World Building

I created a world a long time ago when I was a heavy Dungeons & Dragons player. Yeah, I have geek cred, yo. When I closed my Dungeon Master screen for the last time and hung my dice bag up, I decided to write a little in the world I created. In the midst of my stupidty, I attempted to get one of them published in a contest for new aspiring writers in one of the big fantasy companies at the time. This was the age of snail mail yet the reject letter seemed to travel at the speed of light.


The old land map of Arakani, made using Campaign Cartographer.

Flash forward several years.

I’ve said this before. I belong to a writing group known as Scribophile. I decided, without much editing beyond the clean up I attempted after the rejection, to post two of the opening chapters. Boy were they more ginormous than my butt (hey, it’s possible). I got a few critiques. Sweet! Pouring over them, I scoffed at first at the suggestions and forget about the work all together. I was knee-deep in edits and writing smut after all.

So I decide about a month ago to open it back up. It has a few crits to go before being locked and I don’t want to waste them on the same thing. Plus, I haven’t invested in a premium membership to post other works because I haven’t the need. I wanted to clean up what I have posted first.

Again I looked at the crits and realized they held water. The paragraphs were monstrous not to mention the decriptions were out of control. Don’t get me started on the passive sentences.

It was worthy of the rejection it received.

Being an epic fantasy, it gives me choices. Such as multiple PoVs. So, the first thing I started with was to cut out the crap and long scenes. If it’s boring me to tears, it’s going to lull the reader into a coma. I also noticed the combat goes for a long time. Not just one fight but a string of them all at once. I have to break that up. What better way to do it then to break the first chapter into several and switch PoVs to what’s going on while the main character is battling. The elements are already there.

On came the second problem. I had no idea what I was talking about in some of the places. Most of what the world encompasses is buried in the many boxes from me moving and not unpacking. The website I created is incomplete and doesn’t have the information I needed either. Anything stored in the brain has leaked out during the night like drool.

What the hell had I done to myself?

So I’ve decided, while I can continue with cleaning the first two chapters, I’m going to have to organize my notes. This novel isn’t the only one I have planned for my world. I got to keep my facts straight. Not just for me but the reader.

By far your reader is going to be the unforgiving force that straightens your act out. So build that world but keep a tight rein on your notes. Organize the puppies in a way that you can go through them. If you can build a website to do it (as in write html code), all the better. It doesn’t have to be on the World Wide Web for you to use it. I find it so much better than leafing through a leaning tower of notebooks.

Whatever it takes, I’m getting this straight….someday. Meanwhile, I got more smut to write. 😉

What about you? Have you created a world for character to frolick in?


2 responses

  1. While going through some old papers from my childhood, I came across some stories I wrote in middle school. One was a pretty blatant rip-off of Madeleine L’Engle’s Many Waters, set in that universe. I remember reading it to my classmates during English class, and they were confused and bored as hell; completely understandable when some weird girl’s reading you a 15-page story about nephilim, angels, and shape-shifters.

    I also came across a map I drew around the same time, for a world that was a pretty blatant rip-off of Narnia. No stories set there survive, which is probably for the best.

    Now I’m working on a series of connected short stories that are set in our world but with soul-devouring demons. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to set everything in a magical-realism-version of our world, rather than make up my own. Maybe somewhere down the line I’ll create my own world, but right now I’m having fun screwing with details of our own world.

    • I love urban fantasy so I see nothing wrong with using the existing world and weave in magical elements. No one can really say you’re ‘stealing’ someone’s concept on that one. 😉

      In fact, I think that’s why I liked Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. Real world with mythical creatures in it. I think it’s also a way for the readers to connect too. Sometimes, in a completely epic fantasy world, too much can get thrown in and you could lose the reader. I cringe at any book that has a glossary that’s at least a quarter of the book. Just…no.

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