Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by jenslullaby27, May 17, 2009.
any of you guys know where i can get threads on fantasy worldbuiliding???
Why don't you try the search option? It's located on the tool bar at the top of the site. Try some different search words to locate the threads your looking for.
Uum, maybe I can give you some tips! Geography, Religion(s), Races, Government, History, Magic System. Write some info under these titles and you'll definetly come up with something. Good luck with whatever you're making!
i too am working on developing a fantasy world before i start the story i want to place in it. I am just having difficulty deciding how much detail is too much.
Ergott4, I suggest you use as much detail as you can. Know every last bit of information about your fantasy world to make it more believable and stable for you as the writer, and while the story progresses you can reveal and show (or tell, but I suggest you do this through dialogue to avoid the infamous 'info dumps') a little about your world here and a little about your world there... I hope you can make it through! (I've made over five settings that ended without a story... I just love worldbuilding )
I agree with Marcelo. I wrote an outline for my story, though it might more accurately be considered a timeline. I went all the way back to the creation of my world, described the gods, went through the creation of races, wars between gods, creations of prophecies, wars between the mortal races... Basically, i had enough information to write quite a few prequels if i wanted.
No detail is too small to put into world building. will you use them all? probably not, but that doesn't mean they're not important. I went so far as to assign a different number system to one of my races, (base 8 instead of base 10) and i even have an explanation on how that race came to use this number system, should anyone feel the need to ask. Will anyone ask? probably not, but it was still fun to think about.
Creating a world is for you. what you do with that world is for the reader. The more details you give yourself, the more you can show the reader.
I'll ask, why are they using a base 8 system?
Each hand has 4 fingers, no specialized thumb?
I disagree about world building to the smallest detail. Only provide the detail you need for the story, plus enough detail to enrich the reading experience. Don't nail down details for trhe sake of details - you may find that one of your choices gets in the way of the story later. It's easier to add relevant details later, rather than changing them to meet a need.
Also, obsessive worldbuilding is often just another way to procrastinate from actually writing.
I've been dealing with the same issue with the story I am writing. I've been writing bits and pieces of history for my world (though set in our world and reality) I have an entire history to build for my non-human characters set against humanities evolution.
I have about 5,000 written+adding more words just on the history as it comes to me. Will I use all of that information? Probably not. As I am writing, I try to figure out how much I want the reader to know yet. And how much information the reader needs to make the world real for them. So real that it disappears into the backdrop and draws them into the fantasy.
Read lots of books from the genre you are writing in. Read the books twice if they were pretty good. Look for what worked for you in the story as far as making the world so real for you that you almost forgot it wasn't real. What about the characters that made you keep turning the page. How did the author get you to care about the characters? How much history and world description are you getting from the author and how much did you end up imagining the setting?
How much detail will YOU need for your world? There is no hard and fast rule about it. The amount of detail you need to make the world real for you is what you should aim for. If you need an entire history of how your universe was created, then by all means write it. And you don't have to be careful, or worry how messed up your personal notes sound, as long as you can get your point across to yourself, that's all you have to worry about. Draw maps if you so like, or pictures of what the world might look like. Pull a photos of different kinds of galaxies off the internet(NASA has some pretty cool ones),sketch(no matter how badly) what your aliens might look like if non-human, write biographies for characters and all that stuff if you need it. Just look at Tolkien, he had tons of made- up research written out and maps drawn and whole languages made up for his make-believe word. So why shouldn't we?
When I started on my recent project, I started with a skeleton outline of what my world's history was. A few names, a few background information bits, then I started writing my story. I just jumped in without knowing too much about my characters. I've been working steadily for the past two months and have added a great deal to my personal notes and I've gotten to know my characters better. As a result, the first few scenes will end up being scrapped by the time I am finished with the book.
The best advice you can get is this:Just let your imagination fly, and don't stop till you deem you're done.
cogito was close...
they actually have three fingers on each hand including the thumb. they count by placing the thumb on the front, then the back of each finger. Just as we use a base 10 system because we can only count to 10 on our hands, my race uses base 8 because that's as far as they can count on theirs.
but going back to what i was saying earlier, go into as much detail as you want. you don't have to be detailed down to the most insignificant little tidbits of information, but if you enjoy world-building adding some of the lesser 'flavor' ideas can be fun. It's also something you can do when you're suffering from writer's block and need to take your mind off things for a bit.
That makes sense. I was wondering if it was that or some other reason. I've always been told that the Incas used a base 12 system and I can't for the life of me figure out why they would.
As for worldbuilding it depends, are you making the world to fit the story or are you making a story to fit the world? Both are legitimate approaches. Most people go the way of making the world fit the story, adding details to support it and messing with the physics as necessary, but all of the best science fiction I've read was done the other way 'round. Pate de foi gras (I hope I spelled that right) by Isaac Asimov is a great example of that. What would the real scientists in our world do if they found a goose that really laid golden eggs?
I'm a fan of building the story to suit the world because I usually don't start with a particular theme or message in mind. I find that the details of how and why things work spark better ideas for the events and motivations than just trying to figure them out based on what I need to happen. Also I think it's much easier to figure out how my characters would react to a situation if I fully understand the situation. Who of us really look at the big picture before making a decision? It's actually pretty hard to do, and most of the time a minor detail is the determining factor in which way we decide.
Edit: Speaking of which, anyone who wishes to help me brainstorm ideas for how the ecology of an abandoned city on a tropical island with buildings two miles high would work, feel free to speak up. I need all the help I can get.
I too am about to design my own world. I've always loved the idea of doing it but have not yet embarked on a big project. The thing that most perplexes me at the moment is how to create a magic system that is original. My only thought is to use electricity as a mystical power to fuel the spells, and so on. Work in progress...
You might take a leaf from Anne McCaffery then. She had some stories like the Rowan where psychics used gigantic generators to obtain enough power to teleport spacecraft across the galaxy because even though they were psychics, the human mind and body just doesn't have enough energy to move them on its own, conservation of energy and all.
If you choose to use electricity, then you would have to explain how the characters body uses and withstands it, why and how the people started using it, and if there is a possibility that some other form of power would be better for the job? (for that matter, there's a story right there in that last part.)
For your suspension of belief to work, you will have to explain this stuff at least to yourself, so that you can write it like you believe it to be true. That doesn't mean putting in every little detail for the reader before jumping into the story, but that you can introduce just the essentials over the course of the first half of the story.
I say first half out of my own personal preference when reading a story. By the time I am half way through the book I should be entrenched into the story, care about the characters, and understand the world the author has created. Some people may prefer to know everything up front, but I like it to be given to me as part of the story.
I also don't think adding in too much detail in the first draft is necessary. I think getting the story down first is the important thing, then during the first edit add in enough detail to give the reader a clear picture of the environment the characters are inhabiting and of the characters themselves. It's also a good way to flesh out the unnecessary information and redundant stuff.
Separate names with a comma.