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If you don't mind, share your rejected worldbuilding ideas!

Discussion in 'World Building' started by BloodyHellSausage, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

    I think every writer comes up with ideas that they later decide to drop. If they're not too embarrassing, share ideas that you decided to throw in the reject pile.
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I don't think I have any rejected ideas. I have plenty on the backburner--so many that I've had to buy several more backburners--but none that I reject.
    staiger95 and pmmg like this.
  3. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

    Well, do you mind sharing ideas on the backburner? Or is that secret?
  4. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    My rejected ideas are only rejected for a given WIP. I have ideas that I'll never use, but I won't really know which ones they are until I'm done as a writer.
  5. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    One idea I rejected for a project was that of a magical spell that duplicated buildings, precisely, even the cracks in the walls.
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    Yeah, reject is a strong word for this. I abandoned a world, not because I hated it, but because it was essentially my Game world, which I had created eon's ago, and decided too much of it did not really lend itself to pursuing a serious effort to write a story in. So...sorry gaming world, I loved thee once, but its time to move on.

    I am wrestling at the moment with how complete the concept of my current world is, cause the style I am writing the story in does not lend itself to anyone really trying to explain the world, and so, while the details are there, there does not seem to be any place in the story to give a lot of it understandable detail. The land itself is not really becoming its own character in the story. I am not sure if that will change or not, but at present, the characters would not be well suited to direct their focus towards it. It may come up in time. I am not sure.

    I am a little hesitant to toss up my ideas though, cause I've had them lifted in the past, so I don't volunteer them easily anymore.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I don't mind. These are genuine backburners, in that I doubt I'll ever write the story, though I may use the idea in one way or another. Backburners are different from TBWs (To Be Written), which are stories I fully intend to write.

    Borrowing Trouble
    What if you really could borrow trouble? What if you could pay it back?

    A citadel or other kind of single community that lives amid hostiles. So, a human castke inside a kingdom of trolls. A dwarf fortified down sitting in the middle of the Orc Empire.

    The Locked Room
    Classic locked room mystery, with wizards. A wizard (or someone) is found dead inside a magically locked room. Who dunnit? Everyone could have because it happens at a wizard convention.

    The Ordinary Man
    A wizard has hung up his staff because of something he did that was bad. He has vowed never to use magic again. He arrives in a town or village as an ordinary man, but soon someone recognizes him as a wizard, and the town pleads with him for help with a terrible threat. He agrees to join the posse, but only as an ordinary man. He doesn’t do magic any more. A youth, hardly more than a boy, vows to use his magical skills, which are limited and unreliable, but he has the courage of youth. Will the wizard save the boy from himself, even if it means risking his own life, or the life of the town?

    The Tunnel Children
    Children of a village fall into a game. The game, perhaps led by a stranger, takes them to a cave, where they follow a tunnel. When they emerge, they're in a completely different land. Not a Narnia story--magic exists at both ends. The tunnel simply takes them else where in the same world.

    Talyn's Memory
    Talyn is a man with no memory of who he is. How does a man in pre-modern times piece together his identity? It's made worse because different people in different places claim to recognize him, but always as different men.

    So, there are some. I keep a file for this sort of thing. I look through it every so often. It's like looking at a crowd in which this or that one elbows his way to the front, but so far all I do is scratch my chin, then shrug and walk away.
  8. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    I was thinking of sort-of "Connecticut yankee in king Arthur's court" type thing.

    Someone from Earth dies and "awakens" in the body of someone living (and died) in a fantasy world, complete with magical trappings. His name is the same (spelled slightly different) and the man he " replaced" is a well-known warlord.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. ApaCisare

    ApaCisare Scribe

    I used to have an entire region inhabited by satyr who had a Greco-Roman esque culture and were renowned for their vineyards and wines.
    I since decided against having human hybrid creatures in my main works but who knows, maybe someday I'll revisit the idea.
  10. SMAndy85

    SMAndy85 Minstrel

    I now have a rejected idea.

    On a tide-locked planet, the main inhabitable area has a small land-bridge that leads to the bright side of the planet, where no one can live. I had a City there that was based along a wall that spanned the entire land bridge. The worst criminals were exiled to the bright side for their crimes, and this city and wall prevented them from returning.

    I've now decided that this made the people of this city effectively all jailers, and that would significantly alter the culture.

    I've now abandoned some of this. The wall is still there, but it's no longer a city all along, and exile as a concept is gone, in favour of people choosing to go beyond the wall to meet their ancestors and gods when they reach an age too high to contribute to society.
  11. claramcalister

    claramcalister Scribe

    Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever rejected ideas so much as I've... Just... Stopped working on projects XD
  12. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    For me I don't reject world-building ideas outright. I just find that when I add a certain detail or do some research on a particular thing that it results in a change that can sometimes change the world I've created. I'd argue it was more a case of world building ideas evolving rather than being rejected.

    For example, moving the setting of my WIP from a continent based empire to an island-based maritime empire made me put more thought into how people would travel within the empire and how they do things like transmit news, gossip or vital information that could have a profound impact upon political or military decision making.

    However, the biggest change to my world came when I decided to change the geology, mega-fauna and climate of the world I had created to that of the last Ice Age but have a civilisation with a level of technology akin to that of the 1930s. The original WIP already had elements of the Ice Age in it (e.g mammoths, sabre tooth cats and neanderthals) in it but I decided to go all the way with creating an Ice Age physical world.
  13. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I don't really reject ideas. Sometimes I mod them a little or drop them out of a work only to put them in another one at a later date. However currently I'm working on a new book - Roar - almost finished the first draft - and here's a couple of ideas that will go into it.

    First the MC is a wizard who got transformed into a lion in a battle with a hag. He might be a sphinx. And so a large part of the plot is about him trying to regain his human form. But the world build part is about how do you live in a world where you have no hands, can't be seen in public because people run from you in fear or try to kill you, can't speak. How do you read a book or cast a spell?

    Another thing I've created is a magic city / building. One building providing magical services, training for all the different types of magical people, that's as large as a city, built in a hundred different styles. Eg the wizards like straight lines and stone walls. The shamen prefer wood and curves. The roads may be covered, have floorboards or cobbles.

    And there's an entire magical class I've called dreamers, who can enter the great dream, and talk to people across the entire world - as long as they too are dreaming of course. And some of them - well one anyway - can bring things in and out of the dream world.

    Cheers, Greg.
  14. Yora

    Yora Maester

    At a very late stage I kicked out dragons.
    And then humans.

    For the most time I was also building on the assumption of an abstract paralel spiritworld that contains the magical wilderness of feys and vast underground hellscapes that would be geologically impossible. But an important change to the setting was to ditch the presence of a paralel world and simply make all the supernatural realms actual physical places beyond the borders of civilization. This very much rewrote the whole relationship people have with the wilderness and religious concepts of the divine and supernatural.
  15. Malik

    Malik Auror

    I'm right there with you with dragons. I could never quite make them work. The characters mention them in both books, but at this point in the series, there's no way for the reader to know if they're real or not. I don't think I'm going to use them.

    This is only tangentially related, but I wrote The New Magic as a grimdark fantasy for adults: very violent, very dark--it has the death of a major character, intense and realistic (of course) battle scenes, battlefield medicine, sex scenes, and a torture sequence that fades to black but that would make GRRM blanch (I had to one-up the scaphism in Dragon's Trail, no mean feat). However, I wrote misogyny and sexual violence out of the worldbuilding completely. Due to the local social attitudes about sex, sexual violence just doesn't exist; most inhabitants of The Western World can't even conceive of it.

    Rape (and the ever-present threat of it), along with the patriarchal fantasy construct that enables it, has become such a crutch for fantasy writers. It's become the "Planet England" trope of mature fantasy. It makes for such lazy, yawn-inspiring writing that I decided to have the world reject the entire concept so that I'd be forced to not use it. It made for a much better story and much deeper female characters, to the point that I'm eschewing it for the rest of the series.
  16. Yora

    Yora Maester

    It's not so much that dragons didn't work. They just didn't serve any function.
  17. Malik

    Malik Auror

    They often don't. But they are sure cool when they're written well. I just can't make it work.
  18. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    I had a setting called "The Garden" which was basically a world created by the gods as a place for them to have tea parties. The whole setting is really green, lots of forest and the inhabitants are gnomes, pixies, fairies, goblins and other "little" fantasy races. They would use badgers, possums and other similar animals as mounds.
    It was supposed to invoke a classic fairy tale, Peter Pan type tone. The Land of Oz was a big inspiration. The theme of the setting was mortals falling out of grace with the higher powers (gods, nature, society, etc.).
    The mythology involved the main harvest god who owned the "holy homestead" which was like a grand cosmic farm that encompassed the whole universe. Most of the myths would be framed as domestic issues concerning a farming family and were supposed to bring to mind rural Americana lore.

    The first story I started in this setting involved a gnome who was disillusioned by religion contracting a disease which leads him to go on a quest to reclaim his faith while patching things up with some old enemies.
    Second story involved a dryad who manages to reach the top of the forest canopy only to discover that the sky is a solid object that is only about 200 feet high. And then from there they attempt to leave The Garden by busting through the sky. The sun wasn't happy about that and tried to stop them before they broke the sky.
    Third story involved a fairy who plans to rob a king by allowing themselves to be taken prisoner by the king's guard. And then there's some court politics.
  19. Corwynn

    Corwynn Troubadour

    I used to have typical fantasy races and creatures like elves, dwarves, and dragons in my setting, but I dropped them because I wasn't really interested in writing about them, they were just sort of there as background flavour.

    Also, the countries in my setting used to have clear real-world equivalents (this country is fantasy Germany, this country is a fictional version of France, etc.). Over time, I mixed locations and time periods, and added a few inventions of my own.

    Overall, my world has become less derivative and more original over time.
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  20. Tom

    Tom Istar

    My high fantasy project has gone through a lot of iterations over the years, so I have an entire pile of rejected ideas. Here are some of the ones that seem most ridiculous, when I look at what the story is now:

    1. Non-human races. Somewhere around the second year I was writing this, I decided to include creatures such as elves, dryads, and dwarves. I also included two races of my own invention--Ulinjad, which were a little like the Uruk-Hai but more intelligent and humanlike, and the Balsgor, basically my take on tieflings. One of the main characters was originally half-dryad.

    2. Existence of the Fey. This ties into the non-human races somewhat, but it was a much more developed idea that persisted a long while after the rest of the races had been scrapped. They Fey in my worldbuilding were strange, amoral beings like they were in Irish myth, and their existence formed the basis of the magical disturbances that starts the story along.

    3. An actual, tangible divine being that interacted with the human characters and physical world. I scrapped this idea pretty quickly, as I realized that I didn't want a definitive spiritual side to my world. Each culture has its own gods and its own religious beliefs, and I didn't want to give special treatment to just one. I also feel culture worldbuilding is stronger when the narrative isn't outright telling you which people are right and which are wrong about how the world works.

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