ZONK! Task Massiveness Slams Into Author!

Follow that by a rueful wince and the fierce rubbing of the head.

See, I only do bits and pieces of any culture that I do. I work on my culture as I write, too, so the task never becomes overwhelming, and I add things in a mostly-organized method, so I never think about how much there really is. Over time, multiple series of books, and many, many cultures, I have used all the techniques I know to slide into the skins of the folks I write about. But I never use all of them in one culture. I use a lot, but not all.

However, when I present the culture clinic, I have to assume that any given reader does not know how to use any of these cool approaches to culture building, which means that, in some form or another, I have to present all of them. Coherently. Succinctly.

Which means I have to include:

  • outlining, dialoging, drawing, songwriting, general arts, applied arts;
  • tech development, science development, town development, religious development, community development, family development, philosophy;
  • social splitting and cohesion, derivation and innovation;
  • founder cultures, eruption cultures, transmog cultures, linear cultures, fracture cultures;
  • transportation design, clothing design, housing design, public and community space design, tool design;
  • caste and place, power allocation, gender roles, public and private variance….
  • And on, and on, and on

Thank God I already did the language stuff (which is the single most critical and biggest boost the writer has for culture development). That was supposed to be a chapter. It became a book. There is nothing in the rest of this stuff that I can afford to split off into separate books. It all has to be gotten through in one go.

I got so slammed by this as I started in today that I ended up taking my office curtains of the curtain rod and tumbling them in the dryer, just to get a break from the crashing in my head.

You need this stuff. It’s what makes a paper world breathe. You’ll never need all of it at once, but you’ll always need some of it, and the stuff you need will be different for every culture you make. I have to get it. I have to nail it. At the moment, I’m just blind to HOW.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

6 comments… add one
  • Chassit Oct 4, 2006 @ 22:21

    Wow, Holly, that’s a massive project, but if anyone can pull it off, I know it’ll be you. I bought Create a Language Clinic a few months back, and most assuredly, I’ll buy this one too! I believe in you!

  • BJSteeves Oct 4, 2006 @ 13:07

    I’m looking forward to purchasing this! As usual, I’m pulling for you.

  • hollylisle Oct 4, 2006 @ 12:26

    Rose—Wrede has excellent questions up there. She doesn’t suggest that you answer them all, or even most of them, before writing, however, and I would vocally second that. The only purpose answering all of them beforehand would serve would be to allow the writer to procrastinate indefinitely.

  • The English Rose Oct 4, 2006 @ 11:45

    We have faith in you, Holly! Question: What do you think of Patricia Wrede’s Fantasy World-building Questions? Can one really do them all *before* doing anything else? I don’t think so… Just wondering what your opinion of them was.

  • PJ Oct 4, 2006 @ 11:13

    We know you can do it! 🙂

    Good luck! sundart and I have our pom-pom’s ready!

  • sundart Oct 4, 2006 @ 9:45

    Good luck with it. I’ll be cheering for you!

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