Worldbuilding in progress

Monday, May 14, 2012

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While I'm letting my muse mutter in the background on how to fill a short gap in my current WIP (after finishing a rather intense pair of scenes for my two MCs, particularly for the mage), I decided to ponder on some of the worldbuilding for their story.

I don't sit down and create a world, then find a story. Characters and situations comes first, sometimes when I'm not ready for them. Sort of like this story. Rather out of the blue, I imagined the meeting between this cursed young woman and an aging mage. It was going to be more of a semi-comedic fantasy love story, but it's become more of a epic fantasy adventure with kingdom politics and love to provide complications.

The comedy angle would have been lots of fun. You know, a light-weight fluff fantasy novel with only a brush against the idea that looks don't have to be important, good for mental dessert. I'd have loved reading it. But I haven't the foggiest idea how to write that way. I don't read much fluff, only when I'm in the mood for something breezy. So when I started trying to implement the idea and the world started filling in around them, their personal histories became much more important, giving the tone a serious angle. But then that's what I read most.

Some of the setting history has shaped up just from writing stuff that the characters are thinking and talking about, but this past week I hit upon the need for having a solid way for how characters in the setting would talk about magic. Though it will be teaching my readers "how things work," the upcoming conversations themselves will reveal the differences in what each knows about the topic.

After all, I know some basics in fine art, but I don't know much about advanced technique or the best supplies to use for each style. Some of my customers at work know even less, so the conversations are interesting sometimes. ;) Plus some areas I'm rather good at, like sewing, or getting better at, like beading, so when people have questions, I can provide greater assistance. I'm trying to keep that manner in mind when one character teaches another about something. It's all filtered through what they know or don't know on the topic as well as their opinion and experience with it.

So I think I've nearly got the basics for how magic works figured out including terminology. Now I've got more of the world trying to form up in my head, like what technological developments are available in order to make the world less of a stock fantasy world. One rather neat site I found this morning while looking up Renaissance technology is a gamer's history notes from creating the world used for a homebrew game. It's specifically stated that the notes are not strictly historically accurate due to the slant towards a fantasy game, but it makes a great overview.

After following one of the links at the bottom to its new addy, I also found The Medieval Technology Pages, which is supposed to be more accurate. I haven't finished looking through it, but there are pages on a variety of daily life items like artesian wells, hops, soap, and windmills.

Ideas are marching in my head for upping the basic tech level in my world while still keeping guns and gunpowder out of it. Time to go think on how to integrate some of these ideas.

Hope the rest of you are having a productive Monday, too.


Kelly Said said...

Hi Jaleh! I'm smiling because I work similarly to you, hehe! The characters pop into my head first, followed by the scene, then the world. I've been at the world building stage for a bit now, trying to work out all the personality quirks and secrets my characters have and why they don't want to be found out etc. I just don't feel like I can sit down to write until I have everything all sorted out. Once I have the world set, then the fun (for me, at least, hehe) begins! Writing the actual scenes, putting the characters on stage and testing their reactions to things etc.

That's too bad the comedy angle won't work for this piece, I love the light-hearted feeling a humorous character brings to a tense situation. :) I'm looking forward to seeing how you'll show the hierarchy of magic in the world you're building. :)

Well, so far, my Monday's been pretty good - all the writing I need to do is on the starting blocks in my mind, just waiting for the end of work whistle to scream so I can get to the fun part of my day -- writing! :D

Hope your day is super, Jaleh!

Jaleh D said...

Well even though I can't write it as a comedic romp, I do work in some light-hearted moments. They're going to get a bit of a breather--just a bit--before the hidden consequences of the mage's recent actions sneak up on them. I'm hoping to get some good banter out of those two before I send them out on the road.

I probably could have gone longer before seriously hashing out the magic system, but since I was playing with how mages are governed by society, I had to get it firmed up. My characters themselves formed up quickly. And half the book is roughed out already. I just have to take my scribblings and turn them into full scenes and chapters which might barely resemble the ideas that spawned them by the time I'm done.

Tia Bach said...

That does sound like a productive Monday. Good for you. Hope the streak continues. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Nice websites. :)

Jai Joshi said...

It sounds like things are really marching along in your worldbuilding, Jaleh.

Like you, the characters always come first for me. Then the plot. Then the world they live in. I've never written fantasy like you but I'd like to try it at some point.


Donna Hole said...

Jaleh; you and I could be writing twins. I get a character(s) and a situation, usually an ending, and then just start writing. As I go along, my characters usually bring things into the narrative or dialogue that build the world and then I have to do research. I've gotten smarter lately and saved a lot of the links and materials for future surprises from my story lines. I saved your links for future reference.

I'm collecting stuff on the Fae, Sidhe, and Celtic gods. Specifically on wardrobe and earth magic. If you come across anything, please share the links or books titles :) My e-mail is on my profile.

As for not writing the light-fluffy thing; once you get this story written, you may find you can lighten it up during editing/revision. Perhaps you just need to focus on the main story and world before tackling that aspect. I've had to do this with several short stories I've written. Humor and fluff is my weakest writing skill, but sometimes I'd like to appeal to romance readers, although I don't really write romance. Know what I mean?

Have a productive weekend Jaleh.


Jaleh D said...

I hope I can work in some more humor, though it still won't be light and fluffy. The two MCs banter with each other, and I worked in a mock fight between them beginning with a grabbed finger and a playful challenge. I thought the action part of it sounded clunky but my writing group thought it was fine and fun.

I'll be on the watch for more links. Maybe I'll do a link day soon. Wonder what links I've forgotten about in my bookmarks.

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