Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I've got a new hobby

Before I start today's post I need to point you in the direction of the lovely Meagan Spooner's blog. It's her birthday and to celebrate, she's buying one of her lucky readers a book. Someone needs to explain to Meagan how birthdays work, but go and see her anyway and recommend an awesome book or two. I suggested two fantasy series. One of them was the series I'm currently reading (as recommended by Techno when first we met). It's the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams. All I'm going to say about it is that it's fantasy, of the 'Swords and Sorcery' type and up til now it's been awesome. I've only read The Dragonbone Chair so far. The others are Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower. This last is split into two parts, Siege and Storm in the UK, and parts 1 and 2 in the US. Techno tells me that the books just get better and better so I can't wait.

There is a connection to my new hobby, I promise. This series I'm reading, along with The Pendragon Cycle I read before it, a fantasy series by Stephen R Lawhead, based on Arthurian legend, made me want to create my own fantasy world. I can see you rolling your eyes and saying 'big deal, all writers do that'. I've done it myself, plenty of times; but this is different. This time it's not a means to an end. I've no thoughts of writing a novel at the end of it. As much as I love fantasy, there's no way I could write a good story. I want to go way more in depth than I ever have before. I've started writing a list of things I want to know about, education, religion, politics, food, transport, entertainment, weather conditions and so much more. It's going to be something I share with the girls. Diva will be creating the maps and drawing the races of people based on my descriptions, and Blue is going to help me create names and languages. Even Techno has joined in, discussing different ways of building dwellings and water irrigation systems. (Don't ask, we know how to have a good time !)

I can see this taking months, as we have to do all that for each race we invent. At the end of it, hopefully, we'll have a fully realised world (or country, at least), populated with people we know everything about, in a land that holds no secrets for us. And for what purpose? Absolutely nothing, except that we can! I've never created a fantasy world before, most of my previous world building has been for the SciFi genre so this is something new. I'm going to try not to spend too much time on it, my 'real' writing has to come first, but everybody needs a hobby right?

So what do you think? Is this a pointless exercise? Is it weird (as one friend suggested) that the whole family are getting involved and there's going to be no 'pay-off' at the end, or is it worth it (as I pointed out to her) just for the sheer fun of it? Have any of you ever created a whole fantasy world? Anyone got any tips?


  1. I think this sounds wonderful. It reminds me of the Bronte sisters creating their worlds of Gondal and Angria. I'm sure the family will really enjoy it and you'll probably generate loads of ideas for writing too

  2. Just remember that Tolkien spent his entire life creating Middle Earth, and he still never finished. Still, it's the most awesome fantasy world ever invented, so it was worth it.

  3. That sounds fantastic, and loads of fun!

    I've never done any world building, but since my editor is constantly telling me to put in details, I reckon I'd be rubbish at it!

  4. Not weird at all! The crazy indepth world building makes me think of Tolkien. Sounds like fun too :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    p.s. James Mcavoy...YES!!!!

  5. I think anything that gets the a family together is worth the amount of effort involved.

    I have created several worlds that I have never used for writing. I think just the act of creating and thinking of what a world is like is good. It also makes you think about all the details in our own world that we over look some times.

    Before I wrote my novel I did a very in depth world creation. Not down to the level you are talking about. But I only ended up using about 10% of that work in the actual novel. I think it was worth it because it made the world seem more real to me.

    I Take the Pen

  6. It will be worth it. Just from the research alone you will have a better understanding of how things work and function. This will translated into your writing and make it more real for your readers.

  7. Thanks for the contest shoutout on your blog! I love your recommendations and am definitely going to have to give it a try.

    And for the record, I've been making stuff up for fun (not even for writing!) for about fifteen years now, and it's NEVER stopped being fun. It's also never once been a waste of time. I say have fun, and keep us posted!

  8. In no way would I ever consider creating a world for a hobby a pointless exercise. You may surprise yourself, actually. The world may come alive and--voila!--you've written a whole series. Have fun!

  9. Yeah, imo it's a bit weird, but all hobbies are, aren't they? If you and your family are having fun, then I don't think it's a waste of time.

  10. I've never done anything like this before, but any excuse to hang out with family is a good one!

    Hope you're doing well!

  11. Sorry it took me so long to leave you a comment!

    I don't think it's weird at all. You're a writer, creativity comes naturally to you. Plus, who knows, maybe you'll discover a whole new book idea from the world you create. I say go for it!

  12. Definitely worth it. Think of JKRowling, JRRTolkein, AAMilne etc etc...
    Enjoy it. :O)

  13. Oh my gosh, world building is an art-form in itself. (But must be really cool to do)
    Good luck!

  14. In my first novel, I had to write a few scenes set in the future, and I had SUCH fun with it! In a way it's a license to let your imagination run even wilder than usual :o)

  15. It sounds like fun! I don;t think any creative endeavor--especially a collaborative one-- is ever pointless. (=

    I'm hugely into a series of historical fictions (Outlander series) and it makes me want to write historical fiction-- it combines so many of things I love!

  16. Joanna - Hello there, and yes, you never know!

    Matthew - I hadn't thought of that. It's a good job I'm thinking of this as a long term thing :)

    Talli - I'm the worlds worst at details. I'm hoping it'll be easier without having to think of a plot as well ;-)

    Sarah - YES!!! indeed!

    Krista - Will you use that world building in another story do you think, or start a new one?

    SBJones - I hadn't considered that, thanks.

    Meagan - 15 years, awesome!

    Alleged Author - It would be lovely, but I'm not great at the beautiful description that so many fantasy novels have.

    Patsy - I'm pretty sure 'weird' is my family's secret name :)

    Lauren - Hello there! Indeed, I'm just glad my girls haven't outgrown hanging out with us yet :)

    Sara - Welcome to you, and never any need to apologise!

    Madeleine - I love that you included AA Milne in that list :)

    Jennifer - I'll let you know ;-)

    Karen - True - If you make it up, you can't get it wrong!

    Jo - Go for it!

  17. No exercise that stretches your imagination pointless.
    It sounds exciting to me.
    Also, thanks for following my lovely spouse's blog.
    She hit 100 followers last night, and she was soo excited.

  18. That sounds like a great project! And if it's fun for the family, it seems like that would be a kind of pay-off in itself. :)

  19. Life 101 - I'm glad your wife hit her 100, and I like her blog :)

    Golden Eagle - I totally agree with you. Not everything can be measured in material worth :)

  20. I think it sounds great. Hard work, but great :)

    You may find that at the end of it, you have achieved something you maybe haven't thought about at this point. Wishing you lots of luck with it and I'm looking forward to hearing how you are getting on with it.

  21. Sounds fascinating. I bet at the end of this world you're creating, you'll have some ideas for a novel.


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