Worldbuilding First, Writing Second

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by BloodyHellSausage, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Lore Master

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    I don't have a story or plot in mind, so I try to create a world first, then write a story that works around it. I'm not making much progress, because I think my imagination is stifled. Because if you make a story that takes place in the real world, you more or less build that story around how the real world works, because you're intimately familiar with the "rules" of the real world.

    I think if I were to write a story, instead of writing the "most dramatic" story, with lots of "shocking plot twists" and the like, I would probably write something like a slice-of-life, or maybe something that explores philosphical themes, something subtle like that. Because real life is not necessarily a super dramatic tale. (I'm not good at coming up with a story either.)

    I think philosphical themes and a fantasy world would be compatible with each other, because you could explore themes that you could relate to, but contrast with the real world.

    What do you think?
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

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    Go ahead and do it.
    I can think of several stories that I read a message into. Some times more than one message.
    The fantastic and fantastical can give you a great framework to explore something "real".
     
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I also started out with worldbuilding first. I had no intention to actually write stories, but I wanted to create a world to use for pen and paper RPGs. Then one day as I was discussing this with a friend of mine they suggested I'd write a story from a regular inhabitant of the world so that people could get a feel for what everyday life there is like.

    It tried it, and it worked out really well. It was helpful both in figuring out what was important to figure out about the world, and in explaining the world to the people around me.

    The first story was about a man standing around waiting for the train while the guy at the newsstand goes on a rant about elves.
    The second story was about a tree shaper who worked as a garden designer and got stuck at their clients place because they missed the last train home.
    The third story was about a guy driving the airbus back and forth between two cities.
    The fourth story...

    And so on, it's all very mundane and not particularly exciting, but it was a great way to explore the world.
     
    Rkcapps likes this.
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    There's no right way to do things. There's just what works for you.

    A story in one of its most simplest form is someone with a problem, something standing in the way of them solving said problem, and how this person goes about solving the problem.

    If you create the world first, you just have to find elements in your world that can fulfill those things. It doesn't have to be world specific, but if you want to use the world you created then that's what you can do.

    If you're not good at doing something, the only way to get better is to just do it. Not good at coming up with story, practice coming up with stories then write them. In addition maybe study story theory. Lots of good books on it. Try. Fall down. Get back up. Try again. Rinse repeat.

    Learning to write or to do anything for that matter is a story in itself. It's a bunch of try-fail cycles.
     
    Rkcapps likes this.
  5. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    It is hard to evaluate whether or not the method is good without knowing what the goal is.

    If you are writing for fun, school, therapy, self-pub, traditional markets, small press, etc each has different ways of doing it well. So if you told us what the goal of your writing is, it would be much easier to give quality advice.

    But, I do think fantasy and philosophical or moral themes go extremely well together.
     
    Rkcapps likes this.
  6. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Lore Master

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    I'm writing it as a hobby, basically.
     
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    The follow-up question then is, what do you want to get out of your hobby?
     
  8. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    Then do what makes you happy. I like to ride my bike, but I don't need to ride or train like a pro to enjoy it.
     
  9. Helen

    Helen Mystagogue

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    I think it can work, but mostly I think it works the other way. For example, if you want to change a character, you create the world that makes her what she is and the world that changes her...and so on...
     
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    I'd say, go for it!

    One thing you can try doing is to limit the scope. As soon as you have one bit of the world figured out, put a character in that small section of the world and write a short story that is slice of life for that character. Don't worry so much about plot, twists and turns (unless you want to), but just have that character step out of her house one morning and write what her day is like, involving those bits of world building you've already conceived.

    If you do this enough times, you might have a lot of great character sketches and even develop a deeper feeling for those areas of the world building.
     
    Svrtnsse likes this.
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