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Bore Me

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Ban, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    What is the most boring thing you've ever put any effort into worldbuilding? Was it worth it?

    Try your best to bore me. Needlessly long tangents are encouraged.
  2. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

    If you'd like, I could regale with you the details of the ringed earthworm's life & reproduction cycles. I've got illustrations. Also, some interesting tangents on the inverse earthworm could be suitably boring if you're into that kind thing.
    Kathará likes this.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    Politics by a time spent versus amount of entertainment ratio.
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    You can tell me if this counts.

    In Smughitter there are ten treasures of Falina Cairn, powerful magical artifacts given to them by the immortals from the fairy otherworld. I know what you're thinking. Yes. They are cool. That's not the boring part.

    There are ten treasures. But one of the treasures is really a set of four items each used to make weapons. Another, the book, opens to different text based on which of its three keys is inserted into the cover. The king's torc has little slivers that can come off of it to use its power. Another is a magical seed from a flower that blooms every few hundred or so years, so there have been maybe six of them, and some of them have lingering effects from how the magic was used (i.e., this magical location is powered by the third of the six seeds that are collectively one of the ten treasures...).

    For some ridiculous reason I have spent too much time debating whether or not specifying that there are ten treasures is confusing or some boring thing I will have to explain as the story takes shape. Certainly there's nothing more boring than debating and explaining why a number is or isn't technically accurate?
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    Tide Time tables.
    I spent about a week [in my spare time] trying to pull together the tide patterns around an archipelago and once I thought I nearly had it... I decide the MCs would travel over land instead.
    Ban likes this.
  6. Yora

    Yora Maester

    I have a 16 year calendar cycle that has 24 months of 16 days each per year, with 3 leap years per cycle that only have 23 months each. It marks all the days on which eclipses are possible and the solstices and equinoxes, with special highlights when both can happen simultaneously, which are days of great magical significance.
    The reason for those specific numbers is that I created a digitial simulation of a planet that is in a pair with a small gas planet in orbit around an orange dwarf star, with their orbit matching the star's habitable zone. I just felt like knowing what length of year and month would be realistic when the objects in the sky look the way I describe them, out of simple astronomical curiosity. Turning the numbers that I got out into a practical calendar turned out to be a considerable amount of work.

    i created the calendar originally for an RPG, were the passage of time would depend on what routes the players chose to travel on and the speed of their chosen transportation. With that calendar, special events triggered by eclipses would happen predictably and the players could adjust their plans accordingly, instead of me just declaring an eclipse whenever I feel like.
    Since I really like the idea how the sun and the moon look
    i am using them again for my story now, and so the calendr fits there as well. I have no idea how it will ever come up, but I have it if I ever might need it. :D
    Kathará likes this.
  7. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

    This thread... Yes... Yes! YES! MY TIME HAS COME! WITNESS ME BROTHERS.

    A few years ago, I spent about a week detailing exactly how the guards on one particular road went about taking bribes, and how they and the brigands skirted around each other so that they could keep their unspoken agreements intact. Doesn't sound too boring when I say it that way, but the way I did it... I had exact schedules figured out for patrols. I had quantities of money spelled out, as well as precisely how the illicit cashflow went unnoticed by the nation's accountants.

    Yeah, none of that was ever used for anything.

    Also, astrophysics. I've denied myself so many cool ideas just because I couldn't make some orbital configuration work out. The astronomy nerd in me allows for no compromises.
    Kathará and Ban like this.
  8. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

    That's hard because I don't tend to add anything into my story that is boring because what what be the point of that? If I think it's boring so likely will my readers. I avoid world-building Hell so tend to focus on the important details. Example: my world focuses on medicine/science vs magic. Human rights (including when someone has the right to die when suffering a terminal illness). Science and morality. My story mostly focuses on human clones using magic that are then uses as donors for seriously ill people and what rights those clones have once they exist. Can they refuse to give an organ? It's still in the early stages so not sure how realistic it will be yet, need to iron out some things. So I develop those things. I don't focus on the life cycle of a fruit fly or how many moons the planet has because it's unnecessary. I then add a few things to make it feel real. These people live in a more Victorian stage so how do they dispose of waste? Running water. I just touch on those things.
  9. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    I think the effort put into world building is worth it, even the boring stuff. I just wish my characters cared and let me put all the why's and wherefore's into the story. What's the point of figuring out how the distance from the sun affects the color of trees if the characters never question it? Still, I like knowing its there, even if the characters don't care.
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    I feel as if this thread is to be some sort of competition, and I'm not feeling up to it. :alien:

    The things that bore me, I stop doing as soon as possible. So ...

    I do have a penchant for making family trees, with names and ages and relationships between various clans/families, that go on and on. This wouldn't be so tedious if not for the fact that I also spend hours upon hours randomly generating names—and searching the Internet to make sure those fantasy names don't get a lot of hits on Google or mean something obscene in some other language, before I can settle on any name. Then there are the tiny tweaks: I want X person to be exactly 5 years older than Y person but approximately the same age as Z person, but Z person needs to be old enough to be the father of Q person who, incidentally, is a teenager with a romantic crush on the child of X who is also a teenager, and oh yeah, these teens are in military training which happens between a and b ages in this land, so that constrains the whole mesh of ages in this family tree. Plus Family X and Family Z had a blood feud a certain number of generations ago, and.... (on and on. So many variables trying to get all the ages and relationships right. And I might never use most of these individuals or even mention them during the story.)
    Night Gardener likes this.
  11. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

    FifthViewFifthView I feel this so much right now it hurts. I found myself at a point in my WIP where I can't use placeholder names or reference designations anymore because it's becomming absurd and unintelligible. "MCs Cousin's GFs Dad" and the like is getting too tedious. So, the names and family trees and clan houses things are officially happening. Ugh.
    FifthView likes this.
  12. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

    I'm trying to develop currency standards and different units of weight and length measurements between rival kingdoms, all because I'm trying to reverse engineer a hilarious one-liner for a character to yell out in a barfight.

    I don't get "bored" researching, creating back stories, or generating mundane factual things per say, but I do find some things to be more...tedious than others. My brain isn't wired for "boredom" I guess.
    elemtilas likes this.
  13. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    While I was off carnivaling I see this thread gained quite a bit of attention.

    I see some comments here suggesting that worldbuilding boring things is fruitless, and I have to strongly disagree. A deep and rich world needs to have strong bones to grow its meat on, and that means that from time to time you have to go into the nitty gritty kind of shitty realm of rather boring stuff. How is taxation done? Which biome goes where and why? Who reigns where? How does the postal system work? Joe mentioned the tedious busines of figuring out the tides... Which by the way if this were a competition and I was judging, you'd probably win.

    You don't necessarily have to tackle all of them for any individual world, but if you want a rich world you are going to have to address the underlying foundation at some point in some cases, otherwise your world is just a collection of tropes and characters you've glued together. It is from this boring foundation that a coherent and deep world comes forth. To my mind, if you only focus on the fun parts you're going to end up with... well... carnival. Great fun on the surface but draining in excess.

    That being said, I suppose it's possible to like working on the things that I listed, in which case may whatever thing you do or do not believe in have mercy on you ;)
    Night Gardener and elemtilas like this.
  14. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I delve deep into geography, climate and weather patterns because I want it to make sense and reflect the real world and even try to calculate a kingdom's area and population.

    I also like designing government systems in elaborate detail by explicitly defining what the ruler can do, how they are chosen, what could disrupt the system, how certain constitutional or succession crises are resolved, etc.
  15. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

    For my world building I spent a week asking as many people who had been to the tropics if the rain was warm or cold or a mixture of both. I also asked them if it was muggy before and after it rained and even how it tasted!

    I wanted my main character to be a native Polynesian dancer so I learned all about the basic moves of Hawaiian and Tahitian dancing. It turned out that there's a lot of foot sliding and hip thrusting and swiveling involved. And those hand gestures don't always mean what you think they do.

    I did a lot of research into what slums smelt like. I wanted to make the reader gag by introducing them to all those wonderful aromas from rotting fish heads to animal carcasses to animal and human manure. Note: don't replicate the stench of cat shit in warm rain by washing your cat's shit in a warm shower unless you haven't eaten for a few days and you have a gas mask.

    In my diabolical quest to find out if something would've existed in the 1930s or how it would've worked I spent many hours looking for old photos and guides on such things. Along the way I discovered how to make crystal sets and why being obese in 1935 would've made life very difficult if you wanted to ride in a car. Those seats were really not designed for fat people like me.

    Have you any idea just how hard it is to find traditional receipes using traditional foods in southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands? And just how bland a lot of that food is? I've eaten Polynesian cooking and if you really hate someone with a vengeance I cannot think of anything better to serve them with than tofu. Thus, when my protagonist bites into tofu I know exactly what she's going through.

    I created empires, their populations, their areas in square kilometres (only uncouth barbarians use square miles), how far each place was down to the nearest kilometre and how fast it would take to get there by DC-3 and Junkers Ju 52, car, airship, tramp steamer and train. I hunted down images of what tramp steamers looked like inside and out and what passenger accomodation on airships, aircraft and tramp steamers looked like.

    I say through hours upon hours of black and white gangster movies and crime noir films to try and get a feel for the music, the wardrobes and the slang of the 1930s. I discovered that getting drilled is really, really bad for your life span, you use your drumsticks to run from the coppers and most of the eye-wateringly dull cliches and slang in movies mostly come from the 1930s. And now I know what Oasis meant when they sang "What's the story, morning glory?" At least i think they sang that.

    Now go grab yourself a coffee. You'll need it when I tell you all about the secret police and the government.
  16. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    o_O What would possess any sane person to wash cat shit in a shower? :):p
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

    The cat sometimes crapped in the shower when it couldn't get outside. When I had to wash out the shit... well let's just say it was the worst thing I have ever smelt.

    For my world building at micro level finding out for myself what things taste, smell, feel and look like is important.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
    CupofJoe likes this.
  18. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

    You know, method acting has its place, but at some point you've just gone too far.
  19. Gospodin

    Gospodin Scribe

    A conlang.

    Was it worth it? No.

    I have a degree in applied linguistics and I work as a USDOJ interpreter (interpreting is a field related to, but quite distinct from linguistics). I decided to start with a completely inflected system of cases, making it a synthetic language. In linguistics, synthetic does not mean artificial. It means that the words are synthesized (changed) depending on what they are doing in the sentence. The contrary would be an analytic language like Mandarin or Cantonese where the words never change and word order is what gives the sentence its order of operation.

    The problem with creating a conlang when this was one's field of study is that conlangs have a tendency to be hyper-logical, and real languages are anything but. I went so far as to apply two major periods of phoneme shifts affecting only certain representations of phonemes dependant on their neighboring phonemes (as one does) and also an influx of words from a completely unrelated language, the mark of cultural invasion and admixture.

    In the end, I realized that the only kind of person who would ever appreciate the work I had put into the conlang would be someone with matching interests and knowledge base. The death knell for my efforts was struck by the part of my brain that - despite my education and interests - get's Forest Whitaker Eye™ whenever a writer makes me read gobbledygook dialogue and then painfully wedges the illumination for that gobbledygook in the subsequent narrative.

    I opted to drop the conlang altogether.
  20. Kasper Hviid

    Kasper Hviid Troubadour

    Y'know, it's rather easy to make your own Scratch'n Sniff cards to ship with your book ...
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