Monday, January 9, 2012
Honor's Paradox and What I learned About World Building from Cowriting
I finished Honor's Paradox yesterday and it was fantastic. As fantastic as all the other books in Hodgell's series with this time really exploring that question of honor, especially as it applies to the Kencyr. That's another reason I love fantasy, it allows you to really explore deeper questions and ideas. Anyways I've raved about these before but every time I read them I'm reminded of the incredible complex world building that goes into these books. And the most complex part about it I think is not the geography or ecology, but rather the history of Rathillion and the Kencyrath.
And I'm insanely jealous of her skills.
And it got me thinking of how I had, years ago, failed miserably at trying to write a novel length work because of the world building.
Now, after reading Hodgell's stuff, its sort of whet my apetite to eventually try to write a trilogy or series or something where more world building is involved and this time I know how to do it. Or at least I feel more prepared. And for that, I think, I can thank my cowriters.
You see, before I didn't know how to go about writing a story in a new world. I felt as if I had to know everything about every culture and every part of the world ahead of time, got bogged down and gave up. Or just stopped caring because I just wanted to start writing and ended up lost and confused.
I didn't realize what I was doing wrong until I started writing with other people. In our group written project, we started with a world created by one of the authors. But the key I needed was that it wasn't fully developed. The history was created, the basic geography, the basic races were created. But there were many details and many things we ended up writing when we got to them because they only made sense when our characters had to interact with their environment.
In other words, a basic foundation was laid and the history was created so other details could follow logically behind. Creating that foundation is still difficult, but its easier than trying to tackle every little thing at one time.
I still wouldn't really consider myself a world building, but now that I think I understand it better, I'm excited to play with it more. And that's the fun of writing :)
Last thing I want to mention has nothing to do with world building...but rather the book cover of Honor's Paradox. Really cover artist? I really doubt Jame could be mistaken for her brother Torisen, and Torisen be mistaken for Jame so often if Jame's rack was so big. Unless there's something about Tori that we don't know o.O