This wasn't the first "writing tool" I planned to write about in this phase of the course, but since it's been on my mind a lot lately, I decided to change the order a tad.
Anyone who has read much, especially the early works of authors, has come across at least one or two examples of the dreaded "info dump." As a matter of fact, if you actually read any of the books assigned in your high school literature classes, you've seen one. They were all the rage in the early 1800s. Virtually any novel written and printed in the first half of the nineteenth century begins with chapter upon chapter of endless description and back story, the very definition of an "info dump."
New? Begin with lesson one.
In the last lesson, we looked at how the sciences influence the formation of societies. Today we are going to look at how history, mythology, art, and politics can factor in to create well rounded settings.
No matter the age or advancement of the society you're writing about, these four factors will come into play in one way or another. Our experiences shape who we are. History is the combined experience of an entire family, clan, society, nation, or species. What is Mythology but a crude method of recording early history combined with an effort to explain phenomenon for which the author had no ready explanation. Such stories were and are often shaped and changed to meet the political needs of those within power at the time. The legends of King Arthur come to mind as an example. Shifts in politics, ideals of beauty and morality, and social mores influence the art created within their time. The same can be true in reverse.
In the last lesson we took a very broad overview of world building and talked about determining the scope and depth to which you will need to shape your setting. This week we will look at how the sciences factor into society.
Even if the culture you are writing about has a very limited or primitive notion of science, certain principles will play a role in shaping their society. Things like geology, climate, and biology might seem like background elements, but they influence our lives in ways we don't often think about.
Once you have a general idea of your story and characters, it's time to think about setting. If your characters are modern, the genre's general, and you're using a real place as the setting, you might be able to skip this step. However, it is an essential one, to one degree or another, for most stories.
World building is a phrase that can sound much bigger and more complicated than it needs. It can be as simple as designing a unique family setup to as expansive as creating numerous worlds, species, and cultures within a galactic republic. However, when the story requires the creation of an entire universe, it's usually broken into a series of books. In that kind of case, it doesn't have to be done all at once. Titanic, complex universes tend to grow organically with the series as the author or authors build the series.
Before we get going, I want to say different methods work for different authors. This course is meant as a basic, introductory course for beginners. My purpose here is to lay out the process in the simplest way possible from start to finish. If you find a particular method isn't working for you, modify it however you feel the need.
Not all stories will require every step, but even if you don't think you're going to need a skill such as world building, give the post a read anyway. There are a lot of little things writers from one genre can learn from writers of a different one that can still be helpful with some tweaking.
The first step in the writing process is brainstorming, so this is where we'll begin.
Today's post is one I originally posted on my other blog back in April, but I thought it would be a good place to start for this one. So I thought I would repost it here.
I was listening to one of the local radio stations on my way in to the day job that morning, and they read something called "Captain America's Top 10 Complaints" since they're giving away movie passes to Winter Soldier. One complaint stuck out: "That Iron Man gets all the girls."
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
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Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4