Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Accidental World Building

I woke up the other day and realised something: I have created a world. Which sounds, when I put it like that, as though I have been very busy with a welding torch and some gaffer tape, and now keep a small planet on top of my wardrobe. What I should actually say, I suppose, is that I have ended up, quite by accident, creating a story universe for things to happen in that exists in my head beyond the scope of just the stories set there.

It's not a big place yet, and not that detailed, but certain key places keep cropping up in my writing. For example:

Nether Wrexford. The place that started all this nonsense, really, and which I wouldn't have made up if I hadn't needed somewhere to replace the word 'Hull' in one of my novels. A quintessentially English small university town, it is briefly described in one spot as having 'all the charm of a multi-storey car park'. Also seems to have weird stuff happen there. A lot.

The Plains of Infinite Desolation. Made up for a joke about EU employment law. Now my default setting for evil castles/overlords.

Hive. Apparently a city full of giant ants. Vaguely inspired by one of Bill Bailey's comedy songs.

Corner. One of those inevitable cities where dozens of other dimensions impinge. As they do in so many fantasy settings, though no one ever seems to consider the consequences of this sort of thing, like the difficulty of popping down the shops for a pint of milk when you might end up somewhere else entirely. Or the need for a Guild of Extreme Cartographers, inventors of the art of origami mapmaking.

Varansburg. A small town pretending to be a city. Home to the most dangerous dungeon P.Edgeborough and co. have ever designed, full of spiked pits, scything blades, and groups of skeletal worriers. And yes, I spelled that correctly.

Ok, so it isn't much of a universe yet, and it also runs into the rather large problem that I have used Nether Wrexford as focal points in two rather different series, but what surprises me is that I have done this at all, given that my default setting is 'create the right environment for the story'. So what about you? Have you ever created a world more or less by accident?


Mesmerix said...

The more I write, the more I find these things happening.

Sounds very cool, Stu. I'm particularly intrigued by the Guild of Extreme Cartographers. Sounds like a sweet (and dangerous) job.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

There are days when everything I do feels like an accident! Good luck with your new world.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Some say, I'm an accident about to happen... My writing likewise. Never a dull moment.

It's a great thing to have an imaginary world - even if it sits upon ones wardrobe ...

I thoroughly enjoy your writing style by the way. Will have to find a spot on my bookshelf for your novel I feel.

Christina said...

Can't wait to read the story when you get it done. I love the title of your places. The "Hive' would be one city I'd skip visiting, but I'd love reading about.

N. R. Williams said...

Yes, I have an entire populated earth that is in another dimension but was created here by the continental shifts. Gil-Lael is the main country in my high fantasy. Sorry I haven't been around much. The first three weeks of October I had a sinus infection and then strep throat. Aggravating!
N. R. Williams, fantasy author