Jump to content


Author: Author
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

61 Getting There!

About Andy

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Age in Years
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
    Bisexual, leaning male
  • Favorite Genres
  • Location
    England, UK

Recent Profile Visitors

13,036 profile views
  1. Happy Birthday!

  2. So, you've decided that you want to write something in a world that doesn't yet exist. In front of you sits a pad of paper and a stack of post-its an inch thick. Where do you begin? There are two broad schools of world building. The top-down approach. The bottom-up approach. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. Bottom-up: This is used when you have an idea for a place, character, or thing and you want to find a way to incorporate it into a wider world. This lets you focus on the immediate vicinity in much higher detail, you can develop the cast of characters, the street names, the local histories, the things your story will interact with immediately while hand-waving a lot of the why or how. If you don't see the story leaving the city it's in what's the point in knowing the currency of a country way over on the other side of the world, unless of course it becomes important to the plot, then you just write it in. Advantages: A quicker start-up, immediate results, a focused setting. Disadvantages: Easy to introduce inconsistencies, over-focus. Top-down: This is used when you have a general idea for a setting and you want to flesh it out. It allows you to build a strong foundation for your story where the many pieces fit together seamlessly. It allows you to stray from your storys local comfort zone without worrying about what they'll find out there. You'll know the climate, the geography, and history of the setting as a whole before narrowing your focus to a regional or local level. Advantages: Better integration, internal consistency. Disadvantages: Slow start-up, lack of focus. Which of these is the best? It depends entirely upon the individual, and the ultimate goal of the worldbuilding exercise. There is of course a third option. The Combined Approach: This uses elements of both top-down and bottom-up. It allows little pockets of focused setting within a broader consistent world. It's also probably the hardest method to pull off successfully as it can quickly become overwhelming. Personally I tend to use a predominantly top-down approach, but I discovered worldbuilding through pen-and-paper games, I like to build settings in which to set various stories, rather than having a story I want to tell and needing somewhere for it to happen. I've got notebooks and sketchbooks filled with hastily scribbled notes, intricate maps, lists of seemingly random words. And somewhere within all that detritus is a world or two that would actually function as reasonable setting, I just need to get it onto paper in an intelligible way.
  3. I posted a blog thing. Go me...

    1. FieldMan


      Hah! Glad to see it, I was looking forward reading it

  4. This blog is primarily targeted towards speculative fiction writers. Whether that's epic sword and sorcery fantasy, grim near-future sci-fi noir, far future space opera, or any where in between. But there are specific cases and techniques which are useful to anyone who is writing any sort of fictional product. What is world building? At its very core world-building is about making decisions about your setting. A series of truths that define the interactions between your characters and the world around them. It is any decision you make that separates your setting from reality. Examples: You're using your old school as a setting, but you need a dedicated indoor swimming pool for your main character to experience all the anxieties and excitements that occur within that building. You want elves and magic, and the sky is actually purple, but there's an evil race of gnomes that live in the mountain over there who actually hate all surface dwellers and are trying to destroy the world. The alien race of Xiwyliipoliopion has spread its wings and colonized half of the S'untir galaxy but has run into the war-like Os'ther'ead race, halting their progress. World building shapes your characters, their homes, their lives, their friends, what they eat, what they read, how they travel, it can guide your plot, affect your language, it is intrinsic to a believable story. It is part of the trifecta of basic requirements for a story: Setting, Characters, Plot. Why is it important? In each of the examples above a decision has been made, something which changes reality to suit the story you're writing. And that's cool and all, but you can't make these decisions at random for very long before you start to contradict yourself. Internal inconsistency is the easiest way to jar readers away from your story. Changing from elves with magic to aliens with guns half-way through is just as bad as changing the name of your main character from Dave to Bob, Szally to Th'ue halfway through chapter two. It's easy to mentally keep track of a few minor changes, as in example 1 above, but for examples 2 and 3 you've got a lot to keep track of and you've not even put pen to paper yet. Imagine 25000 words into the future and you can't remember whether you described the sky as amethyst or puce, maybe it changes with the season? You need to keep track of each decision, so if it comes up in the future you can make sure it's the same. You need to know the truths of the world, and the lies your inhabitants tell each other. What tools do I need? A notebook, or post-its, or a word document. Just somewhere to write things down where you can access your notes and double check anything you're not sure on. Some writers will develop whole wikis for their settings, so they can easily search and cross-reference each decision they have made. Caveats Hand-waving: You don't need to know exactly how you interstellar engine works, so long as it works the same every time, if your plot decides that you need to explain it somehow, then that's cool, make the decision when you need to. Just don't say in chapter 1 that faster than light travel is impossible, then have your characters escape on a stolen faster than light ship three chapters later, with no explanation (at least for yourself) of how. Secret technology/magic is occasionally a useful trick, but abusing deus ex machina throughout your story dulls the excitement of those scenes. If you decided when you made the “no faster than light” decision, but you actually knew that it was possible using secret military technology, then go for it, but foreshadow at least a little bit. Over-building: If you make too many decisions too early you can write yourself into a corner. Some inconsequential decision made before you start writing can stall your plot while you fight with yourself over whether it's necessary. If you've not told the reader, or it hasn't had any iterative impact, then don't be afraid to change it. Maybe when you started your elves actually lived on a flying continent above a sea of clouds though no-one your character has interacted with has ever been there, but you end up finding yourself needing a boat trip. That's cool. Change it. It's had no impact yet, but once it's written into the story, it's a truth.
  5. Not gonna lie. I may have just marathoned this today. Well worth the read, even if some of the major themes strike just a little bit too close to home.
  6. Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday Andy, I hope you have an AWESOME day and a GREAT year guy :)

  8. Happy Birthday :)

  9. Happy Birthday ANDY!! I hope you have a great one.. it's been awhile.. :(

  10. Happy birthday dude. Old already!
  11. Hi Andy! Happy Birthday!

  12. Happy Birthday Andy ~!!~

  13. I think the moist thing was the most Disgusting word. Men are supposed to find 'Used' the most disgusting, and women are supposed to find 'moist' the most disgusting... But back on topic. I'll place my vote for 'Caress'
  14. I've not actually applied for my loan yet. My parents spent so long sodding around getting me the stuff I need to get that little tiny bit extra (that and I've not been able to afford postage, paper or ink to do the forms) I should probably do that now....
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..