A Little Stuck on the Beginning Part

Wow, I really walked away from the writing a bit there, didn’t I? It was never my intention, I just stopped.

Well, I’m back. With the advent of the writer’s group starting up on Fantasy Faction, it’s given me a bit of a kick to get writing again. Only, now that I’m here, I’m not sure where to begin.Β I know I want to write fantasy, but I’m not sure where to branch off to.

Of course I have my NaNoWriMo 2010 manuscript that desperately needs a reboot, and I had my epic fantasy as well which was going to go along the lines of: “Twin’s brother attacks him in a world in which you gain unimaginable power from killing your twin, but he fails and twin gains this power. He didn’t want to kill his brother but he was left with no choice and now he’s on the run from the law with a strangely intoxicating (no, there’s no romance, in fact, I’m not sure she’s all that intoxicating after all) woman who is a fearsome fighter from one of the tribal countries in the North. They don’t exactly get along but together they set out to keep twin safe and find a way to either put his newfound powers to good use or dampen them so as he can live out his life in peace. But these powers are deeply sought after and incredibly rare, and their darkness seeks to consume..” So yeah, I’m reading that back and to me it sounds excellent but it’s hardly unique and I’m not entirely sure how to do it justice, but I know I’d love an excuse to explore their world. Any thoughts on this one?

Wherever I decide to go with this, whether I go back to NaNo10, Twin Power, or somewhere completely different, I need to sit down and do some serious world-building and plotting because as much as I enjoyed pantsing my fairy tale, I need a solid world with place names and cultures to explore when I come to actually write it. I have absolutely no clue where to begin though! And while I’m at it – any tips on naming? People I’m not so bad with, but places and items and creatures leave me stumped which really breaks the writing flow at times. Need to compile a bunch of names for everything before I get writing but where to start..

How do you go about world-building? Do you have a structure to follow or do you just map it out and let it flow that way? Or maybe you have other methods? Please leave your responses in the comments, I’ll much appreciate it!

9 thoughts on “A Little Stuck on the Beginning Part”

  1. Gosh, worldbuilding? What’s that. πŸ˜›

    It’s been a real good while since I consciously sat down and thought worldbuilding through. The book I’m working on is *technically* a sequel to a sort that already had my worldbuilding established. From what little I remember, I thought up a time period, scrapped that, thought up another, revised the book, hated the time period, then just decided to write and see where it went. Really happy with it. Took me a half of a first draft, plenty of reading and experimenting, and one spark from a writer friend to help me decide on the time period. Then I discover a famous fame called Dishonored had exactly what I was going for.

    I’m all for the planning idea, but don’t rack your head over the little stuff right now. Make it consistent to a point, but remember you can go in and edit the stuff you want at a later date. DO NOT do it as you go. I made that mistake with my first book and it was miserable.

    I saw your conversation with Doug and will agree that a map is the easiest way to get worldbuilding down. It took me roughly fifteen maps before I settled on the one I really felt captured the geography I had in my head. It helps flex ideas for different countries, sub-plots, and other niggles.

    Names are for second drafts, I always say. Or sequels. πŸ˜›

    1. I’ve been dreading the worldbuilding but now I’m seeing it as the most fun part! I get to play God with this world, a vast, epic scale, amazing world. Mwahaha. πŸ˜€

      Yeah, I know. I’ve beaten the inner editor thanks to NaNoWriMo. It’s literally beaten out of you when you participate in that. Maybe not LITERALLY but you get my point. But yeah I find I start floundering if I don’t have a direction or don’t know what to call a new creature so some basis is needed. Other than that, I prefer to explore and see what comes of it.

      Ahhh okay. That makes me feel a little better about maps! I’m iffy about the idea but if it comes down to just trial and error, yeah I can do that.

      Haha, well fair enough, but as I say, need a base! πŸ˜€

  2. I love the idea so far – I think if you flesh it out more it would be a really interesting read! I am stuck on the world building part right now actually – but I plan to post what I discover as I discover it haha. One of the things I am doing is kind of working backwards (or technically it’s not backwards but working my way from the beginning) This needs explanation:

    I’m working on an epic fantasy (which will probably be a trilogy), which has a huge world with rich history. In order to help “set the stage” so to speak, and get that history built – I am starting with the prequel to the series so I can reference – people, places, etc as I write the main story) I don’t intend to publish this prequel (so part of me wonders if it’s a waste of time) but I am finding that writing the prequel helps build the world. The prequel actually takes place thousands of years before the main story. So I know that if for example, stupid farmers use poor agriculture techniques (see Oklahoma dustbowl) – then this area may be a dessert in the future book.

    Also, since Ive been into RP forever – I find that using some of the worldbuilding guides for stuff like D&D stories kind of helps. The dungeon master guides have tips on creating beasts, weapon naming etc. I just bought a book called Grains into Gold which helps build world economy, and I figure that might give me ideas on worldbuilding as well. If I know the economy of X race/faction exists primarily on the production of Coconut Oil for example, It will help me build the map and world. I can research and find out coconut trees grow in tropical climates – often near the sea so I know that this area needs to be built near the sea. I can then research what types of areas tend to be near tropical climates – rainforests may be one, so I can build a rainforest around that. So on and so on.

    1. Thanks muchly for the vote of confidence! I have to admit, once I gave it somewhat of a blurb, it sounded more interesting than it did in my head.

      That doesn’t sound like a waste of time to me. If it helps you, it’s awesome, and perhaps one day you’ll come back to it, you never know. Between writing this post and this comment I’ve decided to start with a short story which will be a prequel to how my lady character gets to where she is in the beginning of the novel. It’ll help me hone my style a tiny bit and work her out a bit too. Looking forward to it.

  3. Sounds like it would help you to figure out more about the world in advance! You might try just creating notes about some of the settings you want to use, maybe write a little history of the world. Don’t try to make it organized at the outset, just get all your thoughts down and sort through them later! For a fantasy book, it might help to actually sketch a map for your own reference.

    1. That’s my aim! I need to do some world-building (world building? worldbuilding?) and really get to know my world and everything within it before I can create stories in it. But I’m not 100% sure where to start. The general consensus says map. I have no idea on the shapes of my continents or where to stick countries and cities, but I do have rough ideas on what to put in there so I’ll just have to give it a try.

      1. If a map doesn’t feel write to you, then try a notebook or Word file and list a different city or country on each page and jot down what thoughts you have. The jotting down will usually help stimulate more ideas or clarify the ones you have..

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