Thursday, June 17, 2010

world-building and other weaknesses

...or maybe i shouldn't say weaknesses so much as things i have to work at, because they don't come naturally.

not every writer is good at every element of storytelling. some writers can plant plot twists and revelations on the page with barely a thought. some can spin similes and metaphors so unique you don't even notice the device in use. personally, i like to think i don't suck at pace or voice, and occasionally i come up with an original concept or unique characters.

but there are important parts of storytelling that i have to work harder at - some very important parts.

world-building, for instance. as much as i love reading fantasy or dystopian stories, i shy away from writing them, because i find the world-building involved overwhelming. i have a hard enough time keeping track of world-building in my contemporary stories (like making sure my characters aren't having a whispered conversation, when i placed them a football field away from each other).

something else i struggle with? - plot.
kind of important.

right now, i have two decent plots (beginning-middle-end) that i should be writing.
instead, the only words that are coming to me belong to two characters with no story. if i keep writing scenes for billy and dane, pretty soon i'm going to have an entire book of scenes strung together with no story. but i just can't bring myself to work on anything else... because i'm drawn more to my characters than to my story lines.

what about you?
do you rock at endings but suck at dialog? are you great at keeping up momentum through that murky middle, but terrible at creating emotion on the page? what are your strengths and weaknesses?


Nomes said...

Oh, I suck @ world building too. I find it boring :)

Also, the whole escalating tension, raising the stakes and mind-blowing climax? I find this really hard...

Caitlin said...

I often find that my characters are just standing there, talking to each other. Just huge slabs of dialogue that keeps the plot moving, but they themselves are just stuck in the one room, discussing something in detail.

Don't worry too much about the world-building - some of the best stories are constructed with subtle hints and passing references. :)

bclement412 said...

i'm not great a world building either, ha. wish i was though

btw you have an award on my bloggy:

erinjade said...

so glad i'm not alone in my imperfection! thanks all. the important thing is not that we struggle with some elements of writing but that we work harder at them. :D

bclement, yay! thank you! i'll pay it forward today.

Nathan A Smith said...

World Building does take a lot of time but it is one of the things I love the most about writing.

Infact I think it is the main reason why my stories never get written, I spend too much time building the worlds in which they exist lol.

I hope you manage to get your plot points sorted out.

Simon C. Larter said...

My CPs are always telling me I need more emotional depth in my characters. And maybe some scene-building stuff. I don't tend to pay attention to setting.

Who needs emotional depth? *I* don't have any, so why should my characters? :)

erinjade said...

haha Simon! that almost made me spit soda out my nose. :p

Nathan, i'm so jealous!

Nathan A Smith said...

Hehe thanks =)

What is it about World Building that you find difficult? Is it simply about where to start?

As it is one of my passions I love being able to help people with it in any way I can. Maybe I could give you some help?

erinjade said...

you know, it's funny. i don't know if it's difficulty or disinterest when it comes to world-building.
i think the issue is more about which elements draw me in as a writer. i am compelled to write because of my characters or because i like seeing a concept become a story. i don't get as excited about world building.
i DO get excited about reading it though! :)

erinjade said...

oh, and i just saw the website you're working on! i'll be checking that out once it's launched. looks cool! :)

Nathan A Smith said...

lol well, I always say you have to do what you love, especially as a creative person. It's soo easy to become drained.

Thanks about my website. I had hoped to have it launched by now but unfortunately Uni and Work got in the way lol. My aim is 1st of July, so just a month behind schedule.

BTW I like the concept for your novel named Butter. Does he do it or do we have to read the novel to find out? hehe.

erinjade said...

haha. nice try. you most definitely will have to read it. ;)

Nathan A Smith said...

aww shucks! You'll have to get published soon then! ;)