1. shanemitchell1
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    shanemitchell1 Member

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    Creating worlds.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by shanemitchell1, Oct 21, 2008.

    I have been having trouble with creating worlds for my novels. We have all seen them, when you open a book on the first two pages there is the map of the world. I feel like I can't go any further with my characters because I am lacking in the whole picture of the world.
    I have tried to draw up the maps of the world but I end up feeling stupid. Anyone else feel this way? Anyone know good ways to construct the outline of the world, to get past this road block?

    Thanks.
     
  2. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm trying an expirament right now where I'm making the world up as I go along, along with the story that it's set in. so far it's turning out to be pretty good, but I'm not too far along. We'll see how it comes. I guess you could compare it to the fog of war on strategy games. The world exposes itself as you explore it. I've never been very good at creating it all from the start. What I'm doing now is taking a backseat and letting the world create itself with my occasional interjection to make sure it's internally consistant. My imagination is smarter than I am anyway. ;)
     
  3. shanemitchell1
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    shanemitchell1 Member

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    I think that would be hard for me because I edit what I write while I am writing it and it is very annoying. Last night I tried to just write anything that came to my mind and when I finally stopped I had a cool scene, and then I edit it.

    I thought about getting poster boards and writing out a time line of the major parts of the story. Then adding more detail until I get enough to have a solid point that I can keep in my head.
     
  4. Fungimandias
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    Fungimandias Member

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    Here's an outline geared towards helping authors build their own fantasy worlds. Hope this helps.
     
  5. niccomm757
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    niccomm757 New Member

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    The world will reveal itself to you as you write as long as you know what your basic story is. (Don't spend a lot of time on editing each scene for the first go round, save it for later. I bet that slows you down more than your lack of a map.)
    Is your story, say, a quest? Then the goal of your quest will be at your ultimate destination. So, with the destination and your original location you can locate two points on your map. Then let your characters tell you where they are going, just follow them, on their quest. Chances are they don't have a map to follow either (where's the fun in that?), so tell your readers what they see. Then figure out where those scene locations belong on your map.
    Good luck.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I had to create a world for the novel I want to use for NaNoWriMo. But I am not concerned with maps. I needed physical characteristics of a planet so that it would be consistent with the star's physical characteristics, and the environmental conditions I need for the story. That required some research and some simple calculations, so I did that beforehand to make sure I didn't "paint myself into a corner" with incompatable assumptions.

    That is all the worldbuilding I intend to do. Terrain, relative locations and such will develop as the story does, and I don't intend to draw any maps or timelines.
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I too just make it up as I go along. Plus I edit as I go along, yet the two have never presented me with any trouble. I guess it's a personal preference.

    Have you tried basing your world on something that really exists? Not completely, but in general. A large part of my fantasy world is closely based on a real location that I happen to know well and visit often, so I know the landscape, the features, the layout, etc. And if there's something I need that doesn't exist, I just create it.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that one doesn't need a big detailed map to create a convincing world. The area I mentioned above is only eight miles around the shoreline. The rest of my story, the rest of the world, I don't bother with maps and I don't feel I have to. If there's something I need to keep track of I can just take note of it, not create a map. Maybe you're overcomplicating things?
     
  8. shanemitchell1
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    shanemitchell1 Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input. I understand now that I don't need to focus to hard on theses sort of things.
     
  9. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    The need for worldbuilding (in the physical sense) is to make sure you don't contradict yourself later on.

    The first half of my novel takes place in one big city. I don't bother with street names, addresses, etc, but I do try to keep track of the basic cardinal directions (north, south, east and west). For example, if I say that the south end is the industrial distict, I should keep track of that. It would seem awkward if there's a dinner party or an elegant banquet on the south end of town later in the novel. I also keep track of who lives where and what happens where. If there's a battle scene in midtown, I know not to return there for a while, because the authorities will need time to clean up. I should also ask myself who lives in the the immediate area, and was he/she involved.

    Lots of people map out their story chronologically, but locations play a major role as well, even if it's just to keep you from "painting yourself into a corner" as Cogito put it. I doubt you need a true "map," but you should have a general idea of what belongs where. Otherwise, you may end up tossing apples in the orange bin.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This should be rendered in eight foot high red parachute silk letters, and trailed behind a Cessna Skyhawk over every city that contains WF members!

    Err, umm, I agree completely.

    The point is that worldbuilding for some is a hobby in and of itself. But for writing, there is this distinct purpose to keep in mind. Moreover, overindulging in worldbuilding for the sake of worldbuilding may be mere procrastination from diving into the writing.

     
  11. hellomoto
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    hellomoto Contributing Member

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    Pass it on ;)
     
  12. Fire of a Rose
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    Fire of a Rose Member

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    How's that? I don't know how to enlarge it any more...
    Anyway, I tried making my own world once. (I'm not going to be trying another comic for a while...)
    I didn't make a map, but I did have a general idea of where major places were in correspondence with each other. It worked well, except for the fact that I can't draw a straight line with a ruler.
     
  13. delhi
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    delhi Member

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    Once I tried to draw a map, too, but it was irrealistic... still, it depends on the story. If it is based on the milieu, like the Treasure Island, you must draw something (actually, Stevenson created the story after he painted the map). The Lord Of The Rings and Earthsea are on the same line. But if you aren't focusing on geography or chronologies you shouldn't complicate it too much, and a description through the story should be enough. I personally make thousands of timelines, but, as it is been almost SHOUTED earlier, it was too make sure I didn't contradict myself later.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why not build it based on real areas. Get some maps out and mix them up. Google Earth.

    You can change a mountain on a map into a palace for instance. Or imagine there is a palace on top of the moutain or hill.
     

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