Worldbuilding and other writer/reader links

Mighty God King, who’s been working on an online comics series, discusses worldbuilding and argues that writing about your world beyond what you need for your story are a luxury, not a necessity.
Generally speaking, I’d agree. Endless details about the world just bog the story down as far as I’m concerned—though as I note at the link, I may be a minority in this. Robert E. Howard, for example, in Phoenix on the Sword, doesn’t divulge anything about the past of Conan or Thoth-Amon beyond what’s needed to make them interesting, or make the story work.
On the other hand, Brak the Barbarian suffers precisely because John Jakes doesn’t build his world much—as I said here, we have no idea what Brak’s homeland looks like, whereas Cimmeria, Conan’s bleak, frozen home, is sketched out in Howard. So I think it’s a judgment call: It has to be consistent, it has to feel right, it has to make the world sound believable, but beyond that, it’s up to you (I may not like it if there’s heavy, heavy building, but obviously lots of fans do).
In my recently finished Affairs of Honor, you know wizards are basically military weapons in Europe, something the new American Republic wants to do differently. And there’s a tossed-off reference to “wizard’s privilege” in England. But there’s no detail on how wizards are trained, whether it’s inborn and so on and so on. For the purpose of an 8,000 word short story, I think I tell enough. If it was a novel, you’d get more from me (once I figure it out).
More thoughts on world-building in fantasy from me here.
•A Writer’s Digest article on the endpoint of your book.
•As you may know, Apple and several major publishers were involved in a deal that would block retailers from undercutting Apple’s price for ebooks. Penguin has now followed the other publishers in offering the anti-trust regulators a settlement.
•An agent says the emotional hook is essential to snagging his interest with a query letter.
•A journalist friend of mine told me recently her father was involved in the Los Angeles Times’ original computer-newspaper services back in the 1980s. At the time, “videotex” bombed due to the limited number of computer users who had modems to connect to an online newspaper. Some industry analysist predicted there’d never been a market for such things.
•Shannon Thompson on switching perspectives when switching POV characters.
•One of the major obstacles to reselling digital material (songs, ebooks) is the option to sell a copy and keep a copy.
•And then there’s censorship: Apple has announced it won’t allow storefront apps to sell copies of Saga #12 because the comic book has adult content (male-on-male oral sex is apparently the issue).

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Reading, Writing

One response to “Worldbuilding and other writer/reader links

  1. Thank you for the link, and great piece here. Loved the comparison of the two different characters and how it can contradict advice towards writing. Always a great aspect of writing (to look at advice and the exceptions.)
    ~SAT

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