Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five Reasons To Stick a Fork in Your Worldbuilding and Get to Writing

And now, a word to my fellow writers of speculative fiction.

Go onto any writer forum dealing with F/SF, and half the questions are about worldbuilding: How do I make maps? What kind of grammar reflects a warrior culture? Can anyone tell me about reasonable weather patterns? How do you create gods - all I know are the Greek and Norse ones?

And when I see them, I want to squeeze out a few tears, because that used to be me. Not recently. A  long time ago. A LONG, LOOONG, LOOOOOONG time ago. Not anymore, though. Here's why.

1. You know what you could be doing while asking these questions? You could be writing.

2. You know who asks these questions? Not writers. Dungeon masters. Are you a WRITER?

3. You know the difference between Anna Karenina and Fodor's Guide to Moscow? It's CHARACTERS. Worldbuilding isn't about characters.

4. You know what's exciting? Things that are uncertain. Is an anthropology class uncertain? No. When was the last time in college you woke up and said "Wow! Anthro 310 is today, and I'm totally stoked!"

5. You know what's hot? Naked worshippers of the local sex deity are hot. You know what's not? Sociology notes on the mating rituals of a made-up pseudo-Phoenician priesthood.

So stick in some swords. Some blood. Some sex. Some romance. Maybe some interstellar travel-writing details ("In the bazaars of F'knik, it is customary to offer a drop of blood to seal the bargain, but it does not have to be your blood...") Cut down on the politics, the interstellar trade law, the economic treatises of far-off kingdoms...unless you actually KNOW what you're talking about enough to make a story out of political backstabbing or currency-rate fluctuations. (And you probably don't.)

Have some fun, f'r Mithras' sake. Unless you don't know anything about fun, either. Of course, if you're sitting by yourself in a room drawing maps...

No comments:

Post a Comment