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Friday, September 28, 2012

The End of the World

It's all in the details.

If you understand anything about world building, try to maintain that.

But it's a balance as well. Like anything with writing. A balance between what the reader Needs to Know and what is going to bore them to tears. Or at least make them Skim...which is worse.

You have to distill down to the essence, and build from there, fill in the extra bits as you go.

I find the whole process fascinating and frustrating. I get overwhelmed with the amount of research that a alternative history story takes. I mean really, I want to Make Up my world! But if I get any of the real history wrong it's going to be Bad. Badbadbad. BAD! I love learning about the history once I get into it... and really enjoy writing the little details that no one notices but me.

Ultimately how deep you go into the culture, how full you build your world is up to you. I truly believe that if you get lost in your world, your reader will as well.

Lost in a good way.

Not lost in a padded room and throw the key away, way. That's not so good...though it probably would make for some good writing.

12 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Doing alternative history, in a way, is harder than constructing your world from scratch. The Butterfly Effect kicks in with alternative history. A minor change of events would ripple through the years, creating a large difference between what would be with what is for the reader.

I write alternative historical fantasy which, like you, I find fascinating. I know how certain actions have affected America and the world but many of those effects are only hinted at, being not pertinent to what is going on at the moment.

Great post, Roland

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm walking that thin line between giving enough history and not dumping a lot of information to help the current 'end of the world' crisis in my current WIP. Great post.

Ink in the Book said...

Such a great week! I loved every post this week. They were all so helpful and gave me a lot to think about while writing my fantasy world.

Thanks for such WONDERFUL time!
Talynn

mshatch said...

I've actually written my own (brief) history for two of my books, mainly because I had to know what happened before! I wasn't easy - but it was fun :)

DEZMOND said...

I'm guessing it is very easy for a writer to get lost in his world when the imagination gives him wings....

Alicia C. said...

Exactly. It's hard to know, sometimes, what tiny detail to leave in...because you know it'll have great importance later (But...is it important now?) ARGH!

Thanks for reading!

Alicia C. said...

Thanks for joining in the conversation this week, Susan! I appreciate all the input/comments!

Alicia C. said...

Thanks! I'm glad I could help! World building is such a fascinating, HUGE, part of writing. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. We need all the support and help we can get!

Thanks for all your comments and support this week as well! Glad you enjoyed the posts.

Alicia C. said...

Which, when those two books get published, can get published as well. As Handbooks to ________! :) A guide to _________. Brilliant!

Alicia C. said...

Exactly. Sometimes it's hard not to follow the sparkly butterflies..and stay on track. If you know what I mean.

Wait. I'm supposed to be focused on what type of dwellings these people live in...but, then, how do they build them, oooo...bricks! Brick laying! Fireplaces! Whoa. Those are cool...And so on...

Lexa Cain said...

I skim so many books, but usually because there's too much introspection, not world-building. (Do I need to know the mc's opinion of everything?) But both can be very annoying. Sometimes I'm not even hooked enough to continue and just put the book down. Great post on an important topic!. :-)

Emmaline Pham said...

“It’s all in the details.” – I certainly agree with you on this. If you want to make your readers believe in an alternate world you’re creating, then you have to include details so they can successfully picture what kind of world that is. But yes, there still has to be balance, and you can achieve this by including elements in the real world, so people can find something they’re familiar with.

- Emmaline Pham