Worldbuilding

I’ve been quiet on the blog for a bit. The last week or so I’ve been hard at work doing second-pass revisions on Stars. There were, as always, a number of things that needed addressing and I’ve been methodically working my way through, start-to-finish, making changes as I come to them.

The biggest issue, which all of my readers had commented on, was it needed more worldbuilding. This seems to be a weakness of mine during drafting. I’m good with pacing, and my plotting is decent. I’ve gotten a lot better at character arcs and situational reactions. But I still have a tendency to skim over the worldbuilding. I’ve been getting this comment on all my manuscripts I’ve had critiqued, so you’d think I’d have learned from it by now. Fortunately, it’s something easily added in during revisions.

Worldbuilding details aren’t vital to the telling of the story, but they do make the story richer, more fleshed out, more real. Some things I know from the start, such as how the world looks. And some stuff requires more thought. Stars is set a few decades after a plague decimated the population, so it’s been interesting to consider how an abrupt drop in the number of people would affect society. There’s the obvious stuff – a lot of luxuries and their associated jobs would be dispensed with or only open to the rich, as most of the remaining population would need to focus on basic necessities like food and clothing. But there are also trickle-down effects I’ve been considering – for instance, a near-stoppage in global commerce would mean imported products such as coffee or chocolate (which only grow in the tropics) would become the domain of the rich once more. It doesn’t really matter to the storyline whether coffee is expensive or not. But it does add a richness to the world to note these things.

I’m almost done with this pass of revisions – hopefully tonight! And then I’ll be sending the manuscript off to my next set of readers. Normal blogging will resume once I’m no longer obsessively buried in my story. :)

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4 responses to “Worldbuilding

  1. Sounds good to me. I’d like to read it sometime. :D I tend to get carried away with world building. By the time I’m done, I have so many details the plot gets lost in them. I’m currently working on trying to write without detailing it quite so much. Perhaps I’ll be able to find a happy medium.

    • Thanks. :) There’s definitely a balance to be had, eh? Robin McKinley is a writer who I think of as someone who loves to indulge in details. Her books are often quite long with little tangents as she shares some fun but totally unnecessary side detail. Some people love reading books with that writing style, though! If you haven’t read any of hers, might be worth trying; I absolutely love Sunshine.

  2. Also infrastructure. That would be a big one. Same amount of infrastructure to keep up, and a fraction of the tax base to pay for it.

    It would be fun to brainstorm before you start writing – post the general premise on your blog and people can ponder and post thoughts about what that world might look like. If you didn’t mind revealing your premise. ;)

    • Yeah, that too. I guess some of it would just be scaled back – close the excess hospitals, for instance – but some, like roads, would need to be selectively maintained. Lots to think about! Tough to be aware of it all on the first drafting.

      Of course, the flip side to all that is that while there *will* be lots of differences from our own society, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with all these details, because strictly speaking only some of it is important to the plot. If you provide too much detail it bogs down your pacing and narrative flow (which is fine, if your writing style/voice is slower, but mine isn’t). So it’s finding a balance that makes the world feel real without going overboard.

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