Don’t Let World-Building Get in the Way of Story-Building

A post of mine regarding Far Flung on John Robin’s blog, Epic Fantasy Writer!

John Robin's Blog

Happy almost-November!

Today I’d like to share more on world-building by means of a guest post from an author I recently connected with—TCC Edwards. You can check out his book, Far Flung, which is has been picked by an Inkshares syndicates and is still funding, at nearly 1/4 of the way to meeting the Quill publication milestone.

TCCHow many lists of world-building tips, hints, questions, and resources have you seen on the internet? They’re a bit intimidating, aren’t they? Especially when they’re as exhaustive as the queen of all world-building lists by author Patricia C. Wrede, with questions about politics, science, religion, and many more aspects of your fictional world.

You could spend a lot of time building your world with a list like this, but without proper attention to the story and characters, readers aren’t likely to appreciate the effort. If you are writing a multi-novel…

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Reblog: Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jay Allan

Worldbuilding can make great stories even better!

It’s hard to imagine classic series like Asimov’s Foundation or modern series like Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn without richly detailed worldbuilding. Populating a fantasy universe with political systems, past wars, myths, technology, and other details help everything in the story work as part of a whole.

This article is a really good summary of how worldbuilding can serve an author and help draw in readers.

Worldbuilding.  It’s a term that gets bandied about quite a bit when discussing fiction, especially in genres like science fiction and fantasy, but for all the endless times it is repeated, I think sometimes the importance is overlooked.

It’s very fashionable to say things like, “character development is the important thing,” or “it’s the story that matters.”  And, of course, those things are absolutely essential.  But they’re not the whole story.  Not by a longshot.  Not in science fiction or fantasy.

A work of historical fiction set, say, during the American Civil War doesn’t need worldbuilding…it’s world is the world, and beyond pointing out some historical facts the reader might not know, the author can focus almost solely on characters and storyline.  But science fiction and fantasy demand more.  These stories take place in worlds that are the creations of their authors.  They may be set in the near future, based heavily on the real world, or they may be wildly different (a galaxy far, far away), but either way, the reader needs to understand this setting, and the only way that’s going to happen is if the author fleshes it out.

Imagine a work like Dune, without the immense detail of the empire, stripped of the customs, institutions, and history so carefully laid out by the author.  What is left?  A good story, some well-developed characters?  Yes, perhaps.  But an enduring classic of the genre? Doubtful.

Or Asimov’s Foundation series…with its galactic empire and its ‘world as one giant city’ capital.  The characters come and go in what is mostly a series of short novellas, but the overall plot of the fall of empire ties them all together.

On the fantasy side, could there be a better example than the Lord of the Rings?  The three books cover little more than a single year’s activity, yet Tolkien’s work wouldn’t be the classic it is without the massive worldbuilding that gives us thousands of years of fictional history interspersed with a few months of real time action.

In science fiction and fantasy, the setting is like a character itself, often as much a part of the story as any hero and villain.  When I think of the books that have resonated with me in my forty-odd years of reading science fiction and fantasy, it is those that offered rich worlds in which I could lose myself that became the favorites I pull out every couple years to reread.

See the rest at http://discoverscifi.com/worldbuilding-in-science-fiction-and-fantasy-2/

#atozchallenge – Z is for Zagaz, bringer of disease

 

It brings disease to the young and innocent.

At the end of the list, the finish line for this challenge, we have the Zagaz. This Moroccan spirit was responsible for bringing disease to newborns. He brought about one of the most common and tragic illnesses of his time, a form of tetanus which claimed the lives of many young babies.

 

That’s the end of this blogging challenge! It’s been fun, spooky, and darkly inspirational!

 

Sources:

Image – Djinn by Nick Corbell

http://mythicalarchive.com/creature/zagaz/

http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/index.php?title=African_Spirits

 

 

 

#atozchallenge – Y is for Yaoguai, feasting on souls

They are malevolent shapeshifters who feed on souls.

The Yaoguai are China’s demons, lurking about and feeding on human essence. They are usually evil animal spirits or fallen celestial beings, seeking immortality – and they need your soul to get it! They’ve been known to appear as foxes, skeletons, and even beautiful seductresses in their search for prey. They especially like to abduct and consume holy men, though they probably wouldn’t turn down a lesser snack…

Sources:

Image found at http://horrorhk.blogspot.com/2009/08/blog-post_6543.html

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/10/29/10-scariest-chinese-monsters-youve-never-heard-of/article?gcheck=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoguai

 

#atozchallenge – X is for Xiang Yao, the lords of disease

(Ha, good old Chinese folklore, handling the X requirement easily!)

 

They leave disease and putrid swamp in their wake.

A Xiang Yao is a spirit with nine horrid heads on a large snake’s body. They bring disease and sickness, poisoning fresh streams into putrid swamps. They serve the great black dragon Gong-Gong, bringer of the great floods. It’s best to stay far away – an encounter is likely to leave you sick and weak.

Sources:

Image taken from the Mythical Archive

http://www.mythicalcreatureslist.com/mythical-creature/Xiang+Yao

http://www.mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/myths/english/eng_china_pantheon.htm

http://mythicalarchive.com/creature/xiang-yao/

 

#atozchallenge – W is for Wekufe, a persistent evil

They are all around, bringing chaos and disease.

Wekufe were evil beings in Mapuche believed were all around. They appear as animals, natural events or disasters, or disembodied spirits – when they choose to be visible at all. Wekufe can be called and controlled by sorcerers, but they usually rebel against and kill any sorcerer who lacks the power to fully control them. The shamans of the Mapuche, called the Machi, had to work constantly to ward the corruptions of the Wekufe away from villages and innocents.

Sources:

Image – The Wekufe by deralbi on DeviantArt

An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, Volume 1 on Google Books

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wekufe

 

 

#atozchallenge – V is for Vetala, between life and death

 

Existing between worlds, bringing madness and death.

Vetala are spirits in Hindu folklore who inhabit corpses, using them as vehicles to wander about and attack the living. They cause madness in those who encounter them, and sometimes kill the weak and young. Some brave living souls try to capture Vetala – as beings existing between worlds and outside of physical laws, they know much of the past, present, and future. Most people, however, are smart enough not to try such a foolhardy act, and instead ward off the Vetala with prayer and chants.

Sources:

Image – Vetala by zurrak on DeviantArt

http://knowledgebibliotheque.blogspot.kr/2013/04/supernatural-beings-in-india.html

http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/2011/11/creature-of-week-vetala.html

http://veryoddthings.tumblr.com/post/52390736447/the-woman-in-white-vetala-in-hindu-folklore