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Thread: World Building Interview.

  1. #1

    World Building Interview.

    I am amazed by the questions I hear about world building sometimes. People take months developing an entire atlas. Then they sit down another month to make the standards of people, coin, culture. Then come the religions and other parts of any civilized world. It all has its own parts and structure. People live to build the stories of their own world, and then they stuff it into the story. They have no rhyme or reason; they info dump onto the page, and all you can do is wonder will this ever end in time for lunch: exaggeration. Yet, no one really wants to hear how many coppers are in a gold, and why white gold has a fraction of a copper more; it gets old and redundant quickly. So, here comes Patrick Rothfuss, Author of "King Killer Chronicles"- very good series so far by the way, and he sets out to give a few tips on the subject. Now these aren't a fix all, and by no means is this right for everyone, but I enjoyed his insight, and thought maybe some of you fellows and ladies would as well. So without further delay here is,

    Patrick Rothfuss Quotes on World Building | The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society

  2. #2
    Member luckyscars's Avatar
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    I am amazed at how the appetite among writers for building worlds eclipses the urge to understand the one we live in.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

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  3. #3
    Yeah I don't get how anybody can like a genre other than literary, either.
    "The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all. It was a saying about noble figures in old Irish poems—he would give his hawk to any man that asked for it, yet he loved his hawk better than men nowadays love their bride of tomorrow. He would mourn a dog with more grief than men nowadays mourn their fathers.

    And that's how we measure out our real respect for people—by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy.
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  4. #4
    People take months developing an entire atlas. Then they sit down another month to make the standards of people, coin, culture. Then come the religions and other parts of any civilized world. It all has its own parts and structure. People live to build the stories of their own world, and then they stuff it into the story.
    This is the most concise definition of the nanowrimo (fantasy) forums ever given.


    [...] they info dump onto the page, and all you can do is wonder will this ever end in time for lunch [...]

    And this is the most accurate description of all the excerpts people post on the nanowrimo forums.
    I have an extensive knowledge of Mean Girls quotes.

  5. #5
    WF Veteran Cadence's Avatar
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    World-builders are not storytellers, IMO. They become storytellers when they stop procrastinating over telling the story.
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    WF Veteran Lewdog's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the importance of world building really depend on how complex the novel is? Could you imagine writing a book like The Hunger Games without doing a detailed outline of the world first? It would take ten times longer to write the book because the author would be constantly having to go back and read things about the world they wrote earlier and make sure everything was congruent.

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    WF Veteran Cadence's Avatar
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    Could you imagine writing a book like The Hunger Games without doing a detailed outline of the world first? It would take ten times longer to write the book because the author would be constantly having to go back and read things about the world they wrote earlier and make sure everything was congruent.
    Really? The Hunger Game's world is shallow and the creative mind of the writer is more than capable of keeping track of a handful of important ideas.

    As I said, I'm strongly against the 'world-building' phase of writing - unless the writing is for more than a story, writing the story is world-building with the exception that you are actually writing the story.
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    WF Veteran Lewdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
    Really? The Hunger Game's world is shallow and the creative mind of the writer is more than capable of keeping track of a handful of important ideas.

    As I said, I'm strongly against the 'world-building' phase of writing - unless the writing is for more than a story, writing the story is world-building with the exception that you are actually writing the story.
    Shallow? The Hunger Games has several different districts all of which have different types of people that have different socioeconomic status and live different styles of life. There is a lot more depth to it than you think to keep track of, especially when you take into account it has sequels. Now when I say world building is important, I'm not just saying so that the reader can better understand the story, but it also makes the writer's task of creating the novel MUCH easier.

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    WF Veteran Cadence's Avatar
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    The Hunger Games has several different districts all of which have different types of people that have different socioeconomic status and live different styles of life. There is a lot more depth to it than you think to keep track of, especially when you take into account it has sequels.
    Wow, I'm enthralled by the awe-inspiring complexity of it all.

    There's more depth in the <100 pages that make up Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde than there are in the entire trilogy of the Hunger Games.

    I'm not just saying so that the reader can better understand the story, but it also makes the writer's task of creating the novel MUCH easier.
    I completely disagree with this. I also completely disagree with the concept of improving the 'ease' with which one writes while sacrificing progressing to actually writing the story. World-building is a natural process. It doesn't need it's own slot on the agenda. I remember reading somewhere that Mark Twain believed that when one is not writing the story, one should not focus on it - but rather let the story come together in the recesses of the mind. Something like that. I'll try to find an exact quote.
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    WF Veteran InkwellMachine's Avatar
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    There are two things that I must say on the score of world-building:

    -Firstly, world-building is a dangerous trap for good writers, because we love to expand upon things and see them to their 'end.' Seeing the creation of a world through to its end is a very lengthy process, so for a writer that's like getting caught up in a really great RPG that has no definite ending. It's more important to write the story than build the world, and as we write or outline or plan the plot, we learn what aspects of the world must necessarily see more development.

    -Secondly, world-building is not writing; it's setting preparation. We should all know that there are plenty of things more important than setting. Granted, cultures and customs and histories can mean a lot to each character, but that's really gravy. Even without Middle Earth, Tolkien could have told the same story. Wouldn't have looked or felt the same, but it would have been the same in essence.

    Could you imagine writing a book like The Hunger Games without doing a detailed outline of the world first?
    When I read the trilogy, I was assuming she was just winging it the whole time. Honestly, everything is so ridiculously convenient that it's impossible to believe that there was any premeditation whatsoever. Even if she did plan out the socioeconomic status/circumstances of each of the districts, that doesn't increase the world's depth because it's really not important to the story--it just spreads it wider in one direction. Not helpful.

    Also, yes. Patrick Rothfuss is indeed an amazing author. His world-building is just right, because it's applied when necessary, but otherwise only very vaguely alluded to.
    "Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised." --John Steinbeck

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