Worldbuilding: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Their Story

So, as the heading suggests, I’ve been listening to Hamilton of late.  Which, as would be natural for me being me– leads me to think about worldbuilding.

Because just about everything makes me think of worldbuilding.

One thing I usually advocate, in terms of worldbuilding, is you should never make the world to only support one story.  A good world is bristling with stories all around, including and especially in its history.

For example, does the “primary” country in your setting– i.e., wherever your protagonists are from– does it have Founding Fathers?  (Or mothers, or co-parents, or what have you.)  Do you have a sense of how it got from people smacking rocks together to the country it is now in your story?  Do you know who the people are who helped shape it that way, and the whats and hows and whys of that shaping?  Who are these people, and also who gets to define the narrative of what they did?

And not just the George Washingtons (i.e., the big central leader of an event), but the Thomas Jeffersons, the John Adamses, the Alexander Hamiltons and the Aaron Burrs of that history?  In the case of Druthal, there are The Grand Ten– ten people who are considered crucial in shaping and forming the modern Druthal.  And, of course, as with any history, just looking at The Grand Ten is a gross oversimplification of complex and nuanced events. The Grand Ten is something of a patriotic story Druth tell themselves that glosses over the human story underneath, casting united heroes where it was really a bunch of people who ended up doing what they thought was right that ended up serving a common goal.

Now, I’m not saying you should write a whole different novel about the founding or building of your nation.  But maybe, just maybe, make sure that the possibilities are there that you could.

I might have some outlining to do.

Well, yes, I definitely have outlining and drafting and editing to do.  It’s a busy month in a busier year, and I’ve got to get on it.

See you down in the word mines.

One comment

  1. Marshall,
    Funny thing for me this week, I was at my writer’s group and they were critiquing a trunk novel that I want to rewrite using the first draft as the outline, but using all that I have learning about writing and plotting since. They pointed out that the fantasy country I was moving my characters through didn’t seem to have a history. And I thought of world-building and I thought of you and one of my writing teachers, Holly Lisle. Your regular talk of world building and descriptions there of have place you at the forefront of my world-building thoughts. Perhaps you’ll be part of that history! 😉

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