Friday, April 22, 2011

Levels of World Building

TLC’s Extreme Couponing is fascinating show to watch. To think it’s possible to spend next to nothing with coupons has converted me to start to shop with them. The show highlights the extreme end of couponing, but there are people who use coupons on lower scales. They create a plan based on their need and the money they can afford to spend. Then I thought about the amount of couponing and world building.

Writers are no different from couponers. We create a world based on our desire and the story we want to write. Just like couponing, there are three levels writers can be placed in. For example: J.R.R. Tolkien is an extreme world builder, J.K. Rowling ranged in the middle and Stephanie Meyer is a low level builder. The sub-genre we are writing plays a big part in how much we are creating. A high fantasy novel will have more world building than a paranormal novel set in our world.

Even our reactions are the same. We may questioned the sanity of some writers who pour their entire life into a creating a world. But praise another writer who finds the right balance. Look down on writers who barely work on creating a world. Personally, I cannot take anything from Tolkien. A part of him is in the world he created; just like Rowling and Meyer. It pains me to write about Meyer in this post as my strong dislike for her novel. Ok, it's more like borderline hatred but she did create an interesting world. Rowling created the right balance for a magical world and only shared what the readers needed to know.

I'm building a world from the ground up. The map outline for my world is done and I just need to fill in the details. I will be somewhere in the middle to extreme area of world building. My question to you is: what level of world building are you on?

10 comments:

Margaret Fieland said...

Middle of the road -- I've worked out many details of the society's culture, history, literature, etc .. haven't done any maps, have described only one major city, only the geographic area around it .. blah, blah .. filled in only as many blanks as I needed. Fun stuff, though. I'm more interested in the society and culture than anything else .. so that's doubtless more filled in.

thepencilneck said...

In the past, I have been an extreme worldbuilder. I would build worlds to have them give me the ideas for stories. Because when you build a world, there is an almost infinite number of stories there.

And when I say extreme, I mean I created languages and cultures and charted each one from when they developed agriculture through the heights of their civilization. And how different cultures developed different technologies and then they diffused through their surround cultures.

But after taking one of Holly Lisle's courses (she's an extreme worldbuilder, btw), I was convinced to stop being so extreme. To build only what you need when you need it.

I still think being extreme is a good way to generate story ideas, though. :)

Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

Well, when I was a few years younger and had all the time in the world...it was inevitable that my first attempt at worldbuilding would be pretty extreme. Very much like thepencilneck--maps, Photoshoped images blended to create concept art, even songs! I love to exercise my creativity, so at first I was trying everything.

But then you realize you have to actually get to writing (and finishing) the novel in the first place...and you learn to prune and chop and find that proper amount of balance in order to get to the heart of your story and tell it faithfully. I guess that still makes me an extreme worldbuilder, though, heh.

(Funnily enough, I have also been heavily influenced by Holly Lisle. :))

Shelley Munro said...

For me it depends on the book. The one I've just finished is heavier on the worldbuilding while my Middlemarch series is on the low end because I use the modern world and they try hard to fit in to avoid detection.

The coupon world interests me. I hear people talking about them, but we don't really have coupons down here in New Zealand.

Stacie Carver said...

The show Extreme Couponing is totally foreign to me. I think it must be an American thing. I don't think the amount of worldbuilding I do in my writing is anywhere near extreme, it actually may need more.

Marilyn Muñiz said...

@Margaret I'm more interested in the society and culture than anything else. I'm very surprised I finished the map at all.

Marilyn Muñiz said...

@thepencilneck Wow! I don't have the patience to create a language. I haven't taken any of Holly Lisle's courses yet. It's on my list through!

Marilyn Muñiz said...

@Tiyana I wish I knew how to use Photoshop but then again maybe it is a good thing I don't know how. One thing less to distract me from writing.

Marilyn Muñiz said...

@Shelley @Stacie The couponing craze seems to be in the US. I am a part of the craze.

Melanie said...

I's somewhere in the middle I think, depending on the world. I have a collaged map for my first world. It was created as part of playing Dungeons and Dragons as a background for the character I was creating. Most of what I create is to avoid the extremes like creating languages and new cultures. My current novel is world building light since I'm tweaking an historical setting and another story world is very light, set in the present and my neighborhood, kinda.

By the way... love getting to know so many people from classes. Also, just got mail from Holly and like what she's doing with the new workshop.
m

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