Alrighty, here’s part one of our plot party, for those of you who weren’t able to make it on Sunday. Parts two and three are coming soon!
Warning!! This is a long, long, looong post! But it’s a good one!
tiakall|Setting: Okay! So, in doing some thinking about setting, I realized you can divide every setting into three types. First, there’s the “present”, where it’s basically set in the modern day. While you may have some made-up elements in it (if you’re writing urban fantasy, for example), you aren’t making up a whole world on the fly and don’t have to do research, because you can just pull relevant details from your own mind. Second, there’s the “past”, where your world is (largely) made up of a real setting, but one that you don’t have personal experience with. So you don’t have to worldbuild, but you may have to research depending on how much you know about this period. Things like historical fiction, writing a story about the 50s, or doing a (realistic) ninja novel are this kind. Then, there’s “we’re making crap up”. As it sounds, it’s where you have a setting which is largely made up – could be either an Earth AU or a completely fantasy world. The upside? Freedom to do whatever you want. Downside? Having to decide what you want. On everything. So, who has what setting? I have three rounds of “we’re making crap up”.
MaatRising: Present – Urban Fantasy
MattKinsi|Plot: Making Crap Up!
Joyce: “We’re making crap up.”
sushi|mod: I have past, making crap up, and No Freaking Clue
NaNolantaPanda: Present – urban mystery
TheMumOfTwinBoys: Darknessmatinee: Two of my ideas are Present, one is totaly up in the air
Hype|Character: Present – Urabn Fantasy and “making crap up” Future-Dystopia
roswenthe: making crap up
Ridayah: I’m making it like a herd of cows do.
Lillie_Bell: new world with hint of the past (?)
judyblackcloud: roulettec: present
Anfaenger: yeah, I make things up as well
tiakall|Setting: Okay, so let’s try a little activity of questions to get you thinking about your settings (particularly if you’re making crap up.) You don’t have to answer in chat, just think about how it applies to your world. And if you’ve got a question, feel free to shout it out for others to think about.
tiakall|Setting: Does your world…have spiders? What’s the number one beverage in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: Where do people get food in your world?
tiakall|Setting: Do people dress differently based on gender, class, age, or other demographic factors?
MattKinsi|Plot: Who is the thing that’s in charge in your world?
tiakall|Setting: Do you have elastic objects in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: How do people get the news in your world?
tiakall|Setting: How is information stored in your world?
sushi|mod: How do people get from place to place in your world?
Hype|Character: What’s the main source of energy for your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: What is the most popular child’s name in your world?
Hype|Character: What’s the weather like? Is it the same everywhere?
sushi|mod: What social issues are important in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: Are there pets in your world?
tiakall|Setting: How many moons (if any) are there?
tiakall|Setting: What do the people of your world place spiritual belief in?
MaatRising: What does the nighttime sky look like in your world?
Hype|Character: Are there other sentient beings besides your main race?
MattKinsi|Plot: What is the biggest ocean in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: What is the most popular kind of music in your world?
tiakall|Setting: Does your world have any geographical obstacles?
MattKinsi|Plot: Where is the typical person at 6:00pm in your world?
Hype|Character: For urban fantasy (or others) – is there a class separation between beings? How do non-magical and magical things interact?
MattKinsi|Plot: Who lives inside one single home unit in your world?
sushi|mod: What are family relationships like?
MattKinsi|Plot: Why wouldn’t someone want to live in your world?
sushi|mod: And why would they?
Loki: what defines a ‘family’ in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: What is the most common cause of death in your world? At different ages is it different?
roswenthe: Are there multiple cultures in one world?
MattKinsi|Plot: Who discovered the wheel in your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: How do people stay warm/cool in your world?
sushi|mod: What are some of the stories for the end of the world in your world?
MaatRising: What are the Creation Myths of your world?
MattKinsi|Plot: What are some of the stories for the creation of the world in your world?
Joyce: What’s the ratio of age groups in your world? Children; teens; adults; elderly?
MattKinsi|Plot: Is there an educational system in your world? How does it work?
tiakall|Setting: Okay, these are some great questions. I’m currently bullying Hype to putting them up on the website afterwards. As you can see, some of them are big overreaching questions, and some of them are small. You need both to really develop a world. Some may come in to your plot, some may influence it indirectly, and some might never come up at all. So if you find yourself without a lot of time to develop a world, it’s best to focus on the ones you can work into your novel. Okay, now who wants to play a quick game?
sushi|mod: Me! Ooh me!
tiakall|Setting: So this game is called “Worldbreaker”. Basically, there is one rule: post a statement about what the world IS, or what it ISN’T. (examples: “The world is flat” “We have spiders” “We don’t like curry”.) And then we’ll see what kind of world we come up with.
Loki: the world has giant head-sized spiders
tiakall|Setting: Okay, this world has no night.
MaatRising: This world has Binary Suns
Joyce: Instead of “rat terriers” we have “spider terriers.”
MattKinsi|Plot: This world has no oceans
Hype|Character: This world’s dominant religion is devoted to spider worship
sushi|mod: People don’t date in this world
tiakall|Setting: There are no two-legged people in this world.
NaNolantaPanda: there is a myth that on the otherside of the world, there is a party.
Darknessmatinee: There are no large cities
Anfaenger: The inhabitants of this world do not sleep alone
MaatRising: The oceans are underneath the surface where the mamals have evolved (dolphins) and thats where the party actually is
tiakall|Setting: The inhabitants of this world use organic tools.
sushi|mod: You go to this party when you die.
MattKinsi|Plot: The dolphins and the spiders are natural enemies
MaatRising: The spiders spin giagantic webs over waterways
Hype|Character: Dolphins and spiders are sentient beings
MaatRising: Dolphins surface to eat spiders (waterwalking)
tiakall|Setting: The spiders are vegetarians.
NaNolantaPanda: dolphins come in two colours
MaatRising: Purple and magenta
sushi|mod: Magenta dolphins are much rarer than purple ones
Loki: one color is good, the other is evil!
Hype|Character: Spiders hate the color purple
Joyce: The spiders worship the magenta dolphins.
MaatRising: Magenta ones rule because of class system
tiakall|Setting: Dolphins are genetically predisposed to collecting things.
Hype|Character: ^ shiny things
MaatRising: One dolphin collects dead spiders
Loki: it is the dolphin outcast
MaatRising: Their corpses turn silver
Darknessmatinee: The spiders are attracted to metals
Joyce: Spiders can’t swim
Loki: people live only to serve either the dolphins or the spiders
MaatRising: One special girl is chosen to unite all the races
tiakall|Setting: And time. This is an awesome, if slightly insane world.
tiakall|Setting: Okay, I think Sushi had a couple of questions!
sushi|mod: first from someone who didn’t say whether it was okay to use their name: What is best format for beginning to outline? Chalk board, flow chart? ideas?
tiakall|Setting: I would say whatever method works best for you. For setting, things like brainstorming and Worldbreaker work well. Or an idea cloud, where big overreaching ideas (transportation) spawn little ones (traffic problems).
judyblackcloud: I like flow charts personally. Write out what big events need to happen and then I work out how to move from one event to the next.
khaaaaaun: I’ve always wanted to try using a roll of butcher paper to plot out ideas, since I’m very spatially-oriented. Unfortunately I never have the space required. 🙁
tiakall|Setting: khaaaaaun: Have you tried sticky notes on a wall?
khaaaaaun: tiakall: Hmm… Will have to ponder on that.
Loki: the giant plot wall! that would be AWESOME!
Hype|Character: I like opening write or die and trying to brainstorm everything I can possibly think about setting. Then I try and work out any inconsistencies and I end up with more questions. Eventually I work them into my index card outline – I tell myself when to add in more world detail, so I don’t dump everything in the beginning
MaatRising: Likes that idea…brainstorming…
MattKinsi|Plot: I once planned out my entire novel on the back of a pizza box, but that’s for later 😀
Joyce: Idea clusters work well for me. I get too bogged down with formatting details to use outlines or flow charts.
sushi|mod: MattKinsi|Plot: When I do plan, it tends to be on napkins
roswenthe: I’m a lister, but I often look up news media and see what is headlining, then just brainstorm off ideas I see
judyblackcloud: oh, brainstorming out everything is a fantastic idea.
judyblackcloud: Best advice: keep something to write on with you at all times (little tiny notebooks anyone?) cause ideas are sneaky and like to pop up in the car, at class, work, shower, 3am, etc. Be ready to catch them.
Joyce: Notebook and writing implement is critical!!! Like Judy says, you never know when an idea or detail will pop up.
quix: like when you’re driving down 78 – not fun 🙂
MattKinsi|Plot: I get ideas while driving. I do the voice note on my phone and chat away.
tiakall|Setting: (3:35:28 PM) MaatRising: So tia Urban Fantasy includes what seems like present but isn’t?
tiakall|Setting: Most of the urban fantasy I’ve seen falls under present. For example, if you’ve read the YA novel series “The Alchemist”, it features two teens that get dragged into a fight between an immortal guy and another immortal guy who wants to summon a dark lord. When they get temporarily dragged into a god’s realm, of course that’s entirely crap-made-up. However, when they’re running around the real world, the author doesn’t have t
MaatRising: Tia- yeah I get it that’s my situation. They go back and forth
tiakall|Setting: with present, even in urban fantasy, you can “default” to the real world on a lot of details. With crap made up, you have to consider it, even if you just say “okay, people have one sun here, too”
sushi|mod: from Joyce: How important is it to know all the details of your world (like whether there are spiders) if those details don’t become part of the story? [okay to use name]
tiakall|Setting: Joyce: It’s not important to know every detail, although some people (Hi, Tolkien!) like to plan to the last and it’s what they enjoy. I do think that small details can make a world, so if you don’t want to consider every aspect, consider what would be relevant. For example, if your character is a botanist, consider plants and their uses (for example, what plant teas do people like?)
judyblackcloud: I think it’s important to know those details because it makes the world real. You never know when you need something in the story and a spider crawling over the protag’s foot might be perfect.
tiakall|Setting: Judy: Yes! Little details can make a fantasy.
Joyce: Actually, that question got me to thinking about a lot of things in my world.
NaNolantaPanda: Knowing a little more allows you to take advantage of a bit of situational serendipity …
Joyce: If I have “this”, I need “that” to make it plausible, sort of questions.
Hype|Character: I agree with Tia’s answer to Joyce’s question, but in some cases I do like knowing more detail. I think it’s good to continue building your world even as you’re writing
Loki: it makes it easier to write if you have a more complete world, cuz you get lost in it better!
Hype|Character: With NaNo, I try and keep a separate doc for any world-related details. When you go back and edit, you can check against it and make sure you haven’t contradicted yourself somewhere (ex, spiders don’t exist, but one appears)
tiakall|Setting: Hype: And some people love to worldbuild, so naturally they do. If you’re pantsing a fantasy world, though, you may not have the brainpower to contemplate everything.
judyblackcloud: Yeah, don’t get caught up in stressing about the little details during a first draft. Those are things to work out as the drafts progress too.
sushi|mod: Okay, let’s wrap up setting, and then Hype|Character will be up with character discussion!