Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#2
Having a stable world with all the rules and ideas in place is a good thing for sure, especially for long term fiction like a fantasy novel or something. However, and this is a piece of advice I was given by a professor back in college, "Creating the world is the easy part. Every single person on the planet is capable of writing endlessly about a world and the grand things that take place in it. The difficulty is pinning down the important people in that world and then conveying their story from beginning to end." In other words, creating a world is one thing, writing out a good character with a strong, believable arc and growth, and then managing to stick with it for 300+ pages of writing is the hard part of being an author.

It's not a problem, necessarily, just that you need to work on the next step. Figuring out who in your worlds is the most important, or fun, to follow, and then marking down what happens to them. Trust me, I have that same issue. I'm really good at coming up with ideas and outlines, even characters, but then I have to actually write things out. I have to describe the way a house looks, or talk about how they walked from place to place, how the journey was, what the weather is like, fit in little incidental moments that build characters into believable beings, and it gets really, really difficult to stick with it. I mean, it can be downright boring making sure all of the pieces of the world fit with the characters and that the characters are entertaining or exciting while still being believable and consistent. But that's where a strong writer will really come through. You just have to get an interesting idea and stick with it.

The story I'm putting up on this site is quite honestly the longest thing I have ever written. It's pretty garbage at some points, and when I finish this first pass I'm going back through and I'm editing a lot of things. I've only written 111 pages, according to Open Office, but in those 111 pages I have thought up at least 3 other stories, with completely different worlds and settings and time periods. The trick though is to keep oriented. I'm writing this story, not those stories. Not yet at least. ... boy I hope this helps and doesn't sound really obnoxious.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#4
It is possible to have a 'well-functioning world', but only if it's not your first story. Demanding one's first creation to be perfectly internally consistent is not a realistic standard. However, once a person is more experienced, it's a standard one should hold himself to.

"The thing is, it is impossible to know what the setting needs to be when you don't have any idea what the story would be."

As above, only applies to first-timers. Once you know what you're doing it's silly to go into writing a story without having an idea what it's going to be about and what the world's ruler are going to be and expect a good outcome. Sure, some people are just extremely talented and can do it, but most of us mortals can't.


"The common advice here is to know more that what is required to write your story. A lot of details from your setting wouldn't appear in the actual work but those details would help you as an author to write your story.

And what you are doing isn't really different from how others do their world building. In fact, what you are doing isn't really that big compared from what I've known others do. I know many authors who have detailed drawings for the various scenes of their story and floor plans for their character's homes. Detailed portrait of the characters isn't uncommon. A detailed family tree of the protagonist is said to be essential. Fantasy world maps are ubiquitous. "

No, just no. It's a waste of time to flesh out things that are irrelevant to your story. Character appearance, sure. Map, naturally. However, the layout of a building? Unless it's important to the story, it's a waste of time and effort. The OP seems to have trouble with fleshing things out too much, so giving him/her this advice is more than counterproductive.

As for my advice to OP, I will avoid going into specific details since you also didn't explain much as to what your issue is. If you're indeed a first-timer, just do this:

- Decide what the overall plot of your story will be.
- Come up with a motivation for your character to move forward.
- Decide upon the important events in your story.
- Come up with how your MC will get involved in those events.
- Decide upon the overall 'setting' of the world, the powers, the political systems, etc. Overall! No need to go super-in-depth into the details.
- Create a simple map either in your mind or sketch it on paper, just so you know where your MC goes.
- Start writing.


Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#5
I wanted to reply in a nice way with quotations, but I'm too lazy to do it so I will just do simple old quoting with " "

"No, even if it is your thousandths it wouldn't be perfect. Some details would need to be changed and some details need to be added or removed.

You setting has to work in your story. While, yes, it is actually rather easy to create a well-functioning world, just make a regular non-magical mundane world and you'll be set, it wouldn't actually work once you start writing your story. There would always be parts that needs to be more detailed, or there would be parts that need to be changed.

I think I take the question as creating a setting that would work just as is. I don't think so. You always have to create changes as you write your story."



I said it's a standard to hold oneself to when you're no longer a first-timer, not to actually be perfect as that's a deman that's far from reasonable. ;)


"This is stupid. I already said when you don't have any idea what the story would be. If you strawmaned my statement by removing the condition, of course it would be wrong, but that was not my original statement.

And it is actually not silly to go into the story without having an idea what it's going to be about. Many writers create their story that way. They create things as they go. It is know as writing by the seat of your pants or pantsing. "

My bad, I didn't read that part carefully enough. Sorry.

---


As for the next long part, all I will say is that you're misunderstanding me. What you think I would consider irrelevant to the story isn't what I consider irrelevant. The things you wrote about are important to me as I very much enjoy consistent worldbuilding. However, I can see how a new author might be misled by my words since our definitions don't match. So, I admit that, it can be good to advise new authors to consider 'irrelevant' details, but at the same a more detailed specification as to what those details are should be given.

---

For the last part. Well, some people need 1000 pages of notes before they can start writing comfortably. True. However, I was under impression that OP is worried that he/she is worldbuilding too much. And, in my opinion, if it's his/her first story then it's better to jump into it without creating 1000 pages of notes since he/she will realize that many things need to be changed/adjusted on the run, in the same way you mentioned it in your post. Without the actual experience in writing a story it's hard to worldbuild in a way that's efficient and isn't pointless.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#6
60-200 pages of worldbuilding is nothing short of excessive as far as my perception goes. What would you even include there to make it 60-pages long, much less 200? I really would like to know, maybe I'm missing some point and I'm not writing as I should be. 

As for the rest, I guess we simply have different approach to writing and won't come to an agreement. I disagree with most of your arguments, but at the same time, I apologize if I came out as combative in either of my posts. I won't continue the upper part of this discussion as I feel nothing productive will come out of it.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#7
Hm, you're right. I was too subjective in my response and only considered my own experience, maybe OP is the type that needs thorough preparations to write. I truly don't spend much time writing down my worldbuilding; I tend to memorize most of it, what admittedly started to come back to bite me in the ass now that I'm 3000+ pages into the story. I had no choice but to go back and write down the key events and key concepts, though even then it all takes maybe 15 pages at most. As for every other settings, I keep them in my head and often work on them simply by pondering during the day, while on the bus, train, or anything else. Thus, when I heard of 200 pages of worldbuilding for someone's first-time novel, my first response was to start writing and stop thinking so much, heh.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#8
OP, you know you have a problem. If you want to write a story, you need to write it. Have you considered the angle that the narrative or protagonist may not have perfect knowledge of the world? You could easily push the story into places that aren't fully defined yet and even have the main character be wrong about things, which you can flesh out fully in your notes. A little bit of cleverness on how to make that plot relevant and you would likely increase the sense of realism in the story as people are often wrong without even realizing it, with realism presumably being the idea behind having such a well put together setting in the first place. That also makes for a very easy way to throw character growth and development at it. Won't really make your character stupid so long as the assumptions are fairly reasonable or there are subtle distinctions that were missed due to lack of prior knowledge or experience.

I used to fall into the super over prepared trap, myself. Never actually wrote anything when I was doing that. Tend to rely a lot more on improvisation, which is handy since I really don't need to know anything about anything to get a story started or a character introduced. A couple vague ideas, type away. Before I know it, I've got content and a fully fleshed out thing. Then I can take whatever notes I need to make sure I don't forget any of the ideas or concepts. You don't need to go full tilt improv as a way of life, but IMO you should pick up at least a little bit of improvisation to help you bravely charge forward into unwritten waters. At the end of the day, you can have a thousand pages of fantasy world encyclopedia and you still need to improvise unforeseen narrative elements because you're writing things that aren't written yet.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#10
Linipus Wrote: I really want to start writing, but I like having a well-functioning world when I start. but at this point, I have 4 different settings with between 60 and 220 pages of text about the world for each of them.
And I still haven't written more than a few chapters in any of them.


What you are describing might not be a world-building problem, does it seem like they fit in the same world? But it is definitely a story-arc problem. This particular medium-format aside, every story should have three parts, character introduction, theme/ problem presentation and development, and resolution/ problem gets solved. In stagework, this is called a "3 act play". Ideally, each of those parts has 7 stages, as symbolized by the ultimate story, the 22 major arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot, Fool above and below, and then Magician thru Chariot, Strength thru Temperance, and Devil thru Final Judgement.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#11
Ral Wrote:
Caladbolg Wrote: It is possible to have a 'well-functioning world', but only if it's not your first story. Demanding one's first creation to be perfectly internally consistent is not a realistic standard. However, once a person is more experienced, it's a standard one should hold himself to.


No, even if it is your thousandths it wouldn't be perfect. Some details would need to be changed and some details need to be added or removed.

You setting has to work in your story. While, yes, it is actually rather easy to create a well-functioning world, just make a regular non-magical mundane world and you'll be set, it wouldn't actually work once you start writing your story. There would always be parts that needs to be more detailed, or there would be parts that need to be changed.

I think I take the question as creating a setting that would work just as is. I don't think so. You always have to create changes as you write your story.

Caladbolg Wrote: As above, only applies to first-timers. Once you know what you're doing it's silly to go into writing a story without having an idea what it's going to be about and what the world's ruler are going to be and expect a good outcome. Sure, some people are just extremely talented and can do it, but most of us mortals can't.


This is stupid. I already said when you don't have any idea what the story would be. If you strawmaned my statement by removing the condition, of course it would be wrong, but that was not my original statement.

And it is actually not silly to go into the story without having an idea what it's going to be about. Many writers create their story that way. They create things as they go. It is know as writing by the seat of your pants or pantsing.

Caladbolg Wrote: No, just no. It's a waste of time to flesh out things that are irrelevant to your story. Character appearance, sure. Map, naturally. However, the layout of a building? Unless it's important to the story, it's a waste of time and effort. The OP seems to have trouble with fleshing things out too much, so giving him/her this advice is more than counterproductive.


You clearly have no idea about world building. It is one part of your story that does requires a lot more than what would come to be in the story. Those details aren't exactly irrelevant but they just aren't talked about or focused on in the story.

Think of it this way. Food is something that many fiction doesn't talk about, but a reader could ask, where did they get their food? If you haven't thought of it through, the details might be inconsistent. This is quite a problem here really. Foodstuff seems to appear out of nowhere. Fruits that are out of season or from different climates. Your story might not deal with food but not thinking about it can make your setting inconsistent.

Not being a focus but created quite an impact in the story is true resources like clothing, weapons, building materials, etc.. For example, a lot of those Apocalypse fiction creates a setting where the world have been devastated by some catastrophic even and resources have become scarce, but when you read the story, it doesn't add up. Like, the characters are only eating meat but somehow they don't become malnourished. There would be characters that looks like they live in a gym on a diet of protein shakes. Objects and materials that require advanced technology seems to exist for no reason. The setting falls apart under minimal scrutiny.

It is just really required to be meticulous with world building when the setting is very central to the story. Those "extraneous" details might not be a particular focus of the story, but it doesn't mean that they aren't important.

And different authors approach it in a different way.

What I listed was examples of different ways different authors do their stuff. Those different examples I give is what those authors think their story needs. I didn't say you need to do them. They are just examples.

The building layout, well morel like a dungeon layout though there might actually be layouts for houses, and drawing of settings; that example come from J.R.R. Tolkien. He is very very detailed in his world building. Tons of research, drawers full of drawings, names of distant mountains the characters didn't visit, dreaming up various languages, etc.. You look at how he world build and Linipus efforts is just tiny in comparison. Well, I guess you should go admonish J.R.R. Tolkien. He clearly a hack who don't know how to world build.

And I guessed you missed my very last sentence: Just do what you need to do to write your story and you'll be fine.

And this is what I said:

Quote:Some stories don't need a very detailed setting since the setting isn't really that important. Romance stories tend to be like this. Other stories does require you to work heavily on world building as the setting is the center piece of the story. Fantasy stories tend to be like this.


And note, you didn't quote this and then said that I'm giving bad advice. You ignore important part of my comment and act like it doesn't exist.

Caladbolg Wrote: As for my advice to OP, I will avoid going into specific details since you also didn't explain much as to what your issue is. If you're indeed a first-timer, just do this:

- Decide what the overall plot of your story will be.
- Come up with a motivation for your character to move forward.
- Decide upon the important events in your story.
- Come up with how your MC will get involved in those events.
- Decide upon the overall 'setting' of the world, the powers, the political systems, etc. Overall! No need to go super-in-depth into the details.
- Create a simple map either in your mind or sketch it on paper, just so you know where your MC goes.
- Start writing.


Nice tips and advice.

My only addition is that there is really nothing wrong with Linipus approach. If that is what is what he/she need to create the story, then nothing is wrong. It might be that a detailed and meticulous approach is necessary . . . or it might be not.


Okay, you two! This is not the best place to express differences of opinion. Everyone is different, every writer is different. World-building is not about fantasy, it is about author-preparation! Some successful fantasy-authors do no preparation at all! They start at the end of the story and work backward! In the end, world-building is NOT about any kind of perfection, but that doesn't mean he should give up on it if it comforts him.

Since we are all different, present your advice, and if someone else' advice contradicts, just scroll on by. He will read them all, and take whatever will help him.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#12
I don't build a world. Not even a rough one. I'm terrible at maps and don't create that either. All I do while writing is having a general outline set up in my mind(no, not on paper) and trying not to change what rules I already placed in the story. So worldbuilding ahead of time doesn't work for me.

World-building is a subjective matter. I won't say you can't absolutely create a well functioning world(except I believe there is no such thing as perfection) as there's no absolute when it comes to writing.

No one can tell you what to do. All others can give you are ultimately vague pieces of advice(don't listen to those who say 'absolutely don't do this or that). What works for you and what doesn't is up to you to figure out. Just remember, the famed J.R.R. Tolkien took twenty years to create Arda(the world where Middle Earth exists) and only wrote four books(five if you consider his unfinished work) in his entire lifetime.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#13
Linipus Wrote: I really want to start writing, but I like having a well-functioning world when I start. but at this point, I have 4 different settings with between 60 and 220 pages of text about the world for each of them.
And I still haven't written more than a few chapters in any of them.

You don't have any problem in world-building, aside of how your characters interact to your setting. Or how, they arrive to a certain area of a time. Specially in-time rescue, whatsoever. How they feel amaze in the place. 

PS: I didn't read the above. And below from that I quote.

Re: Do I have a world building problem?

#14
Ral Wrote:
LAurielos Baryesh Wrote: Okay, you two! This is not the best place to express differences of opinion.


This is a forum. It is a place to express opinions.

LAurielos Baryesh Wrote: World-building is not about fantasy, it is about author-preparation! Some successful fantasy-authors do no preparation at all! They start at the end of the story and work backward! In the end, world-building is NOT about any kind of perfection, but that doesn't mean he should give up on it if it comforts him.


If you have continued following our discussion or read what we have wrote you would know that you are repeating what we already said. You add nothing to the discussion


LAurielos Baryesh Wrote: Since we are all different, present your advice, and if someone else' advice contradicts, just scroll on by. He will read them all, and take whatever will help him.


Nice tip, especially considering that this discussion is months old. Necro posting to  give advice to a person who might not read it anymore and to reprimand people because . . . Why not?


Excuuuuuuuuse me for not having been a part of Royal Road back then. Are you saying this discussion is closed? Then why is it still available? If I read EVERY respinse before I respond, then my responses aren't natural, but okay! Received your message! May the Goddess bless you and keep you, far far away from me!!!