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 Post subject: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:55 am 
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How deep do you go in your worldbuilding? A simple question that isn't as simple to answer, perhaps. What I'm thinking of is your story world from a broad perspective. Do you draw maps; divide the world into countries; delve into the inner aspects of your various cultures; explore the oddities of flora, fauna, and weather; investigate characters; build cities and write histories; develop magic systems; start and resolve wars; create unique customs; name forests, rivers, towns, realms, etc.? Basically, how much work do you put into creating your world?

I read recently that you should know 100 times more about your world than you actually use in your story. That seems a hefty number, especially to one as challenged as I am in the realm of worldbuilding.

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:19 am 
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I do very little worldbuilding, because I get bored with the world, and want to write the story. :roll: I think history is very important though. Knowing why your world is the way it is comes in handy. A solid knowledge of your world's history, government (if any), and customs I think are most important. But that's just me - the minimalistic worldbuilder. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:49 am 
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I do most of what you just said Tarin, although I'm still "new" to making Culture.

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:58 pm 
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I don't follow traditional world building theories.... See, I prefer to worldbuild as I go. I've been told my worldbuilding is very good, so I don't think you necessarily have to have 100 times more world than you will every use. To me, that seems pointless. When I write, I let my creativity run. When I write in something that requires worldbuilding, I worldbuild. It might not seem like you would end up worldbuilding much that way, but you really do, and the beauty of it is that you end up using everything you worldbuild. Or most of it. I always thought it was such a waste to put so much effort into world building when you weren't going to use most of it. I'd rather put that energy into writing....

But everyone is different. :D

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:04 pm 
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I'm more with Airianna; I worldbuild as I go. If I do a map, it's because I think it'll help me with the story. If I know history, it's because something came up in the story (and possibly was interesting enough to me that I did develop it beyond what gets mentioned, but still). I name places as I come to them. Magic is developed so I know what cool things my characters can (or can't) do. Culture...well, I'm not very good at developing culture, period.

But yeah. I'm not much of a sit-down-and-worldbuild person. I guess I've done a bit of that since I am attempting to get a sub-forum for my most developed world, but basically everything I have came about because of my stories.

So don't worry if you don't know way more about your world than shows up in your writing. As long as you know enough, it's good. :D

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:26 am 
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Interesting. I'm almost the opposite. I like to build my world during the outlining process, so that when I get to the story, I can focus on that and not become distracted following bunny trails.

I do think it's important to have a solid understanding of your world, which is something I'm working on improving. How much is enough? I think that depends on the writer, the story, and the world you're creating. If you have a world that's drastically different from earth, or that includes a lot of unique elements, then it will naturally take more to describe and flesh out those various elements.

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~ Psalm 73:25-26


Works in progress

The Skyriders Trilogy (outlining)

What Waits in Shadow (fantasy short story--editing)
The Stranger's Gift (fantasy short story--editing)
The Crystal Orb (fantasy short story--writing)
And too many half-started ideas to count


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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:24 am 
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I think that while worldbuilding is good, numbers like 100 times more in world building than used in the story is likely overexaggerating its benefits. I both worldbuild by just sitting down and do it, and do it while outlining and writing some of my different books. I also think that immense worldbuilding, while good, also creates its own problems since then when you're writing a book, you need to balance out how to explain the unique elements of the world without having long paragraphs of explanation.

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:27 pm 
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I don't go too deep, unfortunately. I've divided most of my world into countries, and I have a map. And I enjoy investigating characters and coming up with new forests and landmarks and such and naming them. But as for history, culture, wars, customs, and stuff, I'm not too good at. I should really learn more about those aspects of worldbuilding and do it more.


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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:49 am 
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The more you know, the deeper you can go.

As I go through the various parts of worldbuilding, I find it fun and enlightening, since I'm learning about things I never considered before. And one thing I always keep in mind is how whatever I'm working on, be it culture, geography, history, etc., ties into or can affect the plot of my books. At least I always try to do that. :)

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Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:25-26


Works in progress

The Skyriders Trilogy (outlining)

What Waits in Shadow (fantasy short story--editing)
The Stranger's Gift (fantasy short story--editing)
The Crystal Orb (fantasy short story--writing)
And too many half-started ideas to count


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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:20 pm 
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In my case, I would say it is more "Story-building" than world-building. World-building, I've got a lot of it down.

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:55 am 
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As I have worked on my story, I have found that world building is SO important. It really adds depth to my story, even if I don't go into a lot of it in the actual story. It also gives me an idea of how to describe some of the scenery surrounding my characters and leaves room for my characters to make references to the history which defines their culture and way of living.
I have found, though, that most of my world building inspiration comes as I write the story. If I need to describe a landscape, I stop and build a perfect picture in my mind before continuing. If I need to explain a custom or a city or even a person in the story, I stop and work out their history. Sometimes I will be writing out something and it will hit me suddenly: "Oh! You know, it would be really cool if..." So, needless to say, I don't build my whole world before I start writing the story. I start with a couple of cities and important places, and then I go from there. The rest comes later.
I have also found that my sister (who I am trying to talk into joining HW) is invaluable when it comes to my world building. She has helped me come up with possibly half of the history and at least half of the land. Anytime I am stuck on something that needs a little building up on it, I ask her. She's brilliant when it comes to stuff like that.

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:59 pm 
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StormCry wrote:
I have found, though, that most of my world building inspiration comes as I write the story. If I need to describe a landscape, I stop and build a perfect picture in my mind before continuing. If I need to explain a custom or a city or even a person in the story, I stop and work out their history. Sometimes I will be writing out something and it will hit me suddenly: "Oh! You know, it would be really cool if..." So, needless to say, I don't build my whole world before I start writing the story. I start with a couple of cities and important places, and then I go from there. The rest comes later.
That's how my worldbuilding usually goes, too. The only time I actively worldbuild in a way that is not related to a story I'm working on is when I get so excited about some idea that I have work it out. * grins *


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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:06 am 
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To answer the original question - how deep do you go into your worldbuilding - I'd say it varies. My primary aim is to create the feeling of a full, complete, living-and-breathing world, but obviously I can never actually complete a world. Instead, I try to create an illusion of complexity. I work out the general outlines of what my countries, cultures, etc. are like, but then I try to attach small, specific details to them, details that evoke the feeling that there's more to it.

Of course, in just a few areas, I still do actually go super in-depth. :) I only have the basic outline of the history of Thomorai, a continent in my world, for instance, but I know a certain modern Thomoraii video game company intimately: its background, all the games it produced, its end, its employees and all their personalities and backgrounds and futures, its reputation, where its offices were, what its logo was...I'm a worldbuilder at heart, so none of this has relevance to any of the stories I've written. But the point is that if you can get the general outlines of your world and then add a few evocative details and have a few areas really fleshed-out, I think you can make it seem quite complex and layered. Also, if you add a bunch of those little evocative details, they tend to pile up and become detailed, fleshed-out areas of their own. :)

To answer the question that a lot of the posters above me seem to be answering - how deep do you go in your worldbuilding before writing, and as you're writing - I am, again, a worldbuilder at heart, and so I tend to have a lot worked out before I write...but I also tend to do things like you guys said:
Mistress Rwebhu Kidh wrote:
StormCry wrote:
I have found, though, that most of my world building inspiration comes as I write the story. If I need to describe a landscape, I stop and build a perfect picture in my mind before continuing. If I need to explain a custom or a city or even a person in the story, I stop and work out their history. Sometimes I will be writing out something and it will hit me suddenly: "Oh! You know, it would be really cool if..." So, needless to say, I don't build my whole world before I start writing the story. I start with a couple of cities and important places, and then I go from there. The rest comes later.
That's how my worldbuilding usually goes, too. The only time I actively worldbuild in a way that is not related to a story I'm working on is when I get so excited about some idea that I have work it out. * grins *

I often come up with great ideas while I'm writing, and I also often come across holes in my world as I write...so I make stuff up as I go! :)

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:33 am 
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Yeah....

I absolutely *adore* world-building. In fact, that's kind of where I'm stuck now. It helps me to plan it all out so I have a background for the story - something to build off from so the story is more than just bits of action and meaningless dialogue. With a complex world, there is culture to bring it, and superstitions to explore, and mythology to share, and traditions to incorporate....

Of course, I also love researching and living outside of my reality, so that might also be a cause...

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:00 am 
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Charlotte Jane wrote:
Of course, I also love researching and living outside of my reality, so that might also be a cause...
Yeah. I think I'd love worldbuilding even if I never wrote any stories. :D


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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:14 am 
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Mistress Rwebhu Kidh wrote:
Charlotte Jane wrote:
Of course, I also love researching and living outside of my reality, so that might also be a cause...
Yeah. I think I'd love worldbuilding even if I never wrote any stories. :D



*grins*

Ah...Someone else who sees my point....

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:05 pm 
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Charlotte Jane wrote:
Mistress Rwebhu Kidh wrote:
Charlotte Jane wrote:
Of course, I also love researching and living outside of my reality, so that might also be a cause...
Yeah. I think I'd love worldbuilding even if I never wrote any stories. :D



*grins*

Ah...Someone else who sees my point....

Thirded :) As I said in my introduction topic, I can go for a long time without writing stories, but I can't keep myself from worldbuilding!

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 Post subject: Re: How Much Do You Know?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:04 pm 
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sheesania wrote:
Charlotte Jane wrote:
*grins*

Ah...Someone else who sees my point....

Thirded :) As I said in my introduction topic, I can go for a long time without writing stories, but I can't keep myself from worldbuilding!

And fourthed. :) I have one world, Rodal, that's there precisely for world-building, not for a story backdrop. There will be stories set in it, but that's not why it's there. Even when I have a world designed as the setting for a specific story, I end up knowing much more about it than I'd need for the story.

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