Friday, July 5, 2013

Does Anyone Hate Worldbuilding as Much as I Do?


As a Fantasy writer who inspects the circles of other Fantasy writers and listens to their conversations, sometimes I'm just dumbfounded. The act of looking at your story like a video game or Dungeons & Dragons is alien to me, although not unexpected. I'm being a little inflammatory for inflammatory's sake. Can't help myself, I love to rile people up.

In my experience, writers have three main to use in their story to appeal to readers. Characters, plot, and setting. World building is setting, just to clear any confusion. I have read a lot of message boards and sat through many conversations in my local writer's group, so I have boiled down the preferences to something simple. Writers excel at two of the three, and then ditch the third.

Any combination works as well. Some writers like plot and setting, but we see their characters lack any life. Some writers like characters and setting, but nothing entertaining ever happens. To be fair, there are writers who can juggle all three very well, but this is a generalization. A blanket statement as it were. Don't play rigid in this. In fact, don't be rigid. How insufferable.

I realized early on I'm a character and plot kind of writer. It's nothing overt, I simply think up of characters and what they do. The setting it background noise to me. Could care less. That is the exact reason my first fantasy novel uses a medieval-like setting for the world. People more or less have an understanding of what that time is supposed to be about. They've seen Lord of the Rings, they've watched Game of Thrones on HBO. It clicks.

Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to build a unique and living world. All it comes down to is I'm tired of wanting to have a discussion with my peers and listening the tedious conversation come back on repeat. Cool, you have an awesome world of politics, ninjas, hookers, vampires, and a chosen one's destiny. Fantastic, quality stuff. How about, for just a change of pace, we don't have to if you don't want to, talk about friend/family dynamics? Subverting some tropes? Misleading the audience with a fake main character?

Those would be neat to talk about and exchange ideas. It's fine though, let's go back to the minute nit-picking of other stories and how ours can't measure up. That will be a barrel of laughs...again.