Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I don't enjoy world building.

I mean, I love fantasy. I think I have a feel for fantasy. But I know that part of what I love about "Lord of the Rings" is the completeness of its reality. It's as if Middle Earth actually exists. There is a palpable and pervading sense of nostalgia.

But when I try to write fantasy, I just want to tell a story with some interesting characters without all the effort it takes to construct a world around them. I think that's the main reason when I came back to writing that I started in the horror genre, and why the horror genre still attracts me. I can place the story in the real world. The only world building I need to do is the supernatural nature of whatever the threat is, and I can do that much. That much is fun and interesting.

Historical horror, the same way.

With thriller novels, the problem is the opposite. I don't like to have to research all the "realistic" details of a plot, the police procedures, the types of weapons, and on and on.

But I can force myself to do the work, but...I feel like thrillers require me to be an adult and I'm not sure I've ever been an adult.

Or I can just go off and merrily write "Gargoyle Dreams" and "I Live Among You," which are self-contained stories requiring no world building or research.

I could write these stores all day long.

Currently, I'm on a science fantasy book, which is usually not satisfying to either SF fans or Fantasy fans. Heh. The usual world building problems are coming up. In a way, the plot of a fantasy is contingent on the world, the religions, the geography, the customs, etc. My problem is that I plot my books, and then try to fit a world into it, instead of the other way around.

In my "Tales of the Thirteen Principalities", I've written two full novellas, one novella 2/3rd finished, and another 1/2 finished. In each story I've discovered more about the world I'm writing in. My goal is to write half a dozen of these novellas, and cross reference the different aspects of the world I discover in each story, which I can do as long as I don't publish. The stories are already probably more detailed than any other fantasy I've written, and it is because each story has brought out a little more of the world.

Anyway, I'm going ahead with my current little science fantasy and hoping it comes together. It's a little dangerous. I've got about 10 books set aside that I don't think made the grade, and this could be another one of those. But it is better to write everyday in my opinion than wait around for the killer idea or inspiration.

As I've mentioned before, whenever I'm confronted by a dilemma, I ask myself "What is the moral high ground?"

The answer here, I think, is that I probably need to challenge myself in my writing. As fun as "Gargoyle Dreams" and "I Live Among You" are to write, and as well as they come out (and I do think they are as good as anything else I've done) they aren't a challenge, and if I'm ever going to get better (and after this many books, that's a question) I need to push myself a little. At the same time, let myself write "fun" books every other time as palate cleansers so to speak.

I've held off writing my Trilogy. I have in mind an epic fantasy, when I'm ready. Everything else is in preparation for that. But I'll know going in that world building is absolutely crucial. I've learned that much about myself by writing.

1 comment:

Dave Cline said...

I've probably posted this before, but it's useful RE: world building: