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Help on world building

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Solomon Tan, May 1, 2012.

  1. Solomon Tan

    Solomon Tan Minstrel

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    Thank you, Devor.

    I personally feel that I'm also a person who do the story path first, then build the world.

    So, summarize a bit.. I just do my story.. Write about the story, put in the things that comes to my mind, and if I need to build a world.. say, how does the invading army attack the city that the main character is in, then I build that part out, like the relationship and culture, and where they came from and etc..

    Then for the 'creatures' inside the story, do you guys do the same? Like you want a monster that kidnap a princess for the main character or team to rescue, then you build that monster?
     
  2. zizban

    zizban Troubadour

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    I generally have an idea of how the world and relevant cultures are structured before I begin that way I'm not totally clueless when I start.
     
  3. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    Of course it was a big exaggeration since no one could possibly try to keep stories out of the real world.

    My approach is crating the world first. I know I have a lot of material ("darlings") which I can not use in a given story. If I want to include them I can always write an other story where these things are important. Set in the same world. No need to force anything into one story.
    And if I want to have lots of different things in the story there is for example the possibility of a "Marco Polo" type story.

    I actually like the simple plots, that don't change the big politics. Perfectly fine to do them in a fantasy world.
    Even in a very predesigned world every story will add further details. That is also true for real world authors, they have to invent things. Unless they are writing purely biographic.
     
  4. Solomon Tan

    Solomon Tan Minstrel

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    I think it really depends on how you like to write your story.. For me, I like complicated, big scale plots kind of storylines.. I enjoyed George Martin works on Song of Fire and Ice, but I don't think I will want to write something like that. but political strife seems quite a nice way to add in some conflicts between people and stir certain motivations..

    As for myself, I think I'm taking a huge bite here with a big project.. Not sure as a beginner, can I tell a good story from what I wanted to write though..

    Just wondering, if I build up a world. A complete world full of details and etc.. and I can use that as a source of other stories, that's possible as well right?
     
  5. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Sure is. That's my entire plan. Build a world, recognize the conflicts I've created, then write about them. I am currently (finally started my WIP today!) working on a story set in the past of my world. To build a world and then to build a history of that world gives you layers upon layers from which to pull your story or stories from.
     
  6. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    Absolutely. You can put as many stories as you want in one world. Be the world as large as a galaxy or just one little town. There is no limit on the number of possible stories.

    If you need an example take Hyboria from Robert E. Howard. Howard concentrated on one character, Conan, but wrote some very different stories in different parts of the world. There is no reason why you should not be able to do that. Even with different characters.
     
  7. Solomon Tan

    Solomon Tan Minstrel

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    I have a plan actually. I am working on a big project which i always wanted to work on. Like an epic fantasy setting story. But at the same time, I want to write in short stories for some historical events and characters, decision that they made and etc.. which somehow link to this main story.. So in a way, if you read only the big project, you get an idea of what is happening, but to know further, there are other stories as well..
     
  8. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    Hey Solomon I am doing pretty much exactly the same thing as you. Been working on several different projects over the years, and I could never figure out what ideas to exclude from a given project, so recently I just threw EVERYTHING in one, vast, never-ending project xD

    And I have the same problem as you. Sketches of ideas with scant details.

    My current solution is to actually keep things vague--to not nail anything down yet, especially when it comes to creation myths etc. If you think about it, the people of your world don't really know how their universe was created, so perhaps you don't need to have the whole truth either?
    I have found that I keep returning to certain core ideas in all my projects, and those things I consider to be reliable enough to build on. Everything else is mutable, however, and I have an anything-goes policy when it comes to ideas. If I like something, it goes into my setting, whether its traditional fantasy, science fiction or modern fantasy. I have the project split into major past, present and future eras so if an idea doesn't work in one era it will usually fit in another. I think its helpful not to corner myself and let the things that need to be fixed crystallise over time.

    At some point I want to try writing random short stories to see where they take me, but I have difficultly with narrative so I am attending writer's groups/courses to build up my confidence with that. If you are anything like me, you might feel a lot more confident with the "bigger picture" stuff than the nitty-gritty narratives. You might have a strong desire to be good at narrative, but it might not come as easily as the more conceptual work. Good luck :)
     
  9. Solomon Tan

    Solomon Tan Minstrel

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    To Caliburn, Yeah, I do agree with you. I have the same problem with you.. In my mind, I have this large project to undertake and given my skill in the language of English and putting it into paragraphs of words.. it's not easy. I don't believe in giving up though, so I'll press on and do my best. One day, I'll finish my story somehow! haha.

    Short stories are nice too. So, are you planning to combine all your stories into one? Or still separate them?
     
  10. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    For the short stories, I have no idea, but leaving it open makes it more exciting for me. I might be exploring the lives of two different characters and then chance upon some way to have their stories coincide :)
    Its just a way of opening up all the ideas I've come up with in the past so I can rummage through and pick out whatever I feel like using at the time. Makes it much easier for me to come with ideas for short stories, and I have a whole stable of characters ready to inject into a story at a moment's notice. Also, certain themes tend to recur throughout my work: for example magic is almost always a chaotic, unstable and mutative force, and is usually the cause of monsters. Do you have any recurring themes in your work? Ideas you find yourself particularly fond of?
     
  11. Chekaman

    Chekaman Scribe

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    Bathland (crap name, I know) was formed from individual imaginary games, and Roquatirrinn and Valermoore were formed from stories based in them.
     
  12. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I've done it both ways.

    My 'primary world' came about after reading a lot of old D&D books about campaigning in a sort of 'Fantasy Europe'. I took those source books - describing everything from 'Fantasy Rome and Greece' to the age of the Vikings, combined them altogethe, and made up my own mangled map, with attached history (also partly cribbed and mangled from the real world), along with notes on everything from the army to the ruling families. I came up with the world, and then started writing stories set in that world.

    With 'Falling Towers', I went the other route: when I started writing that tale I only knew a very few things about the world (never did have an actual map) and after the comments here, I can see that a lot of the notes I was coming up with on the fly got worked into the writing.

    The other thing I've done is to combine worlds: at one point I had something like half a dozen distinct fantasy worlds. Then I started looking at the maps and the stories and what was required to make them work, and I realized - well, this entire story setting here - this entire 'world' if you will - can be merged with this other world here. Different hemispheres, different continents, that sort of thing. Doing that reduced the number of worlds I did have down to two, and greatly increased what I 'knew' about those worlds.
     
  13. Catherine

    Catherine Dreamer

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    Sounds more like a back story. I have a similar situation (not including any demon gods though) and I have hinted at it in the earlier chapters - I may write a spin-off or a short story later on. The point is although this is a back story, the settings and locations will still be the same as in the modern timeframe, therefore it doesn't change the world-building aspect. When creating your world you need to take into account it's history or it won't seem real to the reader. Whether you have a clear account written down or not, you still need to have a clear picture in your mind's eye, or it won't make sense and it will come across in your work. Perhaps write a short story so you have a reference? Hope this helps :)
     
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