1. atinypotato
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    atinypotato Member

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    Procrastination via worldbuilding

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by atinypotato, Apr 27, 2016.

    I like worldbuilding. A lot. Too much.
    I feel like I have to know every detail of every facet of every character, every restaurant in the city where they live, every street name, etc.
    It's a real problem, because I feel like I have to know all of this before I even start the actual writing, and it takes ages.
    So here's my question:
    How much world/character building do you do, personally? Do you have a system? How much do you think is too much?
     
  2. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    I do none. Like, at all. I'll figure it out as I go.

    I'm a hard liner on this I know, but I do feel that it helps me as a writer. I think that works should strive for minimalism and when the world outside the pages is totally unknown I can't include irrelevant details. If I need a relevant detail it's easily conjured and it ensures I can never wallow in how clever I am. All I have is what I'm looking at right now. I know that not everyone can work like that, but I would advise trying it. It adds a real sense of exploration to writing; feeling out a world and the people who live there and really encountering it all for the first time.

    That's absolutely what makes writing worthwhile for me. Maybe it's something weird in me that make me not just willing but really enthusiastic to find something fucked up in everything without breaking stride but that's just how I write and I love that I have the space and freedom to find it. Give it a try sometime.
     
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  3. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    this sounds just like me-- the part in red is something that I thought of a couple weeks ago when I finally got back into writing.

    I can't even make a proper outline because I don't exactly have the story figured out, just make it as I go, with some key points in mind. right now I need to create two different planets for my current WIP, and its a bit intimidating. Hopefully it works out. One is to be a desert world in the beginning stages of unauthorized terraforming, and the other is a lush green environment with ruins that is fully terraformed, showing the extreme contrast between the two.

    I might build a world first if it was something like a fantasy epic, but I don't see myself writing one of those anytime soon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  4. atinypotato
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    atinypotato Member

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    That's something I have a lot of trouble with, but maybe i'll give it a shot.
     
  5. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    There's two parts to it:

    First; trust your gut and your instincts. Second; remember that your first draft isn't what people are going to see and you don't have to be perfect right off.

    To combine the two; the important thing is not to make the perfect choice it's just to make a choice and live with it long enough to follow where it leads. You can always change it, you can always tighten up the setting or the writing or even just cut a whole beat. Give yourself permission to wander just for the sake of seeing where it goes. Write things that you really enjoy and run with it. Take a conversation in a different direction because of a bad pun that makes you laugh just because you like the pun. If to your gut it seems funny or interesting to follow then do so. Never worry about being self-indulgent either; that's ok. You're going to prune it down and a big long scene that's only interesting to you will become the selected highlights. In short; think about you in the short term. Not about a reader and their interests and needs and wants; follow what you care about right this second. Follow what is weird and engaging and even totally irrelevant. You'll hit some dead ends but none of this is wasted work. Whether it's graphic sex or existential angst (or both) if it feels good write it and see where it takes you and you can learn something about your characters.

    It all comes back to the same thing. Trust yourself to recognize a good opportunity when you see it and don't expect it to come out perfect. Above all things, write the story that comes out; the story that seems interesting to you at the time. Write a story that is enjoyable to write.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I used to do lots but I think that made me procrastinate. I'm not saying everyone falls into that trap but it did for me. I used to draw maps, road maps, character bios. I even had a history booklet to keep track of over three hundred characters ( name dropped or whatnot ) that lived, married and died. I drew clothes they'd wear, and did artwork for various settings. I even wrote several personal histories for three characters that turned into novellas. And the title character I even wrote out her diary. * eyeroll* All that work and I only managed one draft of the story but if I would've ignored all that other junk I could've done several dozen.

    Now I daydream as I go and write out things that come to me. If something is not due to show up in the story I write it out ( as a scene ) so I won't forget it. But mainly I write with a very loose knowledge of the world and the characters. Allowing myself to build as the scene needs it. No more useless or unused information.

    If there's a need for exact information to be noted - dates, ages, street names - anything that will be mentioned again I take note of it during a read through, write it down on a sheet of paper, and make sure that when it's mentioned again the dates, names and ages match up.
     
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  7. marty-daly86
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    marty-daly86 New Member

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    I have the same problem at times, I'm world building as I outline and sometimes spend far more time on the former.

    But I have managed to curb myself, I drew a map and named the main places/streets etc as they come up in plot/outline.
    I have sooo much background and history etc for my world that I have generated and it keeps popping into my head. Just make a note of it and expand when it is relevant.

    Although I think too much world building is never an issue because let's face it, authors should know the in's and out's of their world even if a lot of that information is never used in the story. As long as you remember to keep ploughing on with the outline and so forth and just write the bloody thing. Procrastination is a bitch! lol
     
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  8. ZoeyGirl
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    ZoeyGirl New Member

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    I feel like worldbuilding depends upon the kind of story you are writing. For example, those looking to read something like a YA novel are often looking for dialog and story progression. However, there is definitely a place in adult novels for worldbuilding. So I think it comes down to where your story is taking you. Is it a story that calls for a fast pace and action? Then worldbuilding to that degree may be overdoing it. Or is that character's world a major part of the story line? If it is, then it is worth it to take the time and really develop that part of the story.
     
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