marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,


One of the dangers of doing your world-building before you do your plotting is that there's always the danger of putting Too Much In.

You find it interesting, why shouldn't everyone else?

But while there are stories and successful ones too that revolve about showing off the world, there's limits to what you can do.

There's always the question of backdrop.  Like the fantasy maps where you know you will go to every simple named location on the map.  It's a pretty small world, no bigger than the book, if every single bit of it is in the book -- you need some parts that are just suggested, like blue mountains in the distance in a landscape.  History helps there but space as well as time are useful.  Plus only bits and hints make better local color to make the world seem concrete and detailed; there's a lot of stuff in real life you only see bits and hints of.

And, of course, the issue of dreariness. You get this with research too. I've heard it called "showing your work" and "I suffered for my art -- now it's your turn" but those are both bad names, as I concluded when I got back a story with the editor telling me I had shown too much of my research.  Which is impossible.  Since I had done no research for the story I could not have possibly shown more than none.  It was quite possibly a good complaint but because I had known a heck of a lot about both the Victorian era and the -- ehem -- Good Folk, so I could slither in quite a bit.  Apparently not subtly enough.
Tags: fictional history, local color, research, world-building: other

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