How Long Do You Build a World?

Discussion in 'Author Discussions' started by AzuriEclip, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. AzuriEclip

    AzuriEclip Member

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    This is a post I made out of sole curiosity. How long do you normally worldbuild for a certain book? I've heard that some people took 1-2 months to worldbuild (though according to them, those guys often create third-rate novels) while others take a year or two. What about you?
     
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  2. IReadWhenBoredSoWhat

    IReadWhenBoredSoWhat Active Member

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    Going on 12 years....do not follow my foot steps. Most of it was creating stories and setting up structures to frame, or Frankenstein, them all together in a coherent world, which split into three...and I'm not done... it's not a reliable or sane method
     
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  3. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    I have yet to actually sit down to write a book, for a few reasons that I find difficult to word in a way that's easily understood. Plenty of ways to say it in ways that can easily be misconstrued, few ways to word without having people berate me as a side effect of poor wording choice. I do, however, like to do world building, setting up things like world history and mechanics. Sometimes I set up the mechanics first, and let that set up the world's history, other times I set up an event or important conclusion that would be central to the story, and work out the world's mechanics through that event, and I regularly have a starting point that's a mix of both and follow that along to my conculsions.

    I, generally, don't build a specific world for overly long, personally, mostly because that's all I'm doing in regards to the world. A few months is enough for me to work out the mechanics, some vital historical points, and leave the information languishing with details on my computer somewhere. I have noticed that I have been making simpler mechanics as time goes on, going from having some 8+ biological processes related to magic, with each race being inherently good at two, and poor at one (special freaks from cross breeding excluded), which means that each race is better specialised for different types of magic (no, not like Attack/Defence or White/Black Magic. More like one race is optimised for actually mastering the basic spells everyone else uses only for introductory to magic, while another is good at shape shifting, and a third is good at utilising Area Of Effect Spells, to name a few), to one of my latest being "Realistic Variation on Game System" (No Levels, Classes have a specific, predetermined reason for being different, skills are literally just things that you can learn, with different classes being able to learn different skills purely due to the predetermined reason, and so forth. And this is the SIMPLER one).
     
  4. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Alice is Friend, Not Food』

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    I don't.

    Basically, I write my story while thinking of it as a somewhat generic medi-fantasy world and roll with it. I have a rough grasp of what my characters can and can't do with magic and whatnot, and the rest just goes with the flow... When in doubt about some aspect, I just do some quick research on how it looked like in middle ages and I end up following with the same in my own setting.

    Extensive world-building is not really a big necessity for most stories, since you'll often not need to show what you have thought about... I just develop my world as I write and make sure to stay consistent with what I already wrote.

    Of course, there are certain types of stories that rely more on world-building than others... I mostly write Romance and Slice of Life, so the amount of world-building I need is honestly pretty small. On the other hand, if you want to write an Adventure Story that shows the characters exploring all corners of the world in their epic quest to save it, then you'll probably need a much more detailed world-building than my story that happens in a single city.

    PS: On a side note, I seriously doubt professional authors spend 1-2 years world-building. They'd probably rather spend that time actually writing the books that make their living. I can imagine them spending a month or two working on the details of the world together with the outline of the story, but I find it extremely hard to believe they'd spend a whole year working on a world they'll only use for a single book/series.
     
  5. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    Oh, I'm certain that the professional's generally don't spend as much time on world building. But the gap between a novice and a professional is wide, and amateurs who want the world to be their own, instead of "generic X world No. #####" do need to put some time into world building. And that's ignoring the fact that dedicating a full day into building up a world to the point of being something reasonable to start writing as your own world is probably equivalent, if not superior to the time than I actually spend in my month of world building. If that time is spent by a Professional Writer who has an idea of what they want from the world and the story, then that full-day's worth of time can easily produce more end-result work than I can even conceive putting into my own work.

    There are, of course, exceptions. Mostly stories where the world building is the point of the story. Made in Abyss (link to the Wiki Page), for example, was, supposedly, initially intended as a Video Game, but was never green-lit for production, so it's designer made it into a manga instead because he wanted to introduce the world to people. The amount of world building needed to try to persuade people that there's a potential new video game franchise that people would buy, and encourage others to buy, is substantial. Even ignoring the overall picture that I only look at, designing characters, plot, environments, interactions, encounters, there's a LOT going on there that would have been removed from the manga's pages to speed up the central plot.
     
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  6. primaryweapon

    primaryweapon Well-Known Member

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    So in other words, with relevance to all the post here, take as much time as you need to build your world.

    Speaking from a realm of music experience and expanding on the idea of the gap between a novice and professional:
    1. Time & originality shouldn't be a factor unless you're under contract to produce a product within a specific time.
    2. Never worry about how original your world is just create, fine tune, and polish it. There are plenty vampire and werewolf stories and people enjoy each in their own way.
    3. Once again time should never be a factor, a well tuned and polished world and story has potential to be timeless and this should be the goal.
     
  7. Mono Wynt

    Mono Wynt Member

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    The moment I write something is the moment when I'm inspired. I have these sudden urges to world build, then I try to express them as much as I could on either on my phone's notes or some paper.
    I tried that last time and I think it took me 2 hours of staring to the sky and writing the world's plot on my yellow notebook.

    It was fun. Although in my opinion, it wasn't deep enough so I'm still altering small pieces here and there today. Now it's been a week.
    I hope this helps!
     
  8. Myuym

    Myuym Active Member

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    I like worldbuilding, so I do that more than writing.

    I however also think that worldbuilding isn't necessary for an successful story. Like pokemon has shit tier worldbuilding, but that hasn't been a problem at all. (for as far as I know)
     
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  9. demongordon

    demongordon Active Member

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    There is a famous question "Build a World to fit the Narrative or Build a Narrative to Fit the World", depending on what is your focus what you world build will be wildly different. Should also take in consideration the genere and theme of the story, comedy and romance can have relative small world building because the focus are the characters. Slice of Life can have alot of world building if is about the MC traveling around. As a rule of thumb, Fantasy and Sci-fi need alot more worldbuilding in theory because you need to at least stabilish the basics, that you wouldn't need to explain in modern setting novel. But is possible to make very detailed settings that take place in one city or even 1 building, such as magic academy like harry poter.

    If you want to tell a story of a vampire outcast running from church crusaders, the obvious world is the victorian or middle ages, but is not impossible to make it on the present(blade/underworld) or even futuristic with a little more worldbuilding. If you want to tell a story of your incredible magic system(setting), your best bet is to have the MC be a new apprentice so you can explore the deeps of the magic system.

    I really enjoy worldbuilding aspect but I often do it without thinking about the story, I just find neat try to fit in one world the most amount of cool ideas I have, the same goes for something like magic theory, it another bootomless pit that can take years of your daydreaming about it. Because after all write a bunch of fact without have to worry about narrative is alot easier than writting a story itself. And that take alot of time, because is really more of a pet project than anything else.

    However I did made relative faster worldbuilding when I was making a world to fit the cool characters that I wanted to talk about, the world is lot more empty in my imagination than the already defined borders of my fantasy world. It was something that would take like a week of worldbuilding, because I wasn't really interested in how the details of the background event happened only the broad stroke enough to make my characters real with further worldbuilding happening depending on how I want to develop the story.
     
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  10. CookieC

    CookieC Member

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    I'm a half-pantser so while I did put some general structures, I typically leave the worldbuilding a leeway (a humongous, enormous) leeway. Basically what I did could be summarized:

    1. Determine what story I want to tell (Plot and Worldbuild)
    2. Create characters who will experience the said story (sometimes on the fly as plot demand it)
    3. Watch helplessly as the characters take a life of their own and derail the whole plot I prepared from them (sometimes even need to retconjured the math (I hate math :blobneutral:))
    4. Worldbuild far far away from the character's original location, so I could hand wave the stupid thing called consistencies and move on from there.

    Worldbuild for me should be the subset of the plot, because the story to tell should not supersede the world to make. There's no specific timeline for me though, I just jot stuff I found interesting and plan to incorporate the stuff from there.
     
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  11. lilwriterb

    lilwriterb Member

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    I write a lot, but don't always put it down on paper. So, maybe I should say I think a lot? Haha. I write for myself so I'm 100% ok with this.
    But I've been working on a historical fantasy world and a spirit world (they are separate) for around 2 years. I add more to the world as the story progresses so it's never quite finished, and I can change things whenever I want. Works for me.