(World-)Building Too Much

An interesting conversation led to this week's World-Building Notes posting. It was inspired, in part, by Reddit's writerly communities and a community I belong to, LitFiction, on Discord. One of the things that newer writers often get stuck in is a sort of development loop, to use of the words of my colleague at LitFiction, Jetgirlart. This development loop is often dealing with a prolonged bit of world-building, often to an extreme that is very unnecessary for the actual story. This has forced me to reconsider my own world-building attempts over the years, where I've spent years (and years) building, fleshing out, constructing an imaginary world in my notebooks. I spent far too much time world-building, when, what I needed to do was write the damned story. World-building has become more of a hobby of mine, rather than a development strategy for creating story worlds. It was the sage advice of Tade Thompson, a rather successful British scifi author, that woke me up from my stupor of world-building: It shouldn't dominate the project. Instead, it should be like those video games, where things are rendered as you get closer to them. Outside of that, you don't need to do much world-building, if at all. For new speculative fiction writers, or writers of all kinds, remember that (world-)building too much can be just as problematic as avoiding writing altogether.

Gregory M. Rapp

Gregory M. Rapp

A writer of fiction and nonfiction, a blogger, an avid reader and writer, and gamer.
New Mexico