WAY WITH WORLDS:
By Steven Savage
Archives available at The Way With Worlds Home Page
When we build our worlds, we may know some fine details. We may know whys and hows and ifs and whens. We may know a thousand years into the past to explain the finest details. Even if our readers may not see some of the subtleties, its a lot of fun to know these things.
Then, when we write, we have a huge amount of data to call on - as I've noted before, you may even know enough that your stories almost write themselves. Knowing your world, your setting, can be a magical or even mystical experience.
However, it's very easy to miss something in the midst of writing the present and basing it on the past - the future.
CHANGE IS THE ONLY
It's easy when we make worlds to think of history as the past - but as we write, history is happening to our characters and in our setting. Our world and characters are changing - at least they should be.
Change is a hard thing to write in our worlds - easy to forget, easy to overdo, easy to do by accident. However, change is the very essence of writing - if nothing happens, you don't have anything to write about. All jokes that this describes too much literature aside, change is important.
Doing it right is the problem, and that's what this column is about.
ACCUSTOM YOURSELF TO
First and foremost, it helps to be aware that your world and all in it will change. This may sound overly simplistic, but it's easy to get lost - easy to push the reset button, easy to resist logical changes to preserve elements you like, easy to forget.
How do you get aware of change in your world? Well, we all write differently, but the best advice I've found is:
WRITE WITH CHANGE IN
When you write, make sure you're aware of what happens - consciously or unconsciously. Keep track of plot outlines, notes to yourself, reread your stories - know when change is happening or just happened in your last writing binge.
Always reread your material - and for more than just spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure there is cause and effect, make sure there is, essentially, history happening. If nothing happens, if you force your ideas down certain paths, it will affect the story negatively.
Be aware of the following:
TRAPS TO AVOID:
Aware of change or not, we can end up creating quite a few traps for ourselves. As I'm big on the "history" sense of writing, I've seen, analyzed, and even made these mistakes myself.
Be aware of history in your world and the pace of change. You'll find yourself with a more believable world and better stories and be aware of the vital element that stories are about change.