As I have mentioned before, I’ve been collating all of my world-building information for various projects using a template. It has been interesting seeing how the use of this format has enabled me to make sense of these worlds, flesh out characters and plots. This is all quite helpful, but a few days ago I discovered something interesting about the Tiamus setting.
You see, I’ve been listening to episodes of the Writing Excuses podcast of late in an attempt to improve my method. The topics so far have posed me with numerous questions about my own motives and challenged me to don tried-and-tested methods for dealing with some aspects of plotting, drafting, editing and character development. There were two in particular (Writing Excuse 4.12: Writing An Epic & Writing Excuses 4.13: Juggling Multiple Viewpoints) that made me revisit one world in particular, Tiamus.
With new eyes, I was able to determine that one planned saga was an epic and that I’d have to deal with expanding the already immense, culturally-diverse world to meet the needs of the story I wish to tell there. Another thing that I will need to do is build-up the plot gradually, rather than throwing my heroes into the deep-end right off of the get-go. By not spending more time reorganizing the plot, I risk a weak storyline and characters. However, the world-building must back up my vision for the stories told therein, giving the characters a real place to adventure and people to interact with.
One is reliant upon the other and vice versa, must in the same way that a plant needs more than dry earth to exist. Plants need water, sunlight, temperature necessary for various biological processes to occur, an ongoing supply of nutriments that meets its specific needs, etc… You can spend a lot of time creating heroes and villain for your story, but without a setting or plot they exist in a void. It may seem like a no-brainer. However, there are so many writers that disrespect their characters by offering them nothing to do and nowhere to go.I no longer wish to be one of them.
With this in mind, I will endeavor to learn from lessons taught and challenge myself to spend more time creating a rich world and plot for my characters in the not-s0-distant future. For the writers that are reading this entry, I challenge you to spend some time going over your world-building notes to see if there is some way to create a world rich enough to support your literary vision. Best of luck with your writing!