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Slow: Worldbuilder Playing

My word count will be sluggish a few days. I needed more worldbuilding time. When writing a book set in the future, there are so many things to take into account. Food, clothing, society, government, population, medicines…

My urge is to burn my way through without the base work because the story is alive, the characters pulling me in. But the setting in a dystopian is a MAJOR part of the story and will dictate what happens when. I have a lot of it done, but realized I’d left some important parts out.

So, I’ve backed up to do more of the important base work and I’m loving it. Answering one question raises another, so my notes are intense. I’m putting together photos when I can find them and am considering drawing a map.  Turned out the city I’d planned to set this in might not work, so I’m also eyeing land levels in various cities. 

Once this is done, I’ll do up a setting outline. When I’m ready to hit the daily word goal again, I should sail past each one because the leg work will be in place.

I do enjoy the research part of writing quite a bit. I own a lot of odd books, but my favorites are ones that feature settings.  In Dweller, I’d come across this excellent book by a naturalist in Florida who loved where he lived so much, he gave details down to the color of a slug that crossed his path. I usually subscribe to local magazines, too. 

But the best research these days is on the Net. Blogs and Google Earth.

Part of Dweller is set in a swamp and the people who live there love the place so much, they blog about the plants and animals they see. They blog about how hot or cold a day is or what scents float on the breeze. In Foretold, I used Google Earth so much, it felt like I’d walked the entire town.  When (being positive here with the when) Foretold sells, I plan to take a road trip to double-check the notes because the setting plays an important part in the story. Plus, I really want some pictures of me next to a specific landmark for my website. Trust me, one particular landmark featured in my YA trilogy is sooo cool. <g>

So, here’s a tip. Check out the sale books at Barnes and Noble every single time you go.  You never know when you’ll stumble upon one of those obscure nature/city books written by someone who lives and loves their subject. These books are more precious than food.


  1. April 19, 2010    

    Google Earth is glorious. I am using it for ‘Forged in Blood’ and it’s like I am in West Virginia. Nothing like it. It would be amazing to take a trip to the US and then go all the places the characters go, which are around 99% real.

  2. April 19, 2010    

    I’m the same way about the trip – if my novel sells, first place I’m going is up to Maine to make sure I got the details right!

    Worldbuilding in advance is so important; when I try to start a story without knowing the setting, I get superstuck. With my WIP I know enough to fill in some things, but I’m getting better at just leaving a blank to fill in details later so I don’t get so stuck.

  3. April 23, 2010    

    Ohh, I love dystopians. Is it a YA? UF?

    Lots of comfort food to you for the world building.


  4. May 7, 2010    

    Melanie, I’ve found a bunch of comments in my spam and this was one. Probably too late, but it is YA dystopian. 🙂

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