November 25, 2020, 02:43:26 AM

Author Topic: How much world-building is too much?  (Read 1036 times)

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2020, 08:20:34 AM »
I have this problem with Senlin Ascends. I've forced myself to drop and pick this up multiple times and have managed to reach 30% and it's been all 29.9% world building and 0.1% beginning of a plot. We haven't even gotten into the plot yet. The writing is nice, the world rich...but then without actual plot progression, it's just not gripping me at all.

Kinda my problem with Senlin Ascends as well. Although since the more I read about it the more I find that world ludicrous and unrealistic in the worst of ways, which kinda contributed to me dropping the book.

Offline David A. Werling

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2020, 03:45:08 PM »
I have this problem with Senlin Ascends. I've forced myself to drop and pick this up multiple times and have managed to reach 30% and it's been all 29.9% world building and 0.1% beginning of a plot. We haven't even gotten into the plot yet. The writing is nice, the world rich...but then without actual plot progression, it's just not gripping me at all.

I put this aside for that very reason.
“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”

Dragon Slayer's Kingdom, available in ebook or paperback

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2020, 04:16:41 PM »
I have this problem with Senlin Ascends. I've forced myself to drop and pick this up multiple times and have managed to reach 30% and it's been all 29.9% world building and 0.1% beginning of a plot. We haven't even gotten into the plot yet. The writing is nice, the world rich...but then without actual plot progression, it's just not gripping me at all.

I put this aside for that very reason.
I read this one to the end, but I'm not interested in reading the rest of the series.
It's almost as if each level of the tower was a new book, with a ton of world-building and explanations, and not so much plot...
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Offline Caith

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2020, 10:48:34 AM »
As soon as a character in a book says something like, "As you well know...", I know well that its time to shut the book and never open it again :)

I prefer books that make next to no attempt to overtly explain how the world they're set in works. Or even better, just drop in  a few intriguing bits to get you guessing. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is a good example of this, that I read recently. The glimpses of the world it gives leaves you wondering what is going on and it makes you want to keep reading to find out.   

World-building, to me,  is like scenery and props in a play. Good to have around but I wouldn't  go and watch the play just to see them.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2020, 11:05:41 AM »
As soon as a character in a book says something like, "As you well know...", I know well that its time to shut the book and never open it again :)
I've actually been noticing this a lot in TV series - and I'm watching one episode per week, so I can just imagine how grating it must be for people watching lots of episodes in a row (side note: I hate the word "bingeing" for this)
Give your watchers some credit and assume they remember the basics...
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Offline David A. Werling

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2020, 02:18:06 PM »
World-building, to me,  is like scenery and props in a play. Good to have around but I wouldn't  go and watch the play just to see them.

For me, the world building came first due to it being born from a paper-and-pencil role playing game, so I have a lot of scenery to draw from, including maps, exhaustive notes, preexisting characters, a pantheon, and even rival philosophical systems (i.e. "archanism" vs. "fideism") that touch on the origins of magic. I have over a hundred pages of notes on the philosophical school of "archanism" alone. I have over sixty pages of notes on the "Seven Greater Gods" and "The Eight Gods of Darkness", and excerpts from holy books and historical tomes. This doesn't even begin to the scratch the surface on what I have regarding the various magical beasts, and their origins, the history of the various realms and monarchies, cities, and races.

It's great to have this stuff to consult, but I use it mostly just to ensure continuity in the story. For me it is easy to remain consistent because I already have a fully flushed out "scenery", and those notes are a godsend. It's easy to forget place names and schools of thought. Descriptions of cities and lands are for the most part already written, so that turns out to be a huge time saver when I need to inject those things into the story (with a lot of re-write!).

That being said, between the first novel and what I have so far for the second, it amounts to a grand total of (and this is estimate) only 7000 words pulled from the notes. I'm surprised at how little I actually pulled from those notes.

I think it always best to allow the reader to imagine, rather than me being pedantic. I try to provide detailed explanations only when it is absolutely necessary to the story. For example, most people in my world of Prav don't trust the "Knights of the Circle of St. Cuthbert" because of a long history of deception and secrets spanning the course of three hundred years. The readers don't need the forty pages of details I have in my notes; the reader just needs to know that most folks think these knights are "hedge witches with swords."
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Offline bdcharles

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2020, 09:25:30 PM »
On a scale of none to Gormenghast
;D
That's one of the "classics" that's been on my list, but I never could bring myself around to read it... I remember picking it up at the library, taking a peek and putting it back on the shelf...

I'd agree with Rostum. It's slow and ponderous, but there's something about it. The slowness contributes to the incredible crushing weight of tradition that infests the castle like damp rot. There is a sense of never being able to explore the whole place, which is about the size of a small dukedom. It is huge and ancient and will persist.

Oh, and the names are to die (again, slowly) for: Groan; Prunesquallor; Flay; Steerpike; Sepulchrave. In that, it has been very influential for me.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 09:29:24 PM by bdcharles »
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Offline eclipse

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Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2020, 11:31:58 AM »
I have this problem with Senlin Ascends. I've forced myself to drop and pick this up multiple times and have managed to reach 30% and it's been all 29.9% world building and 0.1% beginning of a plot. We haven't even gotten into the plot yet. The writing is nice, the world rich...but then without actual plot progression, it's just not gripping me at all.

I put this aside for that very reason.
I read this one to the end, but I'm not interested in reading the rest of the series.
It's almost as if each level of the tower was a new book, with a ton of world-building and explanations, and not so much plot...

Guess it just me and @Skip reading this series . The  first half of book one was a struggle but from then on out I really enjoyed it.
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Offline Neveesandeh

Re: How much world-building is too much?
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2020, 10:06:02 PM »
I really liked the Books of Babel and I had to skim read Titus Groan to finish it. To this day I refuse to touch the next one. I guess we all have our own tastes.