Yes, yes yes…
It’s been a while since my last journal – but rest assured, my time has been put to good use. In fact, I’ve been busy with my “Grand Plan 2015” project (see my previous journal entry >here< for more details on that).
So where do things stand?
I set myself three goals to kick things off; World Building, Fleshing out Characters and Visualisation –
1/ World Building;
Here you might expect me to put out a lot of advice about world building, maybe even a How To… sort of thing. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going to. The reasons why are very simple, world building is a good exercise, but – BUT – it should not be the be-all-and-end-all of the writing process. World building, at best, is about making notes for YOUR use when creating stories about your world. It’s an aid to memory, a reference point – nothing more.
Having had a look around the interweb, there is a lot of decent advice around – but without exception, all of it lacks the most important advice: Any exercise in World Building is about fleshing your ideas out and should only be seen as rough notes.
Ok, so not everyone is going to agree with that. As someone who counts himself as an amateur writer (ok I have been paid for stuff in the past, but it’s not a regular job – yet) maybe I’m not the best authority. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many budding writers get bogged down in World Building that they never did anything with it. Frankly, it’s very easy to get lost in defining the background of your world. Some worlds, some ideas, are massive and defining them… Well, it’s easy to write pages and pages and pages.
If I have any advice, it is; set yourself a limit. Keep it as simple as you can. Do you need to flesh out all the back history in detail? Does everything have to be described done to the most finite detail? No. You need to leave yourself room for changes, because writing a story is a dynamic process.
My own exercise ended up being some 3,654 words long – which was something of a surprise (that’s seven sides of A4 in case anyone is wondering). It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be either. I‘ve never put all the information in one place, never seen it all together – a few things surprised me. I also ended up realising that some things didn’t make sense, so made changes. True to form, I let my bestie have a read of it all and ended up making even more changes after some comments back from him. It was a very fluid process, and one I’m glad I did. Seeing all that information laid out allowed me to explore some other ideas for my story – even come up with a few extra fun plot points as well (more on that later).
2/ Fleshing out Characters;
Oddly, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have quite a few characters to “flesh” out – to make notes on. Again, this exercise was all about making notes for reference, to aid the “old grey gloop” in my head. It was also a chance to make sure that the characters weren’t just two-dimensional.
I adapted the character exercise from >here< to answer some basic, and yet important, questions about the people I’m writing about (please note the use of tense there). I have EIGHT main characters, which is more than I normally work with, and I’m up to twelve secondary characters so far.
So, for me, this exercise was not a waste of time.
Having access to some basic notes that I can continue to add to and update as need be is useful.
Of the three goals I set myself, this was the pointless one.
No, it really is a pointless exercise.
But it is fun.
I started playing around with some ideas of what the “Galadin” looks like. Came up with a couple of maquets as well (ok, for those not in the know a maquet is a small model or study in three dimensions). One of the ideas seems right to my mind’s eye (which, to date, is the only way I’ve seen it before) and I’ll be fleshing it out further, as a “fun side project.”
I have a small group of fans on SciFi Meshes who used to follow my 3D work, I may well move this part of things over there. Then again, maybe not… One of the reasons I stopped doing 3D stuff (aside from health) was the small number of asshats on that site. So we’ll see. Again, building a 3D mesh of the Galadin is pointless in terms of getting a story written. The only reason to do it is curiosity – and because, well because I can.
So… That’s the current state of play. What (you may well be asking) is next?
Plotting, because having a rough idea of where the story is going is important. And continuing to write the story.
Ahh, yes… Continuing to write the story…
That was the point of this, after all, to write a long though about idea, put it on paper (so to speak). It felt right to start. Hey, I can do the other stuff on the side. Gives me something else to play with on those days I need to do something a little different.