World-Building (26/5/09)

I’m beginning to think this doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean what a lot of other people think it means too. Or else it doesn’t mean what I think a lot of other people think it means. In some contexts. Maybe.

Hmmm. Needs some Ming-the-Merciless beard-stroking this does.

More on this in the future, I think. In the meantime, anyone who thinks they actually know what this means, do speak up.

5 Responses to “World-Building (26/5/09)”

  1. Phil says:

    I think that world-building means the background of your story. I will elaborate since this is too elementary. I could say the legends, the people history, the geography, races, technology, ecology and so on but then you could have the same answer from wikipedia. I think that world-building (for fantasy literature) is creating a feeling of living a complete, “plausible” in it’s own sense and complete imaginary world. But then, what do I know? I’d like to read you thoughts on world-building.

  2. Phil says:

    Hum… wrote some errors… I mean : creating a feeling of living in a complete, “plausible” in it’s own sense and elaborate imaginary world.

  3. Stephen says:

    Yes, now the first part of that answer (history, culture, ecology etc.) is how I would have answered once upon a time; and then I read Name of the Wind, which sucks you right into its world without having very much of any of these. Not to say it has none, because that’s not true either, but it doesn’t have very much. What is does have is a way with words and narrative and carefully chosen description that pulls you (pulled me, at any rate) right into the world despite the almost complete lack of anything happening. There is an important lesson about world-building in that book somewhere.

  4. Phil says:

    I’ve read Name of the wind and I don’t fully agree with you on this. The book is great and I was pulled in, but I’m not sure that it’s really in the world that we are pulled in. I felt it was more into the action, the story and the character feelings. We don’t know a lot about the world outside the path of young Kvothe and it’s seems to be a pretty big world. But then, do we really need more? However, maybe I feel like this because I still have a more “classic” view of world building.

    As I understand your awnser, maybe that great world-building is giving the reader the sensation of being there by any necessary manner.

  5. Stephen says:

    Yes – the book pulls you right in, and it does it without very much “classic” world-building at all. it has as much as it needs – hints at histories and places, but that’s all. I think sometimes there is a confusion between classic world-building (as in a history, geography, races, cultures) with creating a sense of time and place that suck you into the world of the story. The two can be the same but one does not necessarily lead to the other.

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