Wednesday Chatter (and whatnot)

Good morning to the fine Flamefolk out there.

Not long ago, Bardi asked you guys if you’ve created a place of your own within your writing. I’d like to know how you feel about world-building in general, as a writer or a reader?

I know that not all of our writers are science-fiction or fantasy writers, which are the genres one might immediately associate with the idea of world-building, but I believe world-building is something we see in novels across genres. It is not just space ships, alien landscapes, and shires, world-building can be any limiting setting that is as integral to the story as your characters.

Those corset-busting Harlequin romances set their breathless little vamps in 15th century Scotland or 18th century France – even if it’s an era passed with accurate historical markers, it is still a world the author built in order to control the characters and events by the rules or mores of the day. In my tweener years, I read several books in a series called “Sweet Valley High” – the “world” in that case was a modern, middling town and the high-school all the town kids attended. In Veronica Mars the world was Neptune Beach California. Is the real Neptune Beach anything like the corrupt and seedy place in the TV show? Maybe, maybe not, but if it weren’t for that seedy side the protagonist might have grown up to be an accountant instead of a P.I. and then there would be no interesting story to tell.

When it comes to worlds within the pages of a book, I am an advocate, as long as it is done well and correctly. Tolkien is labeled as the first author to create a complete world in his novels – with maps and languages and lore – and I do love what he did. (For me finding a map inside the cover of a book is the promise of a true adventure.) But this is not the only option when building a world, and not every reader has the patience for it. I would argue that Tolkien was the first to create an elaborate world of that kind. You cannot deny that the dingy, orphan-hating London of David Copperfield or the stormy Moors of Wuthering Heights were any less encompassing of their stories and players for lack of orcs and Rivendell.

So let me bring this back around to the point. (I’m a bit scrambled today, I apologize.) In longer works of fiction, to what level do you flesh out your worlds? Do you paint them as you go with a roll of the dice here and a “I need more tension” over there? Or do you build it first and then unleash your characters on the world? What’s your ratio of world known by the author to world revealed to the reader? As a reader, do you prefer minimalist worlds or elaborately constructed ones?

Talk to me.


And now for our reminders –
February Series of Tiny Tales 1 of 4 is available to read and vote on. Please go show your support and appreciation for your fellow Flames. Deadline on voting is tomorrow night.

February Series of Tiny Tales 2 of 4 is awaiting your submission(s). If you or someone you love is a writer, please pass on the link and join the fun. It’s good for you.

Our darlin’ Kathy lioness has updated the dialog workshop with some new exercises, don’t miss out.

I have set-up a little nook for you guys to interact over your 100 words. It’s not a formal workshop with assignments and such, but it is there for you if you need some flamecrunching.

#gowrite #flamechatters #brigitsflame #govoteflames

 

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About t.s.wright

Writer, reader, casual photographer, nature-lover, dog mom. I grew up in a tree, inside a book, whispering possible futures into discarded seed pods that curled up and exploded each summer. One day, they cut down my tree and I was forced to go to school while waiting for the replacement trees to grow strong enough to hold me. But while we waited, I grew too heavy and awkward to climb, so I had to get a job. I spent my days surrounded by flimsy walls covered in carpet that made boxes and people who forgot to look out windows. I worked really hard. Possibilities were replaced with formulas and exactitude. Eventually I forgot how to climb a tree...and how to smile. Then one day, a dog licked my foot excessively and I remembered smiling. That reminded me of more things that didn't cost money and couldn't be tallied in a spreadsheet - like hugs and love and being happy. So I found myself a Steve who reminded me what home was. Then we filled it and our hearts with dogs. Eventually we planted our own tree, together. Even though I'm happy right here, right now, I remembered that we all need possibilities to dream of, so I've started writing them down.
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3 Responses to Wednesday Chatter (and whatnot)

  1. As I reader, I can really sink my teeth into some intense world building. I’m very disappointed in myself for not keeping a reading record from the time I began to read novels… if I had, I would now have in my possession a list of all the wonderful books I encountered that included maps and family lineages. I LOVE ancestral maps!

    As a writer? Nah. For one, my stories are very nailed down in real time. I haven’t written any that have taken place outside the U.S., and I don’t really possess the patience or the imagination to do more that make an immediate scene vivid. I’m not bad with the scenery, but trust me, you won’t find me creating any languages or galaxies far far away.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I read the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist in my late teens to early twenties (it’s 20 books long, that’s not a range for the memory, but how long it took to get through). I loved tracing the lines from future great-grandparents in book 1 to their descendants in book 20. You get really involved, like you are one of the family. When I read book 1 of Game of Thrones I thought it would be the same because he seemed to be focused on the kids, but now that I’ve seen the TV series I realize he will never get to descendants because he is working too slow and he keeps killing everyone.

    It is possible to get too caught up in the world you are creating to finish writing the story, so maybe you are working far more effectively.

    Like

  3. Pingback: weekend wrap-up | Brigit's Flame

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