Monday, October 14, 2019

The Story of the (Fantasy) World

Or, Why I Haven't Been Writing Much.

Me listening to people who like worldbuilding talk about it: That sounds like so much fun! I can't wait to do it!

Me sitting down to worldbuild: There are so many different aspects to creating a culture. It's too overwhelming. I'm not going to do it.

Me writing a story with very little worldbuilding: I don't know anything about this place. I can't write this book. I guess I need to worldbuild. But it's just so much!

People who like worldbuilding: You don't have to know everything. Just worldbuild what you need.

Me: How do I know what I need? I've got to create a whole culture. Maybe I'll just make it up as I go along.

Me looking back at a messy draft: None of this worldbuilding makes sense. It's so inconsistent.

Me staring at my blank worldbuilding notebook: But I don't know what to put here.

My sisters throwing out all kinds of crazy ideas: All they eat is spaghetti! *note: this is a family joke because of earlier versions of Acktorek...they actually had a lot of genuinely useful ideas*

Me typing up their ideas and my own that they've sparked: You know, this actually is kind of fun.

This is basically my last few weeks. I did a little writing on the Espionage sequel, but mostly I've been working on worldbuilding for three—yes, you read that right—THREE different worlds. Because brilliant me who mostly hates worldbuilding and swore never to create another world after Calhortea came up with an absolutely fabulous idea to...write a series where I have to worldbuild anew for every. single. book.

Essentially, Acktorek is a company that sends people to other worlds to help with issues. It's like the Jedi Order meets Doctor Who meets Team Flash, but world travel rather than space travel, and worlds that are completely different from our own, not just parallel versions of earth. The possibilities are endless! is the worldbuilding.

I was writing book two when I realized that I couldn't keep going on like this, making it up as I go along. Because the fact was, I was only making up the bare minimum and it showed.

This was something I sort of realized sitting in Jill Williamson's worldbuilding class and Ronie Kendig's dialogue and subtext class. My characters have so little background, so little culture, so sparse a setting that it's hurting the rest of the book. There is no richness to the backdrop, there is no flavor to their speech.

So I've been worldbuilding. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth. Especially since I'm doing three worlds at once (Mitchell's homeworld, the world with Acktorek, and the world their mission is in). But it's necessary.

My only issue is speech. I have the hardest time coming up with phrases and making up slang words to fit these cultures. But I'm determined not to have Mitchell sound American or Emma sound like a southerner, so I'll get there. Eventually.

And my stories will be better off for it.

P.S. Why is it so incredibly difficult to find pictures of Dickensian London? There are five hundred thousand British period dramas out there! Where are all the Pinterest pictures?

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