If you read Katie’s blog on Tuesday, you’ve learned that we’d recently moved. Not far (in fact, we just took over a different space in the same building), but that didn’t make it any less of a headache. Still, it needed doing. And, more importantly, it gave me a protracted metaphor for the worldbuilding process!
So in moving, we had to get the largest items in their proper places – I suppose it’s rather like feng shui? You first figure out the layout and flow of each room and then place smaller and smaller items in order to make it feel harmonious.
The worldbuilding process is actually quite similar. You always start big.
For Katie and me, it started with a core idea – an interplay between art and magic. Specifically, the notion of color having power. From there, every other aspect had to follow. What would the cultures be like? What did each color represent? These and a million other questions followed, and we had to constantly check back with our original idea – we had to make sure everything flowed.
Katie and I decided that we wanted to make our living room into a tabletop gaming space. Looking at the room, we then had to sort our furniture and belongings accordingly. The couch went along the far wall, with the back to the picture window. There was no need for a TV, but we definitely wanted our largest table to be in the space – no more D&D on folding plastic tables. We had to have a bookshelf for source books, as well as our trunk of board games.
If our story was to be about a world where Color is Magic, then everything must accommodate that. Economics – how would the price of things like paint be affected? Religion – what kind of iconography or ritual would the various cultures use? Politics – how do you regulate a world where literally anything could be enchanted, potentially as a weapon? Technology – how would technology advance in such a world, so different from our own?
I could go on, and at some point I will, but I don’t want to give away too many specifics. Well, actually, I do, I love talking about our story, but that’s beside the point.
Everything has to flow. The space you’re building has to be coherent.
Don’t put a toilet in your living room.
Thanks for reading.