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How much world building do you do for your stories (whether it's one short story or a planned series of stories) and how much do you make up as you go along?
Myself, I find that I have a problem with world building. I enjoy it a lot, but it hinders just as much as it helps (if not moreso). I try to stick to only world building with novel ideas and planned short story series, but I have done it for single short stories as well (example: I had an idea for a noir-ish style short story that involved aliens).
You've kind of simplified it I think. Are you talking about creating the dynamics and functions of a universe in which characters reside or do you just mean carving a setting? Not totally sure what one to comment on.
I mean, when you take our Fairfield stories, it's clear that we're creating some kind of fictional universe where - as much as it is grounded in reality - the surreal can take place, thus establishing that the world in which Fairfield is written actually experiences genuine paranormal events.
Whereas for some of the short pastas I've done, I may create a world in giving a couple of office workers a name and establishing that they work for, say, an insurance company between two offices in Ohio and Michigan but it doesn't go deeper than that and it generally conforms to the same rules as everyday life.
I find whenever I write a story that setting is always quite important and sometimes I get a little overly-descriptive. Take a look at 'The Old Line' for example, which really could have finished in like one or two paragraphs but I had to get detailed with it because I had to explain the ghost train, the fact that many people have witnessed it, roughly where it's located and what the old railway line looks like. You see? I had to gradually develop a world for a very shitty third person pasta.
In fact, fuck, there's a level of that in everything I've written so far. I mean, even things like the story of the old guy guarding the building at night; I needed names, I needed to establish how he felt about his job and then explain that there was a long corridor, that there were security cameras...not all of it falls into the intent of the story, only little bits. Thing is, though, I feel like I can't write the story without describing what the central character is actually seeing.
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i originally read everything in this thread as WORDbuilding, so when scotty came along with a huge ass post i wtf'd.
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:39 am Posts: 1603 Location: The hood
I don't really write, but the more "fantastical" the story gets, the more I love any amount of world building the author does. What I mean is, when the story is fairly based in real life, then obviously I don't need them to go into as much depth as to the world the story occurs in. Only as much history of the characters, etc as is needed to tell the story.
But if you are writing something more fantasy and sci-fi, then the more time you spend putting some thought into the world the better.
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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:08 pm Posts: 1355 Location: The Dark Corners of Space
I think we should all consult Klempky about this subject. He told us once about an entire alternate history he wrote about some steam-punk future with alien races all with their own theology that he went into and migration patterns and the like.
Fairfield features magical realism, in which the unreal and real reside so closely as to overlap on occasion. The Fairfield stories are generally focused on the occasions when these overlaps occur. It's similar to the universe in which all horror monsters are created, but it doesn't feature the same explanation/justification that the monsters usually get.
Or at least that's what I can gather from the Fairfield stories thus far.
And yeah, Klempky bogs himself down with worldcreating, he's made several I believe, definitely worth hearing from him on the subject.
Yeah, by world building, I mean the detailed background fluff that may or may not be used or even mentioned in the stories themselves. Not the same bit of detail added to a story itself to provide depth (names, surroundings, etc).
Like RP pointed, stuff like you would see in fantasy and sci-fi stories.
And holy shit, GO. I love that explanation of Fairfield.
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:33 am Posts: 384 Location: Appalacia
For longform stories I think at least a little bit of world-building is required. In the early days of my old webcomic I kept finding myself written into corners because months earlier I had thrown things in on a whim, until eventually I had to go through my whole script, do a shitton of retcons, and then lay down some ground rules.
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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:29 pm Posts: 1278 Location: Let's storm this battlefield one last time~!
Judge Anon wrote:
Woof, this is one of my pet peeves really. Writers and creators who get so wrapped up in creating epic storylines and gigantic universes full of minute details and societies and backstory and shit, but then they never get around to actually writing the damn thing and eventually fizzle out. I'd recommend you stop thinking about what's coming and worry about your characters. Try writing or coming up with some short, low-key tales about them living (or surviving) in the universe you created. All big things start small, and short stories will help you get a grip on your characters' personalities and behavior.
It's good advice--I should follow it.
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