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Having Doubts


Basically I have been gradually plotting out this fictional world for my story with a plethora of different ideas and themes I would like to incorporate but the problem is I've become so daunted by creating this world and creating these societies and religions I've forgot what the hell I was doing in the first place. I originally came up with the idea for this fictional world because I found historical fiction to be very restrictive of my writing ( I wanted to write a historical fiction book set during the Renaissance to begin with. While a lot of the ideas and things I came up with for this fantasy world seemed good my heart wasn't with it anymore.

The main themes I wanted to incorporate were a Renaissance-esque world that I could play with without the actual restrictions of the Renaissance, a dark lovecraftian style satanic approaching threat under all the squabbling of countries and families above, a xenophobic, jingoist and nationalist society and a protagonist who has to question his beliefs. My heart has always been with the Renaissance and when I'm writing this Renaissance-esque world I make it too much like reality, so what I'm asking is do I stick to what I've been working on or do I go for historical fiction?

I put up a short story I entered for my English GCSE recently under the showcase forum and a conversation with asterisk got me questioning whether I should be undertaking this daunting task of creating a large epic fantasy world so young in my life or if I should take the option of writing a smaller story set in Renaissance Italy. The other option is of course merging both ideas together, perhaps having this dark satanic like threat being imprisoned in the bowels of Vesuvius or maybe even an alternative reality in a post apocalyptic world set after the eruption of a super volcano during the Renaissance.

Please, if any of you have any advice or tips to give I would appreciate it a lot. I know I have a lot of time ahead of me to worry about writing but its one of the few things I enjoy doing and that I'm quite good at, I want to do something in this life other than just meander my way through. Thank you.


Perhaps do both. As you craft both stories, you can sort of diagnose what works and what doesn't, which you prefer, etc. They both sound like good ideas.


Myth Weaver
In my view, one of the bigger mistakes newbie authors make is setting out to pen a multi-volume epic straight off. Reality is, there is a whole pile of skills you need to pick up first - everything from characterization to word choice.

I hit fifty a few months ago. I started doing world building (for AD&D) and writing in my early 20's. I have a *lot* of unfinished tales and incomplete worlds stashed away on floppy disks. For a long while I grew despondant enough to where I didn't write much at all. That changed a few years ago. A year or two after that, I dug up the six or eight tales I deemed salvagable, hunted around, and found this place. Since then, I've rewritten all of one and parts of others. I've also written a novella, a couiple of novellete length pieces, and ten or twelve short stories for the various challenges on this forum.

What you are attempting, pretty much, is merging Lovecraft with historical fiction. Thing about Lovecraft and the other original members of the 'Lovecraft Circle' is they wrote very few novels, almost all of which were on the short side. Instead, what they wrote were short stories and novelletes - and several of those were set in the time period and fairly close to the locations you intend to mimic.

My recommendation: sign up the current 'Iron Pen' Challenge. Write a story set in your world that meets those elements. Do so, and you should get an idea as to both the things you need to work on, and elements of your world you've probably never given any thought too.

Mara Edgerton

Instead of focusing on the grand, overarching themes you want to build into your world, would it help to focus on the struggle of one particular character? I realize that a character is entwined with her setting--but, still, you know you'll have at least a Renaissance-style world. That might be enough to come up with a basic conflict, and show how she overcomes it or fails to overcome it . . . and what lesson she draws from the experience. Heck, you might find, as you're brainstorming or writing, that her story guides you either to historical fiction or the fantasy world you've been building.


I think what I will do for now is set myself the task of polishing the short story I did for my English GCSE so I can hopefully publish it in a magazine or competition or something to get myself a foothold.