Taking Mr Davis’ advice

In between work, family and sports commitments, finding the energy and motivation to write has proved quite onerous.  Several months ago, I was at the other end of the extreme, having all the time in the world to devote to writing while the kids were at school and/or daycare, my wife was working to support my unemployed butt, and I wasn’t playing Rugby Union.  How the knife of life has gone from thick lathering to a much thinner spread.

In his awesome article, which I reblogged not too long ago, the very talented Paul Davis suggests not even writing your story.  Get the creative juices flowing by deepening your world, be it through the world itself or the mythologies that its people believe in.

I used the advice on my ‘Big Project’, and started the building of a new mythology for the country that is the starting point of Book 1.

As with all stories involving deserts, there is an oasis of abundance.  Several individuals break a widely- and long-held belief. These individuals come to be revered for their amazing and unique abilities.  They bring new prosperity to their portion of their adopted homelands.

And then it all goes to the pack when these individuals meet in a time of need, caused by everything from love triangles to belief schisms.

Was happy enough with the movement of the history, until I realised I already had written a myth for the world some time ago.

Two brothers, polar opposites of the other, manage to create an amazing world together.  One proposes balance, while the other is satisfied with a caste system that implicitly ‘ranks’ people.  They inevitably battle, and one has to leave forever.

There were links between the two stories and how they led to the foundation of Book 1’s country.

Questions:

Which myth should come first?  The Brothers or The Enlighteners?

Should there be distinct Ages to the country, and possibly the other countries in the ‘Big Project’ world?

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8 responses

  1. It seems we all got busy. Fortunately it let up for me for a while, but now that vacation is done, back to it.

    As for the myth, I found another useful thing: why does one have to come before the other? Why did either even have to happen? Different cultures could believe different creation myths. When you’re first starting out, you really don’t need to answer these questions. I plan on leaving my creation myths ambiguous as to their truth, while bits and pieces of each shows up in the world.

    Since I’m already giving more advice than expected! My world has different ages. It goes all the way from the beginning of time (though this will be very vaguely explained) to science fiction where they’ve started space exploration, though the world likely ends a little before any meaningful reaching out into the void. It allows a lot of cool things, like fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and even alternate versions of a modern day world. It’s a lot of fun and really allows for you to expand your repertoire while never having to heavily commit to the other genres included.

    1. The old failing of humans: it doesn’t just happen, something has to have caused it. “It just is, OK? Pipe down over there!” is not a sufficient answer for why things are the way they are. And if a good story explains it better, we have ourselves some mythology.

      Great way to keep your writing options open. Do you plan linearly, or make stories like puzzle pieces that fit within the overarching world?

      1. I just throw it in. Sometimes they’ll naturally fit in place. Sometimes they don’t. If they don’t, don’t force it. Let it float in the ether. Ultimately, it’s not a part of the story you’re actually telling, so it’s chronology doesn’t matter one lick (unless it does). Often times it’s just “In the era of x which spanned 1000 years, y happened.” Don’t really need to say when.

  2. The suggestion about building mythologies for the characters (in other words, backgrounds) is interesting, but not new, at least not in all settings. Actors are told to do so for the characters they will be playing, and end up imagining very complicated settings and actions which will never actually come into the play. They do a lot of research too, so I know that you could always switch fields if you had to, DJ! He-he!

  3. I’d say the Brothers should come first. Because they are kind of your Sky God myth. After that there’s plenty of room for small gods.
    Distinct Ages sounds great. It will really help you ground the setting as well.

    1. I approve of your logic, but neither the Brothers nor the Enlighteners are meant to be gods…. Oooh! Magic!

      1. Ahhh … not cultural gods either? I’d still put the Brothers first, because then it’s simple -> complex.
        But snap magic!

      2. Inspired by cultural gods, but not actual gods. And everyone loves magic, right? =P

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