Monday, 25 May 2009

About Worldbuilding

I love worldbuilding. I don't always take the most systematic approach to it, but I love developing worlds in my head. I think I've been doing it since I was a little girl. In fact I've probably created more fantasy worlds than I've ever written stories in. I create worlds in my head for fun, and them some of them generate plot bunnies. Fortunately I'm pretty good at remembering details and making sure new additions to the setting gel with what I've come up with previously. Coherency is important in worldbuilding.

When I do start trying to create a world using a more systematic method I tend to end up a little frustrated. Most worldbuilding methods seem to assume you already have a story in mind and start asking questions about mood and things. I tend to get mood for my stories from the setting rather than the other way round. I guess that's my fault for being all topsy turvy in the way I do things.

It gets more interesting when you're writing Contemporary Fantasy and similar. If your fantasy is set in the real world (or more accurately an approximation there of) then you'd think there's not a lot of worldbuilding to be done. Hum - wrong. You may not have to create Britain (or wherever you're setting your story) but if you have speculative elements you need to work out how they fit in. Secret cabals of psychic, werewolves, wizards, vampires, purple people eaters or whatever need coherent explanations of their subcultures and explanations of how they remain secret. Now these may never make it into the story (just like research and backstory you include only as much as is needed) but they are necessary so you know what's going on.

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