Chronicles of Ghadid Trilogy, Draft Zero, Unnamed (Book 3), Writing, Writing Tips

Worldbuilding: Layers of Paint

Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

For the longest time I labored under the impression that most writers sat down and spent a few weeks building their world(s) and then they were done. This notion was fueled by the way a lot of writers talk about worldbuilding, especially when it comes down to the details: you gotta know this, you gotta know that, you gotta take this into account, you gotta cast your stars across the sky and meticulously describe their patterns and spill sand across your deserts and account for every grain – all of which was implied necessary to have in place before you could begin crating the story itself.

There are certainly writers out there who do exactly that, and do it successfully. But in my experience, worldbuilding is less a single act of creation and more a continuous layering of paint.

Side note: check out the world’s largest ball of paint. At the heart of that beast is a single baseball. The rest is layers upon layers (upon layers [upon layers {upon layers}]) of paint.

You have to start with something, yes. A canvas of some shape for your paint, be it actual canvas or a baseball or a soccer ball or perhaps, a moped. But then you start writing, and that’s where the layers come in.

Layer upon layer upon layer, you build your world. Each draft another layer, each revision another layer, each edit another layer, until you’re dabbing paint here and there and that original baseball or moped is so buried as to be invisible and it looks as if you’d planned the story that way all along.

But looks are deceptive and it’s easy to gaze upon others’ finished works and pretend they’d been that way all along. Yet I can all but guarantee there’s a sports object somewhere under those layers that doesn’t look much like the end product.

Case in point, I was still tweaking minor worldbuilding details as I read through my copy edits for Book 1 and am still adding to the world in book 3. It could easily be never ending. Thank goodness for deadlines, amiright?

*

Here’s current progress on Book Three, working title The Unconquered City, the story of an assassin turned monster hunter who’s really sick of people threatening her city. Now with more! magic fights, adoring crowds, and messy laboratories.

Project: Book Three, Draft 0.5

Deadline: August

Current word count: 41,216 / 80000 words. 51% of the way there

 

Cups of tea: 3

Cups of tea, IRL: 23

Sunny days: All of them

Sunny days, IRL: 1

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