Worldbuilding, or Lack Of

- by ria, on Wednesday, 11th August 2010, 3:39pm

I think my series on pre-production is coming to an end. They were fun to write and I’ll have to keep them in mind as I head into draft 2 of book2 (which will be happening sometime soon – I’ve already started a very rough outline). But just for the record, I would like to write a quick note on worldbuilding.

Learning things the hard way

Don’t tell any agents or publishers, but I don’t really do any worldbuilding. When I started draft 1 of book 1 (I’m currently on draft 3 of book 1, just so we’re all straight) I had a 16 page outline that set out everything that was going to happen in the plot. I had a very vague idea of what the world was like, I knew there were planes (dimensions of reality) and portals but that was pretty much it.

As I wrote the first few chapters, I let the world build itself around the story. If I needed a forest, there was a forest. If I needed a city, there was a city. It was pretty haphazard, and I think it led to quite a shallow world. I still feel this way. My book is not about the world, it’s about the characters and the adventure. By the end of draft 1, the setting was all over the place, because I’d put no thought into it. A lot of the rewrites in draft 2 compacted the world and solidified the magic system.

That’s why drafts are essential for me, even though they are time consuming. If I had everything set from the start it would save me a lot of effort. But my brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t come up with a whole world,because I don’t know what my world will need and what it won’t need. Between drafts 1 and 2, I did a bit of worldbuilding. I came up with cultures, places, professions, etc. But it was all a bit superfluous, because none of it made it into draft 2.

So, I still have a lot to learn about worldbuilding. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

tags: ,
category: pre-production, writing

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