TLQ: Leveling Characters & Building Worlds

With Hunters having stalled in development, I’ve turned to what I can do for my other storylines.  I have very basic notes written down about what each is about, not to mention having numerous mental files.  There are eleven in total.  But unlike Hunters, the ideas for all of them weren’t coming to me.  What I needed was a process or a strategy to help them flow.

Luckily for me, it was around Nanowrimo time so the Writers guild on HabitRPG was going nuts with updates, links and resources.  There were more challenges put up and one of them was about the Snowflake method.  Curious, I went to investigate it, and lo and behold, huzzah!  Something that could help me.

I visited the website and read about the Snowflake method.  It seemed to have struck the right cord with me because immediately I started seeing the opportunities for character and world development for my stories just by reading it.  What I liked was the way it built upon itself, increasing in complexity with each step taken.  Feeling pretty confident about this process, I made a nifty little design document using the steps for each heading.  And with that I started working on each story.

So far all I’ve done is Step 1 for each storyline, but with that step, I discovered that there was a lot more I needed to work on.  Some of my storylines were lacking in directions, others had no ending in mind.  This was what I wanted to work out, where I had the gaps in my ideas and what I needed to work on.

Then, browsing through my Facebook feed, one particular post from a fantasy/sci-fi writers group I’m in had me concerned.  It addressed the lack of depth in some literary works – depth of characters, of their world, those clichés everyone seem adamant to avoid and yet still fell into the trap of using.  As a reader, I love stories that have a deep, believable world full of culture that challenge my way of thinking about people or the world.  I don’t want my characters or worlds to be called shallow.  Cliché, I don’t mind so much, but definitely not shallow.

To solve the character issue, I decided to find some charts that challenged me with questions about my characters that I would have never thought of.  With these, I plan to go through all my Hunters characters, giving them that little bit more depth.

Next I read about world-building.  There was one particular website (http://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/) that I found that had some steps towards building worlds.  Unfortunately it had a terribly formatted PDF that was hardly legible, so I spent the better part of a day doing my own version I could print.  Don’t let that deter you from using this site.  The content is excellent.  Reading it as I edited really opened my eyes on how I could make my worlds that much more interesting.  It forces you to think about how the world evolved, from planetary evolution to civilisation building and forms of government and culture.

Now I think about my stories in a whole different way.  At the moment I’m having trouble trying to slot the world-building into the Snowflake method so I can do them both conjointly and thus avoiding extra work, but it appears I’ve hit a snag with it.  Eventually I’ll work it out, and hopefully it will be for the betterment of my storylines, my characters and my worlds.

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