World Building

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Writing communities always make me feel like I’m the crazy, avant-garde person that everyone dismisses because I’m just so out there.

Crazy is a given. But avant-garde? I don’t think so. I always thought I was more old-fashioned in my approach.

There’s a hyper-focus on world building, world building, world building(!!!1) with fantasy and sci-fi. This is obviously inspired by everyone fantasizing that they are writing the next Lord of the Rings.

Me? I thought Lord of the Rings was okay. Not inspiring, but not a waste of time. Certainly not something I want to emulate. Definitely not something I want to endlessly reread with different clothing.

The problem with novels based on world building is that they are dry. The plot is painfully generic, and the characters are one-dimensional props that bounce from explanation to explanation; about how dragons are blah blah blah, and the king’s daughter is blah blah blah, and magic is blah blah blah. Maybe the main character is given an interesting ability, but then their personality is so stereotypical that no one can be bothered to actually care. Insert weird names like fah’ri and el’wes in a effort to make it more unique, but not really…

I confess that I quit reading high fantasy when I was in middle school. Never could develop the stomach for it.

My style is character-driven storytelling. Instead of drawing maps, I read books on psychology. I think about readability and flow. The plot is a natural extension of the characters, driven by their goals and personalities. I build just enough world to give the story a solid foundation, but I don’t think about it excessively. I don’t come up with enough material for a compendium by any stretch of the imagination.

So, while the topic of writing is something that I have put a great deal of time and consideration into, my fundamental approach is different from everyone else in my chosen genres. I’m crazy and different, and no one seems to know how to respond to me. Ha ha.

Maybe I’m even avant-garde.

4 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Even though I love world building, it still has to work with the plot and characters. I’m currently reading a book that I feel like was written for the sole purpose of describing a world. It’s agonizing. The Lord of the Rings may have set the precedent, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so I wish writers would work more on making sure they have great characters, a great plot, and a great setting instead of following in a long dead author’s footsteps. It’s been done. Move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to talk about what I did with my current novel-in-progress, but I took a vow of secrecy while its still unfinished, lol. Metaphorically speaking, I tried to get a good “frosting to cake” ratio with characterization and world building.

      I wish I could impress on other fantasy writers the importance of characterization, but they seem convinced that’s not necessary for the genre.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a shame, but I hope to have the chance to read it when it’s published one day. Just from reading your blog, I have a feeling you write the kinds of books I’d enjoy. I like a good world, but I prefer it simply make sense rather than know the names of every weird fruit there is. Character-drive stories are so much more fascinating, no matter the genre.

        Like

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