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Author Topic: World Building Discussion  (Read 1800 times)
AurumLutra
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« on: January 10, 2012, 04:25:36 PM »

World Building: The art of creating the most complete, believable setting for your epic stories! Discuss it, your process, and share ideas with other authors here. =3

I love world building because it's an exercise in realistic creativity. For me, in fiction, realistic creativity means answering the question of "If this exists, how does it work?" I've had several ideas for fantasy stories, inspired heavily by my favorite video game series, Final Fantasy. Lately I've wanted to set out to create that awesome setting for my stories to take place in; I really like being able to just be immersed in the location as much as the plot, which is why I like the FF games so much.

I generally start with geography, since that pretty much sets the foundation for how the civilized parts of the world look. Most of your major cities are located in areas of great economic value and containing plentiful natural resources, right? If your starting geography has a lot of forests, mountains, and rivers, you have potential for big cities. If your starting geography is flat and barren, there's nothing to live off of (suddenly I find myself making a mental comparison to Minecraft...).

Anyway, I could keep going, but I want this to be a discussion amongst everybody! So, offer up your ideas and thought processes behind world building. =3
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Altivo
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 05:26:46 PM »

That seems like a perfectly legitimate way to start, but I tend not to go that way. My stories revolve around characters and situations, and I start with that. Only when I have the opening characters and situation do I start to think about the greater setting in which they exist. Then geography begins to matter to some extent and I have to map something out. Perhaps it's just an apartment or a single room, or it may be more. For Menander it was our own world but during the classical Greek era. For Argos of Westvale it's another world that isn't very different from ours in climate and seasons, but has a very different physical map. For a story like "Rabbit Food" or "Catch Me If You Can" it's just an ordinary college campus or college town, but populated by furry characters in "Catch Me."
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AurumLutra
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 06:12:11 PM »

Well of course the story itself affects how big a world I want to create. For my fantasy stories, I'm going for a big epic plot, so I want a big epic setting. But I've also had stories set in high schools and colleges. Obviously one doesn't create an entire continent with cities, government, etc. if the entire story takes place in literally two small locations. X3

In other news, I realized that I could use Minecraft and a mapping mod to create land with. Think I'm definitely gonna take advantage of this tool.
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iain
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 06:21:31 PM »

This is how I've learned to do it. I've tried changing the process to make it more cerebral, but this is the only thing that's ever worked for me.

First, I pick a setting I've experienced and know really well. Then, I criticize my memory for the tiniest details. I change things, modify things, twist things. Once the setting is ready, I think up a character to explore this setting with, so I can learn about it (and, consequently, the character). I then send the character off to bump around in the dark, hoping at some point the sun will come up and he'll know where the hell he is.
Rinse.
Repeat.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 09:40:05 PM by iain » Logged

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Quinn Yellowfox
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 03:38:49 AM »

I agree strongly with 'Tivo. World building can be as simple as using a standard archetypical world but a fantasy world takes a lot of work.

The characters and situation are driven by the world but the story  also shapes the world.

First, I build the environment--the weather, sky, etc. This can dictate clothing and other social conventions like diet. Technology comes second. What tools are available? Later come customs and beliefs. These all intertwine. As the story progresses, I keep a written canon in a seperate file and refer to it in re-writes. (i.e. if there is no metallurgy, there are no coins, so what is used for commerce?)

One problem was how to create an explosion using neolithic tools and technology?  Originally, I used a whiskey barrel. Without metal, I couldn't make a barrel or distilling equipment, so I used an oil lamp in a mill. The world drove the story and vice versa.
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