Monday, September 2, 2013

World Building: An introduction

I've written about world building in the past, but my heart never got into it. Recently It's been impressed upon me by my betters to give advice on things that I feel passionate about. Sounds like a no-brainer right? It's not as easy as you might think. Writing a blog is an exercise in humility as much as it is in patience. You want to write about things that people like to generate traffic flow. You want the fame today, not tomorrow, but it must be remembered that building  audiences is a slow process. Lately I've come to the conclusion that people can tell when you force things out. Creating under a burden reads phony. Taking the time this Labor Day weekend I created a new curriculum based on the things that I especially enjoy consulting on. So I hope in the next few weeks you will enjoy the material and be inclined to share it around.


So you want to be (a) god? 

Whether it be literary or cinema cannon, we collectively experience the effects of successful/unsuccessful immersion experiences. Movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings contain well crafted universes.These are places that people can be, live and breathe, walk and talk. If you've ever seen a bad move, part of the reason why they are terrible is the innate sense of betrayal when viewing them. The world is not real, and the viewer feels let down because he/she is being offered a something that is counterfeit. Creating a world is like being a god. It is an exercise in being "divine." The reason why I use this analogy is because the world bust be self sustained, without subject to "holy encounters" and "miracles." (This is a euphemism for events or occurrences in the book that clash with principal iconography.) Being aware of this helps the author to remember that their world has rules, customs, qualities, and dynamics that need to be adhered to. A good example then would be including common slang in Star Wars. Notice how the whole series has it's own native slang. Most of the time we are viewers placed outside of those references. Unless we were acquainted with expanded universe knowledge, a "Nerf Herder" would be a meaningless reference. Yet, the fact that such an idea was written into Star Wars makes the content as a whole that much more convincing, because these people have their own diction and phrases. Were Han Solo to grab Lando Calrissian by the cuff of his shirt and say, "I'm gonna' beat your ass you lying douche!" It would pull us out from the universe. The moral here is, keep a lid on your "miracles" and keep the universe self contained.

"What planet am I on?"

Following the thread of the previous section I will break down the components that we will discuss through the next few weeks. Every well crafted universe can be developed to be convincing so long as certain aspects be taken into account. Obviously, my list isn't exhaustive. What I am going to do however is create a list featuring certain aspects that can potentially be overlooked in the writing process. Including them will not only enhance the credibility of your work but give a reason for people to come back and speculate about the inner workings of your universe. Here are a few of the parameters that I have in mind:
  • Politics
  • Social fabric
  • Accents
  • Animals, fauna, and creature
  • Architecture
  • In-group/out-group
I'll break these down later but consider the list for now. Every movie that you have loved with a huge universe at it's disposal has included at least some of these elements. They are minor traits that enhance the detail of the universe. Politics show that the people who live in your world have values. Social fabric is how society is arranged and what customs they have. Accents show the diversity of your population. Animals, Fauna, and creature concepts give the unique flavor to the world you are creating. Focusing on Architecture shows that the people study their space and conceive of themselves as living in a spatial reality. Lastly, in-group/out-group dynamics will show the effects of racism/classism, which is universal to all cultures. Sadly a world without them is a world that is wholly unrealistic. 

Think on this for now. We will have a thorough treatment on the subject of world building over the next few weeks. Tell your friends! Stay updated! Keep learning!



SW 

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