Knowing what is around the corner – Worldbuilding and Storytelling

Stories mimic life like certain insects mimic leaves and twigs. Stories are about all the things that might’ve, could’ve, or would’ve happened, encrowded around and giving density and shape to undeniable physical events and phenomena. They are the rich, unseen underlayer of the most ordinary moments. – Mary Gaitskill

I often think of writing in this manner, especially when I lose myself in the story. I love to think of these fantasy settings (and sometimes some of them closer to the real world than I would like sometimes, but I cannot control my muse!) as places that might’ve been or even do exist! Occasionally I even act as if I do believe in things such as fairies to help me write. It enables me to imagine what they are and how they fit into my story. If these places are real (if only in my minds eye) then they have more depth and more substance.

Simon told me something that Patrick Rothfuss once said, and I am paraphrasing his (Simon’s) paraphrasing here, but the jist of it was that he (Rothfuss) imagines the entire world, but may only write a part of it. He loves to world build and an essential part of his writing process is knowing what is around the corner, even if his characters never see it. For him to write them in that moment, in that alleyway, he has to know what it around the corner. One street may be written but he has built an entire city in order to realise it in the story.

I absolutely understand this method and I love it. Rarely do I feel in control of creation, characters do what the hell they want most of the time, but in my solitary writing I do channel that creativity into something that resembles a plot and coherent story – I hope!

Roleplaying is not dissimilar and I have found that having filled in many of the gaps Bioware left for Thedas (which they are filling in themselves as the series continues and we have discovered that we are spot on or not far off at all! It is kinda cool really) that writing in the world is much easier. I ask less questions when writing because I know what is around the corner.

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