Monday, September 25, 2006


Everything I know about world-building I learned from DVD special features. It's true. This whole desire to create a world got thrust on me suddenly, and I often found myself wondering just what the right way is to go about creating a world. I'm sure my ignorance has worked in my favor in some cases, but at the same time I needed a reference to see how other people do it. And with me being out of work and with this bum leg of mine, I had lots of time to kill. Most of that was filled with me trying to figure out this writing thing, but I also got a lot of movies on DVD in order to check out some other stories in this genre in a bit more time efficient way than reading (though I did that too).

But what I found was that even better than actually watching these films was watching the special features or commentaries on how they went about creating the worlds and visions. One that springs to mind is a documentary I watched on The Dark Crystal. They talked about how the starting point of the story was the created world, and went into depth about how they strove to make everything in that world work and be believable. From there, the story arose. That struck a chord with me.

My own writing felt like that. Even though things started with a single character drawn on my leg cast, the world soon took on a life of its own. I found that it would generate stories seemingly on its own. It's nice to know there are other people out there who've had the same experience.

But probably the biggest thing I've learned is that you don't necessarily have to know everything right away. You have to keep things plausible and believable, but you can't be afraid to let things show up in the world and be there without an immediate explanation. I think it helps the world seem bigger and more realistic. Of course I have found that is easier to do in a movie than it in writing.

For those of you wondering how Starfire is coming along, I'm making very good progress. I'm almost halfway through with the first draft. (I think. I'm not entirely sure if any new surprises will pop up between now and the end.) Another few months and I should have the first draft done. Of course, then there will be rewrites. Some days it seems like I'll never be finished and wonder if this will all be a grand waste of time. Still, I do believe there are plenty of people out there who will enjoy Sauria and its stories just as much as I have enjoyed creating them.


Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
S-man, we're all waiting anxiously to delve in to that world of yours. I hear these snippets at the Java Joint, and I am excited to see Sauria in all its glory. You keep pluggin' along. We're rooting for you.
Posted by Anonymous Pastor Hank : 9:47 AM
S-man, it was great to meet you at the writing conference. I'm sure that you, like most of us, have come home full of ideas and ready to hit the keyboard. On the subject of world-building: in real life, I'm not a believer in evolution, but it does seem to work that way in my story world. I don't feel like a creator who is completely in control. The story world evolves in strange ways while I helplessly look on sometimes. It's that not-being-in-control part that makes it all a little bit scary, but definately an adventure. Keep writing!
Posted by Blogger Janet Rubin : 7:34 AM
I do not understand this world creation, and I've never read a science fiction novel in my life, but if--WHEN--your book is published, Ted, I will certainly read it. You have piqued my interest.
Posted by Anonymous elizabeth monty : 7:46 AM
Science fiction rocks. Write on, S-Man! Can't wait to see you on the shelves.
Posted by Anonymous burt laroy : 7:47 AM
I have read Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein for years, and they've always fascinated me with their stories. Like the rest have said, I'm looking forward to Starfire being published.
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 7:48 AM
I'm going to start reading more sci-fi because of an 8 year old male sci-fi reader. He sets up his green army men, Lego starships, Star Wars creatures, and dinosaurs for infinite number of battles on the game table. When Starfire is ready, let me know. There is an 8 year old reader waiting.
Posted by Blogger Domino : 8:13 AM
I loved the DVD extras on the Lord of the Ring Trilogy. So much insight into how they built worlds. You should check them out if you haven't already.
Posted by Blogger Cara Putman : 8:40 AM
S-man, it’s great to hear from a fellow writer, though I don’t write fantasy. World building sounds interesting. I look forward to your book.
Posted by Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant : 5:36 PM
World-building is fascinating in scifi and fantasy, but it's also fun in the other genres as well. As an author of historicals, I often have to research the world in which my characters lived because it no longer exists. So, it's a lot like starting from scratch...only I end up pulling from research as well as my imagination.

Fortunately for you, S-Man, you can have unexplained aspects and make up things then create the plausible explanation, real or not. For historicals, I've got readers who will tar and feather me if I don't get it right.

Keep up that writing! Starfire will be a big hit when it's published.
Posted by Blogger Tiff/Amber Miller : 3:49 PM
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