Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Progress By Any Other Name

I realize that while I am brainstorming for the New Project I don’t have a word count to report, so I will talk about my worldbuilding progress. I worked on brainstorming and worldbuilding every day the past week, in between work and packing.

Even though I don’t have a rough draft to show for this work, I have instead the phases of both moons worked out, the lay of the continents, a rough idea of the climate, and loads of thoughts on the economy and how magic works on my planet. I am drawing a picture of my main character, drawing a topographical map of the world, and figuring out how the political structure of the country the main character is from works.

It’s important for you to count progress of all sorts, not just a word count. If you don’t keep track of your worldbuilding or researching progress you’ll feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in the mud. Or worse, you’ll get bogged down in research or worldbuilding and spent two weeks on details that will probably never make it into your novel.

While I have vague ideas for a plot, I know where I want to set the New Project. I have a really clear feel for the setting, and it excites me. I have included some pictures (courtesy of Free Digital and Wikicommons) to show you want I am talking about. The country is going to be cold, and icy, and have a vast expanse of boreal forests. There’s green meadows, and craggy mountains scratched out by glaciers, and a geothermal hot springs.

I plan to move onto developing the language and some of the culture today, but I am not feeling well, so I might not get as much done as I was hoping.

What do you guys do to keep track of your various bits of book work? The stuff that can’t be easily categorized?

1 comment:

  1. I do measure my progress by word count, so when I start world building, if I haven't already been writing, I tend to dedicate the entire day to world building. That way, I don't say "I only wrote 1000 words that day, but I did some world building too." I say, "That was a world building day."

    Conversely, I expect days after world building days to have solid or even above-average word counts because the world being more built should have clarified any unspecified details that had been slowing me down previously.

    Does that make sense?

    If I had any drawing ability whatsoever, I'd probably spend a lot more time on world building. I would draw maps of worlds and cities and maybe even characters. As it is, I rarely even scrawl border lines any more. I just put words of relevant locations within a document and position them in relative position to other locations. The map for my WIP is a text file. It has the positions of the twelve duchies of Reliarach at the top and the positions of the five city districts of Kilrachen at the bottom. That's enough to let me keep details straight when I write about characters moving from place to place.