As I mentioned in my last post, one of the lessons reiterated by Camp NaNo was that I really, really need to do more worldbuilding. So, I started making lists of what I needed to work on. History, religion, factions thereof, geography, fashion, differences thereof between social classes etc., cultural values...
Forever, until the end of time, and certainly until the end of my sanity.
Turns out I cannot give myself Worldbuilders' Disease. Or, at least I didn't the way I intended to.
What is this mysterious Worldbuilders' Disease, some of you may ask? It is the condition that arises when one gets so wrapped up in the worldbuilding aspect of one's story that one spends eternity just worldbuilding and never actually writing anything. While I didn't intend to give myself a case quite that severe, I had hoped to be enraptured by the process of worldbuilding, the desired results being intense time spent figuring out details and nuances of my world so that I would have a rich setting for my stories.
And while this didn't seem to be a bad idea at the time, and I have mostly enjoyed this exercise, it failed to take into account one thing: The sheer enormity of this task. Part of my problem there is that I am trying to worldbuild an entire world. Not one as large as our own, mind you, but still with its own set of dramatic histories and interesting cultures. That means a lot of details. Which means a lot of brainstorming and thinking. A LOT. Normally the prospect of brainstorming would be rather enticing, seeing as it is one of my favorite parts of the writing process, but this is just so. much. brainstorming. Complex brainstorming, at that, as people and cultures are about as simple as the TARDIS.
I have learned two things from this experience:
- I only need to do as much worldbuilding as necessary for this story. Yes, the Ootwoxan Conquest does impact how my characters ended up where they are, but it was 100 years before my story even begins. I don't need to know the details. My story doesn't take place in Sudeth or Ootwox or on the Moss Flats. I focus on two cities: Noxumbra and Plarn. I do not need to worldbuild the rest of the continent yet. The scope of the story isn't very big. Yes, I need to have a general idea of what's going on in the rest of the world and how it came to be that way, but I don't need to know everything. This isn't the only book I'm going to set in this world, so I can do more worldbuilding when I get to those stories. I need to focus on what details/general things I need for this story.
- I have to keep writing short stories or story-less scenes while doing a project like this because I need regular doses of prose.
So now I'm going to focus on just the essentials. Local economies, histories mentioned in the text, only one religion, just one area of one country, just one type of ecosystem. Et cetera.
I think that's all I have to say for this post. I'll have another one later on this month detailing a book wishlist for the current TCWT! monthly blog chain. Until then, may the ink ever flow freely and the plot bunnies be helpful (if such a thing is possible).