World-building! Yay!

And so we start the world-building again!

This is blackboard tape on my bedroom wall.  It was a Christmas present and I love it so much.  I can’t decide which is better anymore—my whiteboard, my sticky-notes, or my blackboard!

After deciding that I won’t start any major plot changes/revisions until after I’ve had at least one beta-reader go through my novel and give me feedback, I figured starting the world building now would be acceptable.  I tried it last night, actually, and ended up instead extremely frustrated.

Today, though, proved to be much more fruitful!  That blackboard was actually mostly empty this morning, and the strip underneath wasn’t there at all.

I decided that I was going to start my world building with the history.  And the history, I’d start at the beginning.  Yay for figuring out creation!  I actually considered an idea for it, but then it developed into something else, and now I have a really, really awesome idea for my religion, and no clue how the world actually came into existence.  (I’ll probably say “science” and be done with it.  Because, really.)

Tomorrow I’m going to work more on fleshing out my timeline (that’s what that bottom strip is), and then next week, I’ll probably be working on research.  I suck at research and my first and second draft were both written with a “I’ll pretend I know what I’m talking about and hope nobody notices” kind of attitude.

I’m pretty sure that won’t actually slide.  (It actually already hasn’t, considering the culture and whatnot of my world feels very blank.)  And I would like to know what I’m talking about in a few cases.  So now begins the research!  Yay!

That’s basically how it’s going so far.

I also happen to be procrastinating from my WIP, but hopefully that won’t last long, because I would like to finish the first draft of that.

How goes the writing for everyone else?  Where do you usually start when you tackle the huge chaotic mess that is world-building?

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6 thoughts on “World-building! Yay!

  1. Hmm, this reminds me that I should really work on my world-building for Music’s Curse before I tackle editing…It’s severely lacking in culture, religion, and…and, well, everything…Hehe, probably should work on that!

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhhh, you’re in the sandbox now! 😀 That’s what I tend of think of world-building as: a sandbox, with lots of sand, toys, and buckets of water that helps you create whatever you want, so to speak. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also be frustrating, so I know the back-and-forth feeling you were having.

    When I started world-building for TKC, I started with my protagonist’s Fey race. I wanted to make them different from other fairy / Fey races I’d read about, and help them benefit from the “action-adventure-ish” storyline I was thinking of. So I considered their physical characteristics (imagine life-size Tinkerbell), magic system, diet, clothing, dwellings, religion, other customs and traditions, perceptions of other races, etc. History is important to me, too, so I took that into account with certain wars, interracial tensions, etc.

    It’s a lot to think about, that’s for sure. I did as much as I could before drafting – then got fidgety and dove into the story, so I’ve been figuring out the rest as I’ve gone along. *lol* But that’s sort of what SFF writers should do with world-building, anyways. It’s good to start understanding the setting and its residents before you start writing, but there also comes a point when you have to stop imagining and start doing the actual writing.

    1. Oooh, I like the idea of it being a sandbox. I heard someone else describe the whole novel as a sandbox, and how the first draft is kind of like gathering all the sand, so later, it can be built into an epic sandcastle.

      Oooh, that sounds cool. I haven’t even really started figuring out the rest of that stuff. I know minimal amounts about my culture (just what I put in the first and second draft), but not really anything else. I thought history would be a good place to start, because I do know that it plays a role in the story, especially later on in the series, so I had the most “groundwork” already set out and could just start figuring out with the most ease. When I’m done with that, I’ll move onto…all of the rest of it.

      I wish I had done more world building before I wrote the first draft, but I think I didn’t really know how to even approach world building then, so I did what I could, and that was all. Even the world building I did between draft one and two, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t think I know now, either, but I have a better idea of how to do this.

      1. “I heard someone else describe the whole novel as a sandbox, and how the first draft is kind of like gathering all the sand, so later, it can be built into an epic sandcastle.”

        I like that analogy! And it makes sense, too. 🙂

        I don’t think there’s a “wrong place to start” when world-building. Some start with history, others with races or culture, and still more with other ideas. I took a world-building class led by N.K. Jemisin at Writer’s Digest Conference last year; and she literally starts from the ground up – geography, biomes, climate, plate tectonics, etc. I also read somewhere that the first thing Patrick Rothfuss thought of when he started building the world for the Kingkiller Chronicles was its currency system. The point is, we can start from anywhere – and most often we’ll start where our passions or interests are strongest. The trick is doing enough world-building so the world feels lived in and real.

        And yeah, it can be overwhelming. But keep your chin up, and keep writing. More ideas will come to you. Just be patient and kind to yourself. 🙂

        1. Yeah, it does. I just wish I remembered who ffirst said it.

          That’s true. I think I’m going to come up with some kind of a world-building plan so it won’t be as overwhelming and I have an idea of where I’m going.

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