Friday, April 5, 2013

Writing "Guardian": Worldbuilding

When I thought about what I wanted to do as a writer, I told myself two things;

1: I wouldn't create a character that was well versed in literature (Or anything that I wasn't, really)
2: I wouldn't write anything that required extensive amounts of research. (as I am, admittedly, lazy)

With this project, however I have broken both of my rules.

My focus as an illustrator helped break this way of thinking. Art takes time and dedicated research- after all the things you illustrate need to look like those things. As well as that I, personally, tend to find myself obsessing over details- (animation training; it must be on model!) And really, it's just good sense.

Honestly, if I could go back in time and talk with my younger self I'd whack him upside his arrogant head and say "RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!"

With working on this story, it's a similar sort of process, except the end result gets translated into words (and probably some illustrations, I can't help myself I know) to the best of my abilities. I should have no problems finding where I need to go to get my footing and begin!

And yet...

Up until I began this process, I had been collaborating with someone. Other people had done all the framework, the broad strokes that allow people to get creative and pitch in- which is what I love. I love collaboration and sharing of ideas- nothing like a fresh mind to take you somewhere you didn't think you could go!

But here, this is my first project entirely of my own conception.
And that is absolutely terrifying.
But mostly terrifying.

It's overwhelming,  the seemingly endless possibilities of the beginning of any story. Literally, you can go anywhere you want and do anything.

For a while, I admit, I sort of froze at the immensity of the potential that lay before me.

You have to understand that, even as an illustrator with some creative leeway in the images, I still had rules to abide by set by the clients. After all, I ultimately need to make them happy of course.
But no, this, this is something new, and different, and entirely mine.


I realize that this has turned into a discussion about the concept of world building, rather than what specifically entails to the world that I am building. I think that's okay. It's worth talking about. Discussing process is important.

But in regards to myself and what I am doing, I can say that I have overcome this fear.
Much like how I tackle huge illustration endeavors, it's a 'one step at a time' process, lest I get overwhelmed.

As well as my new rule has become my mantra:
Does the story make sense?

More important than world building and making Cool Places Where Cool Things Happen™ is the story, after all, it's the end that I'm trying to achieve as a writer. In animation, it was drilled into us that the story needs to make sense and that everything in it was there to serve it, and the main character on his/her journey. So always, always when I've been on the verge of adding something new in my notes (my notebooks are getting filled slowly as my sketchbooks are...) I ask myself, "How does this serve the story/protagonist?" 

This is, again, because I obsess over the details. I mean, why give a character a silver pocket watch, mention it in detail down to the scratches on the surface, and never bring it up again if it doesn't serve them? I mean, it's a Cool Thing™ but why is it there? They probably don't even tell time with it.

If it's part of a larger framework however like, say, the silver pocketwatch is part of their possessions, it's of a rare make, and they have a few other pieces- rings, necklaces, earrings- then it begins to describe something about the character. Ie, that they can afford these things, or they are things they like to collect.
Or that they are a kleptomaniac.

One can get caught up in the details, but it's no good to get lost in them, then you risk loosing sight of what's important, I believe. 

This entry's getting long so I'll end with one final thought;
I'm edging towards another working title for this project but I'm not sure:
"The Fallen Gospel"

That's an entry for another day.

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