong. I was scarred.
" If i ever need a pen-name I'd choose EUOL, just to confuse everyone. " --Entropy

Mad Dr Jeffe

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Re: World Building
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2004, 03:45:40 PM »
Well Im almost posative theres no sex in it and that includes rape...
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Mistress of Darkness

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Re: World Building
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2004, 04:16:20 PM »
Sounds good. Thanks.
" If i ever need a pen-name I'd choose EUOL, just to confuse everyone. " --Entropy