Everybody say it with me, “World building!”
Okay, I’ll admit, not everyone gets a thrill of excitement when contemplating creating a new world out of whole cloth, but there are some who live for it. People have been known to spend weeks or months developing incredibly intricate magic systems and fantasy worlds.
My best friend and I tried to write a high-fantasy novel when we were in first year university. Sadly, we were more excited about parodying current television characters with our elves and barbarians than creating a believable world, so while it was incredibly entertaining for us, the book as a whole didn’t have much going for it.
I went to a workshop on world building by Alyx Dellamonica because it seems that no matter how mundane a plot I start out with, something fantastical (sci-fi, paranormal) always creeps in. I’m beginning to fear my writerly lot in life will be to live and play among the infinite worlds of speculative fiction. (And yes, I am totally okay with that.)
This was a very interesting session because Alyx really put the ‘work’ into the workshop. We spent a good chunk of time brainstorming and writing. And writing some pretty darn interesting things, I might add.
She started us off with an exercise in building a paranormal story (and when the topic of vampires was chosen, I seriously considered sneaking out the back door – but boy am I glad I stayed), and after we agreed on some standard rules for our paranormal creatures, we each chose a new rule – something to set our vampires apart from the pack… flock… murder… bunch?
I was disappointed at the amount of resistance I felt toward the writing assignment. I like to believe I’m very open-minded, but I really had to work past a brick wall before I could start writing about vampires. However, once I had my twist on the ‘genre’ I found myself enjoying the exercise. I was stunned as the words started to flow and I thought to myself, “I can actually see myself writing this story to its end.”
We played around with some other genres and methods of delivering backstory as well. The whole session was highly informative and I came away itching to sink my teeth into a new world. If you have a chance to take a workshop with Alyx, I recommend it!