clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, July 6, 2013

World Building

Every story has a world.

Most frequently, we use the world around us. We rely on the normal conventional world where the physics and morality and interests and motivations of people are based in things we inherently understand as a kind of dialect for existence.

Then, there is the skew. The world we want to write in where maybe only one tiny detail is altered. Maybe characters suspend disbelief and embrace fairies. Maybe aliens walk among us. Maybe the moon has left the orbit of the Earth because of a colossal release of sub-atomic particles in a radioactive waste storage facility that suffers from a strange unexplained cataclysmic failure (Space 1999).

When we alter the known realities for our setting, we have to explain something of the rules to the reader. We have to do world building.

It's that part of writing that requires we the author to know everything and winnow what we reveal to the reader to just those little parts which are germane to the characters, plot, conflict, and motivations.

I did some of that tonight. I had to know just which little parts I was altering so my premise could exist outside of the world I experience each day.

I did this by having one of my characters explain it to me.

To my knowledge, I haven't read of doing this. I really haven't any experience at world building at all - which is a fault of my fiction because I really do the "en media res" bit shoving the reader into a bewildering world without any adequate preparation. ( FAIL). Nevertheless, I did take the business of environment and setting more seriously this time.

So, how does stuff work? I had my antagonist explain it to me. It seemed natural enough. After all, he'd just had a woman kill her husband in the bath tub and he had some time on his hands.

I hope all your spare time is taken up in writing. I suggest having a new character explain something to you as well. It helped right away define a voice for this character that I had not otherwise envisioned. I liked it.

Play God. Make a world. The example you know is generally fracked beyond all recognition so give it a whirl. It's a very low bar.

Takes less than seven days, too. I think this one has the look of something produced the night before the due date using No-Doze and 'Dew. Maybe that's just me; but, there it is. I'm not impressed with the precedent.

Job's open. That's all I'm saying.

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