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How To Build A Fleshy, Unique World

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding How To Build A Fleshy, Unique World

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  • #50727
    Grace
    @h-jones

    Okay. So. I have a question on World-Building. (If you clicked this thinking that you’d be getting a lesson on how to build an amazing world, sorry to disappoint. xD)

    HOW?

    Okay so I kind of get how… I’ve tried world-building on several occasions (here is an example), and always try to be as detailed and thorough as possible, kind of attempting a Lord of the Rings-esque feel (not necessarily in the physical aspects of the world, but regarding depth, I always go for Lord of the Rings level, or at least try to). They still kind of seem shallow, though. Or like, I copied to much from other books or whatnot.

    How do you make a world really come alive, I guess it what I’m trying to ask? Does it simply require a lot of time and effort?

    Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.

    #50769
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @h-jones Hey!

    First thing, I think you pasted the doc url, not the special sharing link. It says I need to request access.

    Second, well…I admit, I’m not the best worldbuilder, but I think my world feels pretty real.

    Several splattered thoughts:

    1. Sanderson’s third law. It’s a law for developing magic systems, but as he says himself it applies equally as well to all of writing…and it’s so powerful. I can definitely tell he uses this law in outlining his stories.
    2. @kate has a cool theory about treating cultures like people. It involves economic and all sorts of technical brain-buster thingamajigs.
    3. In line with the above, the ability to world build well is often directly tied to your ability to create brilliant characters.
    4. Tolkien was a philosopher. I believe this fact is underrated. We treat him like the greatest fantasy author ever. Well, he was pretty good, but writing wise he has superiors. His genius was in his philosophy. Almost everything in Middle Earth is the way it is for a purpose. The Elves for instance. Ugh. I just want to claw off my face when people write rip-offs of his elves. They aren’t elves! Tolkien’s elves don’t have beauty, magic, wisdom, etc just because. These all stem from their role as preservers within Middle Earth, which in turn has significant philosophical implications (which are slightly over my head). Moral of the story: to be a Tolkien, you have to be a philosopher.

    😀
    👕👍
    👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

    #50791

    @h-jones yeah, what @daeus-lamb said. The meaning behind things is the most important.

    And… I’m just gonna share a graphic I made. 😛

    culture graphic

    INFP-A. If you can't be brilliant, odd will do.

    #50792
    Grace
    @h-jones

    @daeus-lamb Oh, pfft, whoops. xD Here’s the shareable link.

    Those are all awesome thoughts. Thanks! I had no idea that Tolkien was a philosopher, though I suppose I should have assumed given what I know about him. xD

    Very interesting. Hmm.

     

     

    In other matters… to fix a typo from my original post: I copied *too much from other books

    Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.

    #50793
    Grace
    @h-jones

    @kate Thank you! That’s great!

    Edit: Holy cow, I said that even before I read it, and now that I’ve read it I’m even more grateful. xD That. Is. So. Cool. Definitely a helpful tool!

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Grace.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Grace.

    Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.

    #50799

    @h-jones lol, yay! *high fives* Glad it was helpful. 😉


    @daeus-lamb
    I have to say, I’m in love with your technical terminology…

    INFP-A. If you can't be brilliant, odd will do.

    #50800
    E. Grace
    @emgc

    @h-jones

    Ooh, this is a subject I’ve really been meaning to look into more! So, thanks for beating me to it. 😊


    @kate
    I just read your tips.  Those are so helpful! World-building has always been something I’ve struggled with…

    "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C. S. Lewis

    #50823
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    @h-jones

    Oh boy… A fun topic to be sure, but one that I didn’t know the meaning of until this year.

    So, to be brief, I worked on a novel for several years until I realized it needed major rewriting, and I am working on that still. A major project of the rewriting has been to do a ton of worldbuilding. These are my thoughts on it.

    My books are Tolkien-ish as well, I try to go for that deep solid feel. However, Middle Earth is insanely deep and developed, so well developed that my Tolkien friend (AKA girl who knows more about Tolkien and Middle Earth than anyone I’ve ever met before and is constantly correcting my Elvish pronunciation) and I have said that to make the movies of LOTR, they practically had to treat it like historical fiction.

    So, without saying, it is the work of years to get anywhere close to Tolkien’s level.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I’m pessimistic about following in his style. Over the course of this year, I have been exploring rabbit trails, speaking out loud to myself for an hour at a time creating the lore of the history of my book. It’s been very rewarding, I have to say. Several things I would recommend doing to help develop your world…

    First of all, I didn’t read through the document you put up, I just skimmed it. I would say that you’re doing a good job with cataloguing, listing important details. I’m not good with that one… I’ve actually gone about worldbuilding by coming up with the story before the world. So, it basically started with me needing a different name for the Trinity in my book. So, I researched names and then decided to add angles and demons and so on that would help present the spiritual conflict in a more vivid way. Then the history of the creation of my world, how civilizations moved across the lands, etc.

    One thing that helped was with creating a Trello board to keep things straight, I am still adding to it. It helped me to list genealogies, ages, the whole nine yards. So, basically just starting with the skeleton of the story (produced from an exhausting hour of talking to myself) and then moving on by filling in the details and names as I moved on. As I developed the story, culture ideas have been coming to help get things more distinct and all that.

    One thing that helped me, was when my Tolkien friend gave me a writing prompt (which we had to smuggle across our church parking lot because it was a rather odd looking thing) and I had to figure out where it belonged. It took some brain power, but eventually, I got it plugged into the story, and it caused a domino effect of details to come clear. If you have a picture or idea to pursue, it definitely helps when it causes those breakthroughs.

    Anyway, I hope something in here is helpful. I’m moving along with learning how to do this as well, but I’ve learned a lot over the past year.

    Keep on with what you’re working with, I love your approach to it!!

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #50829
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @ericawordsmith So I’ve actually used Trello before for work… and you’re the second person I’ve heard say it really helps them for writing. Would you mind explaining how you use it that way? xD

    #50836
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    @evelyn

    I love it so much, it’s super helpful!!  What I do is have the main topic, such as worldbuilding. Then I have, say, a certain group of people, that would be the card stack, and then what I do is have each card have a title for something that is connected with that topic. Then clicking on the card, I can add a more detailed description and add pictures, etc. (I hope this isn’t horribly confusing) So it would go (random example):

    Board: Hobbits

    Stack: Baggins

    Card: Bilbo

    From there I would click on the card and write in all the information about Bilbo I wanted.

    I generally use it to figure out and catalogue detailed information that I would never remember clearly otherwise. It is insanely helpful because my brain is not organized in the least.

    Here’s a screenshot of a board that is a little used board, but it shows me using it to figure out a sticky spot. My worldbuilding board is the largest.

    I hope this makes sense in any way shape or form… 😉

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #50837
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    Never mind, I’m having trouble getting the screenshot up there… #ridiculouslybadattechnology

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #50846
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @ericawordsmith Thanks! That is helpful!

    #50863
    Grace
    @h-jones

    @kate *high-fives back* After doing a little world building today, it has already helped! I’m rather excited. ^^


    @emgc
    Aha, yay! We can learn together, then. 🙂


    @ericawordsmith
    Ah, thank you so much! So helpful! Also, my goodness… I just looked up Trello and that is amazing. :O But, what do you mean by having an idea or picture to pursue? Like, drawing ideas from things, or…? (Came from your eighth paragraph of your first post. xD)

    Side note: your Tolkien friend sounds awesome.

    Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.

    #50906
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    @evelyn

    I’m glad that it helps. 😉


    @h-jones
      I’m glad that the long rant was helpful… I tend to be a little long winded. 🙂

    Oops.. I should have made that more clear. So, for me it was a Gandalfian looking staff she had made out of a stick, very odd looking. For me I had to figure out where it belonged in the story, as in how exactly it would fit in with everything else. I had some ideas, she had some ideas, but I had to figure out exactly what it needed to make it fit seamlessly. It took some thinking, but eventually it just caused a chain reaction of ideas. So, sometimes what I do from time to time, when I have a weird dream that I wake up and think, “that is a cool story idea”, like one of my favorite romances for my third book came from a random dream I had one night last year, I take it and think about it long and hard and how it fits into my story. So for you, you could find a picture online, see something out and about, anything. Period. And then work it into the story if you feel it’s tugging at that writer thing in the back of your brain that is always looking for cool ideas. Names, objects, plants, anything. I hope that made sense… 🙂

    And yes, my Tolkien friend, Essa, is just plain awesome. We were at music camp in Florida together for two weeks, and we writer ranted all the time. What was utterly hilarious was when we went to the indoor water park and started pretending to be the characters from our books running around “sword fighting” dancing, having heated conversations, it was ridiculous. One of my other friends told me I looked “so cute, like you were in your own little world” and Essa was like, that’s more true than you know. XD

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #51083
    Grace
    @h-jones

    @ericawordsmith Ah, yes, that made wonderful sense! Aha! I love it! That’s a great idea, thank you. 🙂

    And oh. my. wordie. That literally sounds so fun xDDD Ah, good times! Must have been such a great experience. Writer friends are the bomb. xDD

    Secretly Hedgehog Jones. Don’t tell anyone.

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