Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! Another short one this week, due to busy life and recovering from a cold. Much better than last week but I’m hoping that my plugged up ear isn’t infected. *crosses fingers*
So, what’s today’s subject? Combining Changes!
If you’re writing a short story then one change is usually enough to build a world on. In a short story you just don’t have the time or space to develop really big concepts.
On the other hand, if you’re writing a novel or, better yet, a series then you will have the room to do really huge worldbuilding changes. But it can be a hard thing to come up with really big changes to the world. So, how do I address that?
Well, I combine changes. Let’s take Muirin because it’s a really different world.
I started out with the desire for 1) women having adventures and kicking ass, 2) men wearing petticoats, and 3) a lower technology level. I had a vague desire for the world to be matriarchal, for there to be inscrutable aliens and for there to be no magical healing but it wasn’t anything specific yet.
The matriarchal structure and women having adventures fit together really well. I just needed to figure out how to make that happen. Human culture is profoundly patriarchal, after all, so I needed to introduce some big change that made that happen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see a way to make it work on Earth.
That’s where the inscrutable aliens and lower technology level came together to make the next big combination. If I posited that Muirin was an abandoned colony world, one that had lost their technology and link back to Earth, then I could have that lower technology level. And with inscrutable aliens I could posit that they’d somehow altered humanity so that women were larger and stronger while men were smaller and weaker. It was a bit hand-wavey but it worked.
Then I could have the men in petticoats if I combined a long period of time with the lost colony world concept. Giving Muirin 15,000 to 20,000 years of insolated development meant that they could evolve into completely different social forms, allowing me to get petticoats on men. Which was just fun and fit with the gender role flip I’d done.
From there it was a matter of building the details of the world through research, stories and lots of thought.
Generally, anything you want to do in a story is possible if you give it enough thought, combine enough ideas and do your research. And if you can present it well, convincingly, then readers will enjoy your idea.
So, if you have a wild idea that you want to make into a new story ‘verse, say dragons living everyday lives with humans, see what ideas you can combine to make it not just plausible but convincing. You might be surprised just how easy it is to create a world that’s uniquely yours and a blast to explore.
(And if you write the dragons living normal lives with humans do tell me–I want to read it!)
I hope that you enjoyed reading this. Please do ask questions if you have any. I like sharing my world building but writing these takes time away from writing stories that I could publish. Thus, it would be greatly appreciated if you would consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these columns. Thank you very much!