Thursday, September 20, 2012

Worldbuilding: Skip the Travelogue Plot. Just Write the Honest Travelogue.

In my worldbuilding efforts, I'm often trying to think of new ways to present the information about different places in dynamic and interesting ways.  I've considered the wiki route, writing things up as if they were being presented in a dictionary. 

My problem with that was narrowing the perspective, figuring out authorship.  Perspective always has some bias, and even if the author is coming at things from, say, an academic perspective, it will still have bias.  Even the attempt to maintain neutrality can create bias: it depends on who the author is.

This is my longwinded way of saying I attempted to write my worldbuilding documents "neutrally", but I never felt that worked.

Now, on top of that, in having done so much worldbuilding, I was first struck with the urge to go full on travelogue.  As I've mentioned before, this can usually only give terrible results.  If your story is driven by where people go, as opposed to why they go there, then the plot is going to feel inorganic. 

Then it hit me: combine that urge with the exercises I talked about last time.  Instead of writing a travelogue plot, where I make some poor attempt to string together a plot that serves the purpose of going from point A to B to C, why not just create a small group of academic characters, and have them write a travelogue.  Journal entries of their perspective as they go from place to place.  No pretense of plot.  Just going around, experiencing culture, meeting people, trying the food. 

Essentially, the fantasy (or space opera, depending) equivalent of No Reservations

It wouldn't be a novel, of course.  Or even a short story.  It really wouldn't be more than for my own edification.

But, I think it would be a fun exercise.  And it would be useful in knocking these cobwebs out of my creative centers. 

Maybe, if I like them, I'll even post a few...

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