30 Days of Worldbuilding

Discussion in 'Writing' started by hippokrene, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    I came across 30 Days of Worldbuilding a few days ago, and immediately thought 'That sounds like fun!' because I'm a geek.

    Not 14 days. Not 27 days. Not 143 days. 30 whole days of worldbuilding is scientifically proven to be the optimal amount of worldbuilding. There's even a PDF, so you know this guy is an authority on the matter.

    Scanning the list, a question I've often had returned: What is it with fantasy and map fetishism?

    I even recall Sara Douglas claimed that all you needed to do to write a fantasy story was to draw a map. She touches on it here. She apparently taught a course on writing fantasy where she had everyone start by drawing a landscape on a piece of paper.

    Then again, she also states: "Neither magic nor adventuring quests can be believably set in a modern, logical and scientific world."

    Which earns a giant WTH from me.
     
  2. HellsGuardian

    HellsGuardian Locked in the Golden Cage

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    I'll have a look at it, might learn something.
     
  3. DailyRich

    DailyRich Damn fool idealist

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    That PDF is a formatting nightmare. It's literally a wall of words. Some space between sections would be nice.
     
  4. Wojciehowicz

    Wojciehowicz Bewildered Visitor

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    Obviously, they have mistaken the default behavior of old typewriters for being how MS Word should be set.
     
  5. choppy

    choppy The Great Flying Bear

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    The National Novel Writing Month fantasy and SF folks usually begin this exercise in October. They take Halloween off, since they can begin writing at midnight.
     
  6. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    Serious fantasy world-builders don't use white space, headers, or paragraphs. :cool:
     
  7. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Oy. The map thing is actually possible. A landscape -- including a modern landscape -- can be a jumping off point. But then anything can be. And the modern, logical and scientific world is pre-industrial snobbism.
     
  8. EMMAXIS

    EMMAXIS Registered User

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    I have no problem with maps, but why is every world a peninsula!?! IT'S ALWAYS a peninsula! Why not a landlocked continent? Or a big island like Australia? Or, you know, a giant never ending plain that creates itself as soon as you reach the edge of it . . .
     
  9. Wojciehowicz

    Wojciehowicz Bewildered Visitor

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    I'm not sure what you mean. I can't remember many peninsulas. Lord of the Rings was on a big-arse continent. My own writings are rarely anywhere near water. Have you read many?
     
  10. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

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    No it isn't, but when it is I suspect it's often because of the following thought progression:

    peninsula -> sea -> ships -> pirates -> Piratz is teh kewl!

    That and it makes drawing the map more fun. :D
     
  11. Sarunus

    Sarunus Registered User

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    I've done some worldbuilding, and I find that getting a map going first has really helped me develop my story. I've always loved maps and been fascinated by how places can affect our circumstances and even our choices.

    Though, I've spent far more than 30 days on building my world...
     
  12. TheIELighten

    TheIELighten Magical Ninja

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    I must be in the minority but I never draw maps. I don't know how, cannot draw, and seriously have no interest in them. I don't even look at the maps in the books I read. I'm glad they exist though since a lot of people seem to enjoy them. :)
     
  13. EMMAXIS

    EMMAXIS Registered User

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    I am looking at my copy of LOTR now. The map on the inside sure looks like a peninsula to me (it's surrounded on 3 sides by water). And if it's a continent, it's a pretty damn small one; how many cities does it have?
     
  14. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    I started the 30 days... program and found it boring. I feel bad linking something so unfun. I don't get it; I like worldbuilding but when I try worldbuilding programs, I hate it.

    Here's another, well-known one: Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions.

    Or maybe you want something more sciencey? On Creating an Earthlike Planet. It has such useful suggestions as:

    He also gives tips on how to calculate the distance of a life-bearing world for suns of different spectral classes. I.e.: If I have a red dwarf, how far away can my world be if I don't want it an ice ball or a burning, hellish wasteland? And how long will a year be orbiting at that distance?
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  15. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

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    The first 2 definitions for "Peninsula", according to Dictionary.com:
    • an area of land almost completely surrounded by water except for an isthmus connecting it with the mainland.
    • a narrow strip of land projecting into a sea or lake from the mainland

    Ok, so there is a third, middle one in there. But it defines what people might mean when they say "THE Peninsula" and does not pertain to peninsulas in general.

    EMMAXIS, if we go with how you are viewing peninsulas, then any land mass could be called a peninsula, really. North America is a peninsula of South America and vice versa. Africa is a peninsula of the Eurasian land mass via the strip of land that has now been cut through by the Suez Canal for over a century. I could go on, but I won't.

    As for how many cities does a continent have to have before it can no longer be considered a peninsula? Well, peninsulas are land formations. They have absolutely nothing to do with cities as cities (and settlements of any kind) are a human, societal thing. They are not related in the way you seem to be trying to connect them by. I take a peninsula as a small jut of land into an area of water that surrounds the land on 3 sides. But if it has multiple nations on it, each of which may take days to cross from one border to another (any border) then that is not a peninsula.

    As for world building, I love it. Maps are a must. They help bring my worlds to life as I can then actually see where I'm putting my characters, geographically speaking. I looked the initial worldbuilding link from Hippokrene, it was a bit interesting. Not as all thought consuming as I had expected. But, eh. The climate exercise got me thinking about one of my stories. Not as much for the weather patterns featured in the one story I tried it with but, more for the emotions I wanted to evoke with the tale. I knew them, but it made me think of them again and I had to consider whether I was truly evoking them like I wanted to or not.
     
  16. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

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    Oh for heavens sake who cares? Does this stuff really matter to anyone? I want to read an interesting story about interesting things that happen to interesting people, not an astrophysics textbook!
     
  17. James Barclay

    James Barclay Moderator

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    PeteMC - I hear you... while it is important that your world works, there is a level of detail that will send readers to sleep. And that is why only the author needs to know it and must not feel compelled to include it in their novel to display how clever they are.

    On the wider subject, this guide is a useful jumping off point, I think but please don't feel constrained by it. For your world to work you simply may not need to know all this stuff, not up front anyway.

    My advice for what it is worth is to develop your world up to the point where you feel comfortable to begin drafting and then begin drafting. When you come upon something you have to know (like the distance between the toes on a giant or whatever) then go ahead and find out before you carry on.

    I've said it before; world-building can be the best excuse ever to avoid actually writing a novel.
     
  18. DailyRich

    DailyRich Damn fool idealist

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    If it helps the writer better visualize their world and tell a better story, I have no problem with them doing this kind of homework. If huge chunks of that homework end up in the book as long info dumps in place of the story, then there's a problem. Sadly, too many authors do the latter because they think fantasy/SF novels should read like RPG sourcebooks rather than literature.
     
  19. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    Translation: Some writers do something I don't! It is bad!
     
  20. Sarunus

    Sarunus Registered User

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    I agree with this. I've researched many angles for my WIP universe and I've learned a more about science than I ever thought an Arts and Social Sciences guy would ever want to know. While I won't include it in the story per se, it will help inform the circumstances and setting in which my characters exist and operate. I think a committed approach to getting things right will come through in the writing even if it is not directly referenced.

    I agree. I built the basic premises of my story without having all of the knowledge I do now. I find that as I get more detailed in my plot, I've gotten more detail-oriented in my research.

    I think that's a very true statement. I built a very elaborate world over two years before I really sat down and got to writing real literature about it. The upside is that I have endless source material for writing as the level of detail I've incorporated into my world has sparked ideas for side stories, short stories, and background stories. It's truly a two-edged sword.