Rav (corvid) wrote,

World Building: Technique: Snippet

A lot of the time, I suggest that a good way to get somewhere is to write / roleplay / talk about something. Let me run over some reasons why this works for me.

1. Exploration of the World: This is kind of like playing tourist in the world you built. You need to have at least one character from the world to show someone else around, or just to follow the character.

What do you get?
Roleplaying this allows you to see things that are confusing to an outside point of view. You also have to think on your feet to fill in details.
You get a chance to examine what kind of stories work well in your world. It's very hard to have, for example, a formal ball in your gritty fishing village filled with pearl divers. You could, however, have a harvest feast or follow someone doing their work and explore local politics.
You may find your tourist is a lot happier elsewhere. That could show a shift in priorities as to where the center of your world should be.

Your focus could get too wide. If you have a thrilling fishing village and a corrupt town and your Venice like city out of lace like marble carvings and your swinging village in the vines of an ancient forest - you may have more places to be a tourist than plot to fill them.

2. Immersion: This is a two-fold goal. Immersion in the case could be immersing yourself in the world or in the characters. Hard to write scenes often don't help immersion, since you're fighting your writing skills, your goals, and your intended results as much as the world and the characters.

What do you get?
It's a good way to find out more about the world through the eyes of a chatty easy to write character, or a good way to fill in a more flat character.
Roleplaying a character is a quick way to immerse yourself in their voice, viewpoints, and ideals.
You may find out that you've got a cooler option with some characters.
You may find repeating a scenario with subtle changes may lead to the perfect end result.

Mary Sue syndrome. You could make your character so perfect or so flawed that things become utterly unbelievable.
You could get too close to your character and not want, say, anything bad to happen to them.
You could forget that some people don't know your world as well as you do.
You may be unwilling to treat your world like fiction even if it'd help your story to have, say, a door in the back.

3. Genre Emulation: This, again could be used for two purposes. First of all, you could seek traits for your preferred genre and write scenes that could show it in action. Secondly, you could see how your world fits in potential genres.

What do you get?
You get the fun of getting your end result shown in your writing. You want porn? Write a porn scene. You want tense actions leading up to porn? Write it. Later, you can fill in. Get the fun written first.
You can see that, for example, your angsty character is actually not too bad in more cheerful scenes. That may change how you use characters.
You could find out that things don't fit your genre. Your serious modern story may not work well with the mysterious D.W.E.E.B. society.

Make sure you're not getting so into your genre that you're writing cliches.

So, comments? Other potential ways snippets of writing can help you? What does or doesn't work for you?
Tags: world building

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