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Worldbuilding Presentation

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by skip.knox, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm giving a presentation on worldbuilding next month at a luncheon. It's 30 minutes or so of talk, to the Idaho Writers Guild. Some in the audience will be interested in worldbuilding, some will be interested in lunch.

    I have my outline and am working on timing, but I thought I'd throw this out to the Assembled Wisdom. You have thirty minutes, which is maybe fifteen pages of material. What would *you* say about worldbuilding?

    Or, putting the shoe on the other foot (ain't it great we have only two feet and two hands?), what would you want to hear at such a luncheon? Besides what's for dessert.
     
  2. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Since it's you, and since I know you're a historian, I'd like to hear some anecdotes on how big historical events played out in your world.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  3. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Before dessert, I'd also like to know what else was on the menu before going.

    As for the thirty minutes and fifteen pages, really, fifteen pages? Seems like a bit more of a lecture then actually engaging the people in the crowd. Might just be my particular take on how I have to do presentations and how I've seen them done via my own line of work. My go to would probably be cultures and food and reflections of both and how they weave in to the world building (no real surprise there, honestly). And get the people in on it with their own thoughts and how to draw into the worlds and their own. As it is world building, there is a lot you can draw off of. Just my take.

    As for going to it myself and what to expect, you may not (or may) like it, but I'd not want to be lectured about it. It's an interesting subject but a lecture would just put me to sleep. Though it'd be kind of expected too. I'd mostly expect to hear different takes on world building and how people go about it. Though I'd probably also assume that it might be a bit dry. Perhaps wrongly.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Yes, fifteen pages read out would be thirty minutes. It's the old guide of two minutes per page for reading papers at academic conferences. I just put it out as a kind of boundary marker. I won't be reading, I'll be following notes, probably aimed at only a couple of pages (I don't like to be shuffling paper).

    Getting audience participation is fine, but very often there is none or little, especially when the audience isn't involved in the genre. Plus, the actual time allotted is forty minutes, so I was already leaving time for questions.

    In reply to both Srvtnsse and Orc Knight, you've confirmed my instinct, which was that the standard checklist approach was not engaging. I'm going to go with something more anecdotal, like how one moves between a specific story and worldbuilding. I'm tinkering with that today. The event is mid-July so I have time yet, even with the grandson coming to visit for two weeks. He's nine. *shudder*

    As for the usual worldbuilding information, there are lots of online sources. I'll have a handout for folks who are interested and they can get their own checklist.

    Two things are rarely covered in worldbuilding articles. One is tools. Oh, they give a list of tools, but how does one actually use them on the ground--organizing and searching are the two big ones. The other rarely-covered item is what I mentioned above--how to worldbuild not from the ground up but from the story up. All the articles I've seen assume you're starting with no story and are building an entire world.

    There won't be time to cover both topics, and the second one lends itself more to examples and anecdotes. More engaging, as they say.

    Thanks for the feedback, folks.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I have some articles over at Altearth, like this one, but my next novel is going to be exactly that. The Falconer is the story of how the young Frederick of Hohenstaufen, the "Boy of Apulia" and the "Wonder of the World" left Sicily with no army, no money, and few friends, and won back his empire. The historical story is remarkable enough. I'll be adding orcs, trolls, and giants, plus wicked wizards and whatever else I can think up.

    Some day I may write a story about Richard of England. I mean, it's so obvious he's a were-lion, right?
     
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  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    He totally is - why else would he be called something like that? :D
     
  7. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Had a good PR department.
     
  8. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

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    As someone who often suffers from story/setting mismatch, that sounds really interesting, and I totally want to know what you have to say about it now.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    So far, I plan to take a character I have in mind and a premise: Tuck the dwarf goes out into the world and comes back changed.

    That's all, really. I'll proceed by asking myself a few leading questions and just sort of sketch out how one gets into world building by proceeding from a character and some plot ideas. I'll supplement this by talking a few minutes about the usual world building--politics, economy, magic system, religion, social structure, etc.--but no more than about five minutes on that. Enough to indicate what it is and to reference a resources sheet I'll make available so people can go read the thousand-and-one guides that are out there.

    I see two kinds of world building. One is what I just mentioned, ground up, the kind where some begin with origin myths or planetary systems and eventually wind up with a story. The other kind is the story kind--building outward or upward from the story. A central point for the day is going to be that this is a dialectic. Nobody does all design before they write Scene One. And nobody just does the story without thinking at least a little about the larger world that never makes it into the story. It's a conversation between the two.

    If I am happy enough with what I do, I'll write it up and make it available in one form or another. Maybe as a series of prophecies. ;-)
     
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