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Have you ever contracted "world builders disease"?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Sharad9, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Sharad9

    Sharad9 Scribe

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    World builders disease is a medical condition in which a person becomes so invested and obsessed with building their world that they forget to write the story that goes with it. Their minds are so filled with great ideas but they never make it to print due to procrastination, fear, among other things. Symptoms include obsessive attention to detail, constant re-editing, and over-analyzation.

    Constant innocents have fallen prey to this horrible disease, and it is the number one killer of settings with great potential. Male and female survivors report being bed-ridden for many months in unimaginable agony, suffering from its debilitating side effects, forgetting to eat, sleep, or even breath. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

    Do you have any experience with this condition? How did you survive? What medical advice can you offer to those who have become victims of it?
     
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  2. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

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    It's no disease. It's just basal state for me! I'm well aware that I'm not writing the story that goes with The World. But, then again, if you've progressed thus far, "writing the story" is no longer the point, and obviously never was!

    If you have reached that point (the point where I've always been at!), then all you've come to realise is that you are, in fact, a geopoet. A worldbuilder. Writing may or may not be of secondary importance, and any writing you do will tend to serve the unfolding revelation of the world itself.

    On the other hand, if you are a writer and fear the longer journeys into Faerie, then, as a geopoet, I'd strongly suggest you slap yourself in the face, splash some cold water over your head, wake up from the Dreamland and get back to writing the Great American (Fantasy) Novel (TM)!
     
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  3. fiera43

    fiera43 Scribe

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    I don't know about it being a disease but I do that with characters to the point I can't move on with any other detail.
     
  4. Jorunn

    Jorunn Dreamer

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    Geopoet...I love that.

    In that case I was struck by geopoetry the summer between 7th and 8th grade, when I read The Silmarillion for the first time. I was stunned by the depth of it, and the idea that the stories only existed because Tolkien needed speakers for his languages, and a history in which for them to evolve, as language does. I had story ideas floating around, but had never really thought about the world of them before. That summer I found myself describing nations and religions and myths from the perspective of a fictional historian. I've never recovered.

    In general though I still begin with characters and their relationships, and build a world around them. The world then becomes an interesting place, and I have to discover it!
     
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  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    World Builders disease is a terrible thing to be afflicted with if one is trying to write stories.

    But fortunately the cure is simple. Diagnosis, discipline, deadlines.
     
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  6. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Discipline? What's that? Can you eat it?
     
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  7. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

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    Ya. Ea is terribly deep geopoesy (mythopoesy, glossopoesy and just about every other poesy one can think of!). I believe he too struggled with deadlines and obviously struggled very strongly with getting on with writing the story already. Also struggled with settling on a definitive story as evidenced by the number of versions of a story and rewrites of all those versions, even rewriting after initial publication.

    I think our stories run along similar lines. For me, after Seuss came Tolkien as influences. The latter is certainly the most perilous of authors to introduce to any aspiring young writer simply because of the depth and scope and nature of his work. There is a risk of unlocking that deep desire to create worlds, cultures, histories, myths, races, peoples, towns, languages, religions, folklore and all sorts of other things that writers here typically decry as unnecessary or extraneous to the plot. What I do, and I gather at least to some extent what you do, is not conducive to writing. Let alone to churning out a score of novels!
     
  8. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    It goes particularly well with bananas and chocolate syrup. I prefer mine cold but some people will heat it up.
     
  9. C. A. Stanley

    C. A. Stanley Minstrel

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    Geopoet... I like the sound of that.

    I have suffered with world builders disease for some time now, and the truth is, I love it. If it means I'll never be a serious writer, so be it. For me, writing is not just about writing; it's about writing about worlds I have created. Creating these worlds, and cultures, and religions... it's cathartic.

    If you want to escape it, there is really only one way to do it (if you have no discipline in the fridge) - jump in at the deep end. I've learnt recently that if you do take the plunge and just drop right into an unknown world, you get a lot more done, and you end up putting the passion and creativity you feel when building into the writing itself.

    P.S. Many of the greatest fantasy authors spend YEARS building their worlds. It's no disaster if you do too.
     
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I haven't suffered from authentic worldbuilders disease.

    But I've had a psychosomatic version. I've sometimes focused on creating more elements of the world to try to distract myself from having to consider plot and characters in more depth than I already have, or from having to actually, y'know, begin writing.

    So it's not so much enjoying worldbuilding to the extent that I "forget" to begin writing, but rather subconsciously wanting to avoid writing so I start adding some new element to the world.

    This illness is related to .... Anthologist's disease? Serialist's disease? Those are probably not the correct diagnostic terms. This is where you turn your eyes to another land/country on your map and start developing a story set there‚Äďas a distraction from the story you'd already been working on set somewhere else in the world. Incidentally, this is often a good excuse for building more of the overall world....
     
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  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I've been lucky in avoiding it. I tend to start writing with a fairly basic idea of the world and its parameters, then flesh things out as they become necessary according to the story.
     
  12. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I got the disease way before I started writing. In fact I think my writing is essentially just a way for me to justify my worldbuilding. In the last few months I have written only a couple of pages for my stories, but dozens for my worlds.

    ...Needless to say that I have not found a cure yet.
     
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  13. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    For me, world-building is fun and relatively easy, while writing is difficult work. So for the longest time (a few decades), I was more into world-building than I was into writing stories. I reached a point where I decided I ought to have written more stories, and that motivated me to ease up on the world-building. It's all a matter of what you want, which can change over time. If world-building is what makes you happy now, and there's no pressing need to write stories, then world-build. If you want to be writing stories, then that's what you'll do. If for some reason you decide that you ought to be writing stories instead of world-building, but you don't have the motivation necessary to act on your decision, then maybe you have some more thinking to do about what's really important to you.
     
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  14. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    That's me at the moment. I simply don't have that much time for actually writing anything of substance. So I am world building instead. A few minutes at a time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. Jorunn

    Jorunn Dreamer

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    Why, yes, I believe we are quite similar! I've pretty much accepted the fact that if I do ever become published I will not be described as "prolific". :p

    I usually know when I have enough of a world to be getting on with, the trouble comes after I start writing and cool ideas present themselves in story, and I stop and stare at the wall for 40 minutes wondering why the Navy captain has fancy raven buckles on his new boots that his dad gave him and is it a family thing oh yes it's a family thing but why....and then I'm building a social structure. Because of boots.
     
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  16. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

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    Yep! Though for me there's only the one world. I've dabbled in a couple side ideas, and some stories have come out of them. But for the most part, the vast majority of the stories I've written are either about or are part of The World.


    While I can't call myself a prolific writer by any stretch of the imagination, to say nothing of prolifically published, there is certainly a lot of "stuff" on paper. I've written an in-world reference book about the place, that's about 600 pages; almost that much in grammars and texts of various invented languages; about 500 pages in short stories, myths and folk tales; and probably another thousand or 1500 in religious matter, natural history, sociology, history & am working now on an atlas.


    Hm...these raven buckles. Are they simply black, or are they in some way made from raven parts? Wings or something of that sort? Was dad an officer as well? Now I'm all interested in your world as well!
     
  17. For my big fantasy novel, the Appendices [which include lists and descriptions of the thirty-five-ish types of beings who inhabit the planet, a full dictionary, and various other bits and pieces] is bigger than the actual story.
     
  18. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

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    :cool:

    Mmm...appendices...
     
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  19. Fatal?? O_O

    Actually, I think there are two versions of this: the version where world building is an excuse to procrastinate about getting the actual work of the writing done, and the version where the writer is so obsessed with the world they develop it forever and never get around to really writing a story. Same effect, different causes.

    I don't think I've ever had it, but I have used world-building to fill lulls or blocked periods.
     
  20. The Appendices gradually grew and grew as I wrote, so it didn't quite overtake the story...
     
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