I’m feeling better, but the fiction is still not playing. I spend a lot of time dealing with the Wee Horde’s needs, even when they’re in school. Errands still need running, food still needs cooking, and the gears of domesticity continue to grind. I’m not the hugest fan, meself. And I’m feeling a bit ground. I say this every time Mrs. Dave travels, but this one feels different, and I’m not thrilled with it. But enough about that.
How do you build a world? For me, and for many writers, it’s a matter of noodling. I tend to maunder. My stories require certain circumstances for the scenarios to make sense, and I end up spending a lot of time thinking about how to engineer them with verisimilitude. It may be a failing, but none of the worlds I’ve created feel less real than our own. Less well fleshed out, with a narrow focus, sure. But they feel like places that could happen.
For others, they talk about things. I’m engaging in an experiment with a friend, in which we noodle out loud about first one of our projects, then another, and we’ve managed to improve the worlds to a surprising degree, and I’d highly recommend the process. With a couple of caveats. You have to follow the rules. When it’s not your turn, it’s not your turn. When it’s not your turn, it’s not your world. What it really comes down to is taking a cue from Socrates, and asking annoying questions.
In a space opera currently in hiatus, I have a system set up as an enormous junk yard. For untold centuries, this system has served as a dumping ground for ships and the detritus of the spaceways. And while it’s an awesome scene and setting, it’s got a few issues. How did this even come about? My understanding of the costs involved in more or less ubiquitous space travel argue agin’ it, honestly. This is a solar system full of derelict ships, parts of ships, space stations, and the species of servitor bots that keep it organized and prevent it from getting normal. And there’s a reason for that, but you don’t get to know it. (Sorry)
I’m more or less convinced that any world you want to build can be done, you just have to present a reader with good enough reasons for it. And “good enough” here doesn’t mean solid enough science, honestly. It just has to be believable. Even then, it really just has to be believable enough. Some of my favorite stories have wildly unbelievable initial bases, but they’re good enough to allow the story to get rolling. Of course, then, it’s all about keeping it going fast enough the reader doesn’t have time to go, “hey, wait a minute…” But pacing is a subject for another day. I need to get back to fiction, so there’s a chapter available for next week. I apologize for the delay. I hate it, but the best way to fix it is to take care of my other obligations so my frustrating meat computer allows me the mental space to create.