Tags: world-building: history


Creating a historical background of ideas for your world (part one)

This is one of the things I have the most trouble with in my own fantasy worlds, as I don’t want them connected to Earth most of the time but I do want to be able to understand how, say, a gender-equal society would have developed if feminism in my world didn’t happen like it did on Earth.

Call me anal-retentiveCollapse )

Next part will be on creating a tissue of ideas to interact and fuel societal attitudes—something I really enjoy both writing and reading about, though to get there takes both time and patience.

Moments of great social change

This consists of me saying, “Ooooh, shiny!” more than it does ranting. After all, I’ve talked about specific manifestations of social change before, as in the rants on revolutions and civil wars, and the things I find silly or unrealistic about the way that most fantasy authors portray them. So I’ll try to show what I think would be good ways of portraying them.

Instead of a storm, why not have a landslide?Collapse )

Getting nature more involved in a fantasy novel is up next.

Keeping static worlds plausible

The last of this particular set of rants that’s taken me…oh…only two months to write?

And another where I don’t particularly like the conceit I’m writing about. I favor worlds that move on, even if not quickly. But I did promise that I would give some consideration to it.

If you don’t want your world to change all that fast, here are some optionsCollapse )

Poll up in a short time.

Worldbuilding through layering

In case the title is confusing, I will say that this is a method of world-building which depends on little, tiny threads braided together at a time, or bricks of many different kinds piled on top of each other, or dozens of different kinds of food made into a meal (choose your favorite metaphor for writing). It does not rely on big honking tapestries and walls and meals that are just descriptions, or exposition, or history infodumps, or scenes of character introspection, or circular conversations. Some people can work like that. I can’t, and I also prefer to read books that don’t; while a book with big honking tapestries or walls or meals of [insert writing technique here] might have plenty of virtues, I consider the big chunks a neutral feature at best, not a recommendation. To add yet a fourth metaphor, I prefer books that are like Arabians rather than Clydesdales.

And now that I have thoroughly confused you, on to the rantCollapse )

A lot of this is tied up with plot, character, and setting, I notice. Well, done properly, a book will be that tapestry or brick wall or gourmet meal, not a bunch of loose ends or tumbled stones or sardines next to ice cream. And Arabian-like fantasies that move, touch on aspects of world-building, race away and circle back, light and swift, have always been my favorite kind.

On history.

And first, in case people are tired of serious poetry, here's some really bad poetry, the first three stanzas of "Ode to the Mammoth Cheese" by James McIntyre:

"We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese."

Keep in mind: There's always a better writer than you out there somewhere, but there is also always, always someone worse.

On history, its passing, and its recordingCollapse )

Just some ideas.