1. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Creating your own world

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Passero, Jan 9, 2014.

    I am reading a book with tips about creative writing. One of the key points is that you need to write every single day. It has a few exercises or tips to diversify the writing which will help you make progress.

    I love that idea and am following this.
    I am a beginner so I just started with this practice to get me up to speed.

    Now I was thinking about something...
    I always had the idea of creating my own world and am constantly thinking about that world and making up stories in my mind.

    Would it be good if for my daily exercises I just write about that world.
    For example I could describe a character, place.
    Write up some laws of some countries,...
    Maybe I won't use those items in my stories but it will not only help me in my writing, it will also help me in the development of my world as I focus my writing on it.

    Would that be a good idea?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes and No.
    It will help your imagination but not necessarily your writing as it's just constant planning - sets of lists, drawings, etc but no story arc, no character growth, no scenes, no conflict. I did this extensively for years but found that when I look back at those years there's little writing just a lot of ideas. Also with world building it's all telling. No showing.

    If you want to do this I'd suggest either work on some short stories along side planning your world or put a time limit on building your world.

    For me the best writing exercise is to come up with a clever sentence and write a flash piece about it.
     
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  3. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    I think I haven't explained myself enough.

    It's just that I just write about the world as in "work on having a good description".

    What I actually want to do is write everything in function of the world. For example one of the daily writing exercises is thinking about a person and write a letter as if that person wrote it.
    So I would change this to thinking about a character from my world and write a letter he wrote.
    For this I still can observer a random person on the street but instead of writing about a topic from our world, write about topics that fit into my world.

    Another exercise is writing a dialogue between people. I can simply write a dialogue between people from my world. This does not mean that I have to build those characters but just make the dialogue as if it would be believable in the world. I might end up using that dialogue or develop those characters later on, maybe not...
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Ah! yes this could definitely work. Anything that keeps your mind on your project is good. :)
    I've often wrote scenes that don't wind up in my story just as an exercise in character and to keep my mind focused.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I'm going to say yes and no too, but for different reasons. Yes you should, because 'writing everyday' does not have to mean 'write fiction everyday' - you can write a letter to someone, write on this forum, write in your diary, and yes, write a story or and exercise. Any kind of writing should improve vocabulary and your overall grasp on the English language, or whatever language in which you are writing. Finally, it is also good to plan your world now, because you'll have plenty of time to think about it before you are ready to tackle novels or short stories concerning that world.

    Conversely, it isn't a good idea because if you are only writing non-fiction (e.g. planning your world and whatnot), then your writing will not grow in the way you want it to. I presume you wish to write fiction, so working solely on non-fiction wouldn't help that much. I made that mistake with not reading wildly enough when I was growing up, and it's taken me a long time to get out of that, and my writing still hasn't recovered from the blow. ADVICE: Diversity is key to the beginning writer, at least in the respect of writing everyday.

    This is good, but I'm going to expand. Don't pressure yourself as a beginning writer and think that everything you write must have a whole and satisfying conclusion, even if it's only a few sentences long. Instead, work alongside the planning of your world and take snippets from it. For example, write a conversation between a barman and a customer in your world, be that fantasy, sci-fi, or real life. It doesn't have to have a story; it just has to have dialogue that will help you "feel" your world, understand it a little more. Not everyone can write short stories well, me included, and it's unfair to say everyone should do it, unless you want to. So my second bit of ADVICE: to begin with, write snippets of stories, and not necessarily whole ones. Just a phrase, even. A few sentences from a single person in your world. When all of these have been collected together, you'll (A) have a better grasp of writing and better able to tackle that novel or collection of short stories, and (B) you'll have a large amount of conversations, narrative, character sheets, and possibly maps to create that great novel you've always dreamed about! :)
     
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  6. Glacial
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    Glacial Member

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    That sounds perfectly reasonable to me now that you've clarified it. I'm not sure what kind of exercises you've been suggested, but so far it sounds like a good way to develop your writing for specific scenes (while developing your world as an added bonus). And these kinds of things have a lovely habit of expanding beyond what you ever could have hoped. I'd keep going with your exercises and eventually one of these little snip-its will really spark your interest. When that happens I say go for it and try expanding on that, making it into a more developed story.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    I'd say no. While its true that to write a story you need to know the world te character lives in, if your story is about a pirate, and takes place at sea, what good is spending time working out the details of royal succession in the south kingdom? Stories aren't about places or things, they're about people and their problems. They're about emotional issues not facts.

    I agree that you should write every day, but the act of writing, itself, isn't going to teach you the unique skills of writing fiction for the printed word any more than would scribbling with a pencil at six years old teach you the alphabet and spelling. You need to have something—the craft of the writer—to practice into perfection.

    Personally, I'd be leery of anything that says "Creative Writing," on the cover because that covers a lot of ground, and includes poetry, journalism, etc. It also tends to be at a high level. If you're going to write fiction for the printed word that's a different thing. You want to begin with the basics, like what a scene on the page is and the elements that make it up. You need to understand the nuances of point of view (which is a lot more then choosing which personal pronoun set you use for the protagonist).

    So write daily, yes, but at the same time, why not add a new tool every few days, to integrate into your growing skill set. You can always choose not to use a given tool, but if you don't even know a tool exists, you won't even ask about it. And as they say, if the only tool you own is a hammer, everything is gonna get whacked.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain
     
  8. Elowrey
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    Elowrey New Member

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    I think anything that can get you inspired is always a good thing!
    What I would add, though, is the fictional world's only exist to create conflict for your character. They serve the character and the story, not the other way round. So maybe also concentrate on plot and conflicts, and make your world add to the character's conflict as much as possible!
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I really like your idea of writing letters, as if they are written by a character in your story. Presumably these letters will be written to another character, and not just a 'general' letter. If you write from one person to another, you will add a spark that won't be there if the letter writer is just pontificating away, writing a neutral essay. A person-to-person letter can open up SO many possibilities.

    You'll be immersed in your letter-writer character's point of view, for starters. They will tailor their letter to the personality of the character they are writing to. Are they writing to a lover? An old friend? A son or daughter? A parent, a grandparent? A stranger to their world, or someone already familiar with it? You can see already that these letters will have different tones, depending on the intended recipient.

    Your idea of creating characters and exploring dialogue is also a good one, and might lead you into developing great characters and situations. I believe that getting these in place is crucial, even more crucial than 'world building' when it comes to storytelling. Once you have a story to tell, which can emerge from either the dialogue exercises or the letter-writing, then you can construct your world to fit.

    Of course ideas are just ideas, and need to be well-written to work. But anything that takes you out of yourself and puts you into the head of a character can't be a bad start. Good luck!

    ..........

    By the way, I'd be cautious about 'rules' like 'you must write every day.' Lots of writers don't. They write when they're ready to, or when they have quiet time to themselves. The important thing is NOT to procrastinate writing. Do write, and don't just spend yonks preparing for the perfect moment. But write at your own pace, not somebody else's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  10. Slacker
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    We have quite a bit in common! I, too, am interested in world building and creative writing, and I am new to it all as well. I actually have done an exercise in letter writing -- it is not especially well executed, but it's done -- and I must say: it's a blast! Perhaps what is most valuable is its very clear ability to make you consider your voice.
    Again, I am but a novice writer of fiction, but to newbies creating and giving life to unique voices is tough (it gets easier, right?) As someone who needs to have deadlines to accomplish anything, let me share the outline of my project. At the very least it may give you ideas:
    1. Publish a short story twice a week: Wednesday and Sunday. [Started on New Years, ending Jan. 21st]
    2. The stories must be between 500 and 900 words.
    3. No villains or heroes, make them about the ordinary folks.
    I suppose that is also the order of importance. Making sure you put it out is the number one factor, as there is no worse affliction than Nitpickeritis. A beginning and end date is cool, too. When you start an indefinite project, sometimes you think about it, or at least when I do, the mental image of panning over an infinite forest begins. That overwhelming feeling, scopecreep as we call it in the biz, is possibly the most destructive, catastrophic, pestilent... THING in existence. On second thought, the atom bomb... Nah, scopecreep is definitely the worst.

    Anway, good luck, man. When you finish a letter, if you think of it, shoot me a copy. I'd like to see what your world is like.
     
  11. Passero
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    Thanks for the advice. That really is useful especially the snippet part.

    Thanks and FYI. Those ideas are coming from a book about creative writing: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00HFTV9TA/ref=docs-os-doi_0
    I find it really useful as it provides a lot of exercises, both reading and writing.
     
  12. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    I reckon it'll all be more effective if you figure out the character and world relationship, rather than just randomly trying to create a world.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    @jannert Your posts are always so inspiring and helpful. I didn't think just liking them said it well enough. :D
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    I need more world building in my story, I think writing a little bit of just the world they are in daily or weekly is something I might try.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Aw, thanks. I'm having a perfectly shitty week—non-writing issues—and a little ego boost like this really is nice.
     
  16. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    @jannert has some great points, but I will particularly underline the above section of his post. I've tried buckling down to write every single day, and it's led to my fragile psychological state crashing on numerous occasions. If I put my foot down and then for whatever reason can't stick to it one day, it really does a number. I'm of course not saying this would be the result of your efforts, but I'm just offering up my experience here. I write when I feel like it, and it feels good.

    I think you've come up with a brilliant approach to practicing writing, and I think it's great that you're doing it in conjunction with world building! I love rich, live worlds. I also love rich, live characters. As long as you keep pushing yourself, I think you'll end up with both! You'll also be getting a lot of practice with getting into a character's head, something I think is an invaluable skill in writing.
     

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