Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Worldbuilding Fiasco

This post will be short, but I have a couple points to make about worldbuilding in a fantasy or science-fiction world.  Don't worry, more news on The War Horn will be coming soon: hold your horses and I'll get to you as soon as I can.

So I just have one question...does anyone else feel the pressure to worldbuild like nobody's business?  Like, on a "Silmarillion" scale?

That's what's been plaguing me lately.  I'm five thousand words into a document titled "A History of the Elathim".  And I'm not even halfway through with my "worldbuilding".

You see, this document basically records the history of this fantasy world, and specifically of a certain people.  To give you an idea of how massive this project is (in comparison to writing out a "quick" history), I'm writing the history of seven nations, their fall, and the rise of the three other nations (or mini-empires, more like) that took their place.  Right now, I'm done with the preliminary histories of TWO of those first seven nations.  That's what took up five thousand words.

Besides this, I've written out a royal genealogy for two of the nations (and hope to write one out for each nation), in addition to drawing out a detailed map of all seven kingdoms.  And I created a non-Roman calendar.


I really did think that I was just writing out a short little background on the history of this people, but it's looking like this little project will end up being more than fifteen thousand words, minimum.  One thing led to another, and I had all kinds of things to sort out.  It's actually like exploring new territory.  I've got a genealogy with 36 names on it, and each name has a story behind it.  (Resist the urge to explain, resist the urge, resist the urge...)

So that brings me back to my first question....does anyone worldbuild obsessively like I do?  I feel kind of alone here. XD If so, feel free to let us know how you do it, at least for my state of mind.

I'll leave you with an example of my madness...a quote that touches on primitive genetics.

"It seems to me to be evident that....the traits of the Elarasters are passed on from one generation to the next, like a family heirloom might; but this is contained within their blood, in packets, if you will, of information that determine the life of a man or woman....however, I estimate that it only manifests itself once in a thousand births, or less, and only among the Elathim." — Loc Shallin, "A Treatise on the Origins of the Elarasters" Printed in 829 W.C.

I have to admit, though...this worldbuilding is great fun.  XD  You ought to try it.  


Pathfinder said...

The thought to worldbuild has crossed my mind a few times, and, honesty, I have a feeling it's something I'll have to try before I can pick up my writing notebook again. There's just so much needed to be sorted out before one can write a story that takes place there. How can you write in a place you don't know?

Brianna said...

Not exactly... It's already ingrained in my brain (haha) of what exactly my world looks like, and that's often the downfall of my writing... no one is beginning to get a CLUE of what my world looks like because I've neglected to tell them... since I already know. (Wow, that's a really long run-on sentence. Sorry.)
Your worlds sound awesome!!
I've never attempted something that massive... I'm lucky if I even get that far in any novel. (I've never finished one, so props to you who have.)

The Director said...

I've tried. That's the one thing of fantasy writing that tangles me up. I keep tweaking it and tweaking it.... and pretty soon, I have nothing on my hands that looks anything like a story. So I sort of try not to do "history-book" worldbuilding ;) I do like it though, and maybe in the future I'll have the courage to try it again :P

Jess said...

Seriously? I'm WAY too lazy to do any even minorly intense worldbuilding. Which just goes to show that it's a good idea and I should change my ways... Somehow.

Hannah Joy said...

I'd like to try it, but I agree with Brianna--I know what my world is like in my head, it's just a matter of putting it to paper like it is in my head. :-P But I should give it a go some time.

Morgan J said...

That's me! History's, genealogy's, languages, I try to do it all and get overwhelmed. That's why I've been working on the same fantasy world for almost two years now and haven't written a single story from it.

Christopher said...

Guilty. I will worldbuild till I die. Actually, my problem is I often include a bunch of history in my actual story. I'll start talking about how a certain weapon was invented and five thousand words later I'll be talking about a type of illness derived from pine needles that only people in my world can get because of...two thousand more words later and I'm talking about the beginning of the universe.

If that's not obsessive, I don't know what is.

Leilani Sunblade said...

Not really. In everything I've written, I haven't really done a lot of world-building. In fact, there's only one series that I've written that I actually figured out what I wanted my world to look like before I started writing

Brian McBride said...

I have, many a time, attempted this. But every time I end up coming up with a measly hundred words or so. It's more like a profile. However, I do so like this idea and must try this in the future. How fun that would be! :D

Anne-girl said...

This sounds exactly like me.