Monday, January 19, 2015

A list. An outline? A plan.

So the other day I outlined a space scifi novel, meant to be the first in....a series, anyway. Or I listed the most bare bones of events which would make up the plotline. It involves a Macguffin, as so many good stories do. I just need to figure out the details of what it involves/contains. It's one thing to decide a Thing is important; it's another thing to justify it in the story, for the characters. I want ramifications to be understood. Show, don't tell, natch.

So, some world building.

I thought of the characters first. A ship, its captain, her business partner/mechanic. Because I want to edge closer to realistic space travel, that's all who's on the ship regularly. Cramped quarters, weight still a concern, food still freeze dried, etc. Probably no artificial gravity, or at least not on small ships. Space Law a new and shaky thing.

Now I'm thinking of locations. Probably not Mars, though it'll be mentioned. Europa. The moon. Earth itself. Maybe one of Saturn's moons as well, like Titan or Enceladus (we've watched a few of the Space TED talks on Netflix, and Titan and Enceladus get brought up a lot. Europa a bit as well. And oh yes, the asteroid belt might be a bit of fun.

The fantasy novel I started in July has also been kicking around in my head, so I might outline what I've got ("outline") and then outline where it's gotta go. That novel's been a departure for me in a couple of ways, starting with a prologue, consisting of multiple point of view characters (only 2, other than the prologue, I didn't go nuts), and completely in a secondary world. So again, world building was necessary.

So the fantasy novel is a world I'm building from the ground (heh) up. The space scifi is a world I'm building using current technology and projected technology as the basis. The differences in the ventures are interesting to consider, and the limitations, or lack thereof.

Do you do much worldbuilding in your writing?


  1. I think it would be interesting to build your own world in a story, especially because there are a lot of possibilities to explore, as you have been doing. My stories are set in Chicago, because that's pretty much been my whole world for a long time now.

    1. Most of my stories are set in the "real world" (or rather, use the real world as the leaping off point for the flavor of urban fantasy I like). As a longtime fantasy reader (and now tabletop gamer), I've encountered a lot of other peoples' own worlds, but rarely have I built my own from the ground up. With any kind of coherence, that is....I did write that terrible fantasy novel in high school, which I conveniently forgot to mention in this post.

  2. It depends on the project as to how much "world building" or outlining I do. I typically don't do either; I just sit down and write. But I have been working on a comic book series and I discovered I had to do an outline, both for pacing and world building.

    1. I don't typically plan or outline either, but there are times I try to give it a shot. Especially with the space stuff, which I really want to get right, I've been trying planning and note taking and all manner of research.

      A comic book series must be fun to work on! Are you both writing and drying it?