Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

  1. #1

    Default Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Title says it all. Heck, is it possible to subconsciously build your world more cohesively than you'd realize at first?

    This is it. Korra's curtain call.
    My Tumblr

  2. #2
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,906
    Blog Entries
    61

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    They should really go hand in hand. Good characterisation and plot is informed by good world building. The best world building is done sneakily through characterisation and plot. Obviously, the more inventive and original the setting, the greater need there is for expository world building.
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week XLV: Gym Leaders

  3. #3
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    3,580
    Blog Entries
    66

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    ^ This.

    A good story will have good characters and plot and will successfully flesh out the world the character and plot exist in. I will say though, that all the clever worldbuilding in the world won't help a story if the characters are bland and the plot is boring.

    Coming Soon...

  4. #4
    Yes hello I still exist. Oblivion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Antarctica
    Posts
    5,590
    Blog Entries
    48

    Follow Oblivion on Tumblr Visit Oblivion's Youtube Channel

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    The bane of my existence as a writer is that I'm able to come up with really awesome worlds and environments, but then fall flat in the delivery of those worlds in a way that diminishes the overall effect. Worldbuilding is the foundation of the pretty little house that is your fanfic, while the plot is the walls and the roof and the rest of the structure.

  5. #5
    Legendary Pokemon クリスタル's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Digital World
    Posts
    516
    Blog Entries
    5
    Follow クリスタル On Twitter

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    ^ I support this one.

    Especially if you are writing original story set in original world, the author should have a basic understanding of the world before one started to build the plot and characters.

    But, only the basics at the beginning is enough. When one had decided what kind of story one wanted to told, and what characters are involved in the story, author can then go into the deeper world-building if necessary.
    "人には知らない世界はそこに存在する、そして人には知らない冒険はそこ に始まってる"
    Chapter 1: 謎の世界の生き物、闘うトレーナーたち
    MY PROFILE | AUTHOR'S PROFILE | PIXIV PROFILE

  6. #6
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    a house
    Posts
    1,376

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Yes, for the love of everything that is good and right in the world, YES.
    Actually it goes like this:
    1. Character
    2. Mood/Tone
    3. Setting
    4. Plot

    It's good to have all sorts of story ideas, but given how long fics can be, write like you're writing a TV show you expect to go six seasons (and a movie). Create well-defined characters first and foremost. Then worldbuild with them in mind. Build locations towards big moments for the characters, rather than making a cool looking lighthouse and then plopping the characters in it for a big battle. In life not everything has meaning, but in fiction, everything does.

  7. #7
    Your mind is a world AetherX's Avatar Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    1,386
    Blog Entries
    1

    Visit AetherX's Youtube Channel

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Yes, for the love of everything that is good and right in the world, YES.
    Actually it goes like this:
    1. Character
    2. Mood/Tone
    3. Setting
    4. Plot

    It's good to have all sorts of story ideas, but given how long fics can be, write like you're writing a TV show you expect to go six seasons (and a movie). Create well-defined characters first and foremost. Then worldbuild with them in mind. Build locations towards big moments for the characters, rather than making a cool looking lighthouse and then plopping the characters in it for a big battle. In life not everything has meaning, but in fiction, everything does.
    Although I totally agree with you about creating cool locations with worldbuilding in mind rather than plot, I still think that plot is ultimately more important than setting. I can think of several examples in fantasy. I've encountered tons of people who aren't huge fans of the Lord of the Rings books since the way the story was written didn't really pull them in. And yet, I think everyone can agree that Middle Earth is an epitome of worldbuilding. Skyrim is another example. It's a beautiful world with rich history, and yet the plot and quests completely fail to take full advantage of that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Heh, well I don't consider Middle Earth to epitome of worlbuilding. I give this honor to Malaz, though it is mostly because I really enjoy the world and its history. Following that, the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock's fiction or the setting of the Conan stories. I think Robert Howard did a great job at conveying his world through character and plot, mostly due to the limitations placed on pulp writers back then.

  9. #9
    Your mind is a world AetherX's Avatar Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    1,386
    Blog Entries
    1

    Visit AetherX's Youtube Channel

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    You don't consider a whole world imitated by an uncountable number of fantasy worlds to follow, with tens of thousands of years of history and multiple complex languages to be an epitome of worldbuilding? I'm not saying it's my favorite fantasy world, nor THE epitome of worldbuilding, simply AN epitome of worldbuilding.

    Either way, my point still stands.

  10. #10
    Me am stalking bug Instrutilus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,222
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    I've constructed a universe around my planned stories, with all worlds having their own histories. But the main thing about world-building is how it affects the characters. For example, one character is a prince whose country started an infamous full scale war that resulted in the present day union between the countries in order to prevent that happening again between those countries. The war also had the effect of giving a new empire the chance to expand and become as productive as the kingdom that maintains the union, which is a very bad thing.

    This all affects the actions of said prince, whom flees to the kingdom and hides among its people to avoid his tyrannical father, who was raised during the war and seeks to rebuild his country's standing (aka, take over the other countries) and helps with the populous after seeing what war does to them. Basically, the world affects the characters, so build a world that compliments them.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    You don't consider a whole world imitated by an uncountable number of fantasy worlds to follow, with tens of thousands of years of history and multiple complex languages to be an epitome of worldbuilding? I'm not saying it's my favorite fantasy world, nor THE epitome of worldbuilding, simply AN epitome of worldbuilding.

    Either way, my point still stands.
    Not at all. That world and its legion of imitators are, despite the tremendous amount of work put in, very bland. If the setting is bland, then all the work put into is time wasted. It is a case of "work smarter, not harder." It is an epitome of how to not build a world, perhaps. That is kind of an epitome of worldbuilding, in a way.

  12. #12
    I'm fabulous! Kimberly Prescott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Gender
    Transgender
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    473
    Blog Entries
    1
    Follow Kimberly Prescott On Twitter

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    The thing I don't like about Middle Earth as a setting is that it seems like every god damn area aside from the Shire is depicted in the most depressingly boring and drab way possible. Imagine Call of Duty, but in book form. I don't picture color when I think Middle Earth, I picture washed out brown. Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but there weren't really too many interesting locations aside from Helms' Deep, which by definition was a dark, depressing hole in the ground.

    I'll be honest, I found the town from The Giver to be more colorful when I pictured it, and that book was about a utopia where color didn't exist except to the one person chosen to bare the weight of all that makes people human.


    "I prefer Arson, Murder and Jaywalking myself." - Lord Kyuubi

  13. #13
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,906
    Blog Entries
    61

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eliza Prescott View Post
    The thing I don't like about Middle Earth as a setting is that it seems like every god damn area aside from the Shire is depicted in the most depressingly boring and drab way possible. Imagine Call of Duty, but in book form. I don't picture color when I think Middle Earth, I picture washed out brown. Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but there weren't really too many interesting locations aside from Helms' Deep, which by definition was a dark, depressing hole in the ground.
    I wonder whether that's a side effect of Tolkien's prose. I remember quite a few passages of description from The Lord of the RingsI love, but Tolkien being Tolkien, he was never a master of pacing
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week XLV: Gym Leaders

  14. #14
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    a house
    Posts
    1,376

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Instrutilus View Post
    I've constructed a universe around my planned stories, with all worlds having their own histories. But the main thing about world-building is how it affects the characters. For example, one character is a prince whose country started an infamous full scale war that resulted in the present day union between the countries in order to prevent that happening again between those countries. The war also had the effect of giving a new empire the chance to expand and become as productive as the kingdom that maintains the union, which is a very bad thing.

    This all affects the actions of said prince, whom flees to the kingdom and hides among its people to avoid his tyrannical father, who was raised during the war and seeks to rebuild his country's standing (aka, take over the other countries) and helps with the populous after seeing what war does to them. Basically, the world affects the characters, so build a world that compliments them.
    I agree with this. I'm hoping to created a series of shared-universe stories, too, defined by the characters and their actions, and the ripple effect their good and bad decisions have. For my first story, the main character travels to a region I've created, but I try to see the region like aspects of her personality, reflections of her inner conflict. Even the way the cities look could be determined by her mood at that point in the story. Not literally in the universe of the story, but in how I describe the city. Even the region's government has symbolic significance. Especially because I'm doing it in first person POV (because I'm insane).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

    Although one could argue that world-building is less important than the characters and story, in my opinion nothing should "come second" to anything. They are all very important and you should put as much effort as you can into all three; there is no good reason not to do so.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •