Friday, February 15, 2013
When writing, I tend to get pretty easily distracted. When I say distracted, I don't mean the typical distractions that take you away from your work like surfing the web or hanging with friends (although those happen also). I get distracted by other random ideas so my writing gets pretty heavily tangental quickly. If I don't have a definitive topic already decided before I get the urge to start writing, it all goes to hell.
That being said, some of my tangents have turned into the more interesting aspects of my story. allowing myself to immerse myself in the world I'm creating may lead to a mixed-up bag of random thoughts, but some of those thoughts (through sheer statistical probability) end up being really fascinating to me. I'd like to briefly share a couple of these ideas largely because I think they are cool.
I have always been a huge fan of the Romans and gladiators and the whole idea of having an arena battle, so when I started considering how my main cities would be built, I couldn't help but throw an arena in one of them to let people fight to the death. The arena I plan on incorporating into my world (although not necessarily into the story) will bear only the slightest resemblance to the classic Roman Coliseum. I have no interest in having slavery be a part of my world and I'd rather the arena be viewed as a place where warriors can go to showcase their talents rather than as a place where good men go to die.
As my story progresses and the world begins to change, so too will the arena, but for more info on that, you'll simply have to be patient!
When trying to decide how my world and the universe it resides in functions and came to be, I decided to try working out some creation stories. Although I know how the world was actually created, cultures throughout history have tried to rationalize their creation through a variety of creation myths and legends. My decision to create these stories was largely due to the fact that I thought it would be funny to see how badly I could actively misinterpret the world from a particular race's eyes and it evolved into a study in how we as people think about our surroundings. It also has the added bonus of helping me better visualize how each of the races approaches the world.
Political Strife and the Second Arc:
I first came up with the basic concept for my story in sophomore english class in high school where we were told to write a short story. We could write about anything with a few restrictions. Our character had to have a name, we had to give the story an ending, and there needed to be a specific plot. Being who I am, I decided I would try to write a piece that met none of the criteria, but was still moving and interesting. The outcome was a five page piece that ended up getting a 98% and sparked the idea for my current book. Initially all I could decide on was how I would start the book, what the ending would be, and who the antagonists were. Beyond that, I didn't have a clue and have spent the last few years trying to actually make a story out of the bare bones of an idea I had.
As I continued to work, I continued to read a variety of books and became disenchanted with the hard ending most books had. I didn't like the idea that once the hero won, the story was over and everyone was happy. I wanted something different! I originally wanted to make a second story to follow how the world put itself back together after such an extreme catastrophe. This has recently morphed into a political intrigue piece that has really taken on a life of its own.
Wait, Seriously, A Third Arc?:
One of my issues with many stories is the speed at which the MC picks up new skills and eventually masters them. The Eragon series is definitely a culprit of this where Eragon becomes immensely powerful very quickly. While the author had an explanation for it and I understand why it needed to be done, I still didn't like that he had reached a high level of mastery so quickly. I was left wondering where he would go with his training after the story ended. If the skill was so easy for him to pick up, why hadn't more people became immensely powerful?
This, combined with how I am handling the magical components of my world, necessitated that I extended the story beyond the initial confrontation so the readers could see the progression of magic as it permeates the world and what becomes of those with and without power. I have always been fascinated by the struggle between normal people and gifted people whether it was in Harry Potter or X-Men, the topic has always interested me, and being able to approach the topic in a world that has already been established was too exciting to pass up.
The Bandit's Guild:
This particular idea is probably the one I am most excited about including in the world. I have recently picked Skyrim back up and began looking at it through the lens of a writer rather than just a gamer. While the vast majority of the game is definitely not transferrable to my world, I really liked the idea of the guild system and I just didn't see why bandits in the game were always so stupid and unorganized.
I had started a document basically just to get down my thoughts on banditry without even meaning to relate it to my book, and quickly found myself considering just how perfectly it could fit and how it could rationalize some encounters I needed to have in the story. It then grew from there into an organization that spread across the continent and was so well organized they probably had a better economic system than the cities I had created.
Any time I sit down to answer a question I have, four more pop up and this world continues to grow by the day. I'm really interested to see where all of these branching ideas go, and I'm really just hoping I can rein them in and make a cohesive world without it spinning out of control.