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Lupis
05-24-2005, 03:45 AM
Hi all,

just a quick opinion question. I'm having a real ball creating a mythology and genesis for the world of my tailoring but have run into a potential problem. How much is too much? I've started to create a glossary for my own work as a reference to myself and have found that I perhaps have a little too much material when I really in no way have really started the story. I want to avoid indulging in my own pleasures of developing a history/culture/theology to much which may take away from my actualy story. Basically, is there a limit by which one should make sure they don't go too much indepth into detail that really has no significant bearing in the genre of epic fantasy?

Thanks!
Lupis

whitehound
05-24-2005, 04:02 AM
Don't overburden the story itself with unnecessary detail, but you can scatter information thinly through the plot, and maybe sometimes have footnotes.

If you've really thought out a whole world set-up then you can put all the background in an appendix: many people enjoy that. The background section in CJ Cherryth's Angel With the Sword is something like a sixth of the book!

This can be a good move if you think your world setup would be suitable for RPG-ing - lots of background leads to the game of the book leads to extra royalties.

tjwriter
05-24-2005, 07:23 AM
It's always good to know the entire background of your world, but you don't always have to share it with the reader during the story. It makes you write better to know all the little details.

DaveKuzminski
05-24-2005, 07:01 PM
Still, it's a good idea to keep a list of those background ideas, rules, premises, and such so that you can avoid embarrassment later. For example, readers love to catch mistakes such as when writers put something in without stating the rules and then learn that they had an identical situation earlier that voided the rule. So, having a list should help the writer avoid conflicts in the rules that govern the world.

SeanDSchaffer
05-27-2005, 06:35 PM
Hi all,

just a quick opinion question. I'm having a real ball creating a mythology and genesis for the world of my tailoring but have run into a potential problem. How much is too much? I've started to create a glossary for my own work as a reference to myself and have found that I perhaps have a little too much material when I really in no way have really started the story. I want to avoid indulging in my own pleasures of developing a history/culture/theology to much which may take away from my actualy story. Basically, is there a limit by which one should make sure they don't go too much indepth into detail that really has no significant bearing in the genre of epic fantasy?

Thanks!
Lupis


If the world is modeled after your personal tailoring, then why shouldn't you indulge in your pleasures of developing history/culture/theology to a major extent? Just because you have all the unnecessary details within your mind or on paper, doesn't mean you have to put all the unnecessary details into the story itself.

I have found in writing my present work, were it not for many years of developing the society and the culture of the world I'm writing about, I would not be able to write the story to my satisfaction. This is because I've tried to write a story in such a way before, and failed miserably: I did not have the little-bitty details down-packed before writing my work. Had I, several would-be stories within my filing cabinet would have been ready to ship to a publisher several years ago.

So definitely, putting down all the little details--though they might seem somehow 'wrong' to you as the author because they're not in the story itself--has its advantages. So maybe you should build the world to your satisfaction, with its religious aspects and culture, its government and whatever else you can come up with. It will take quite awhile to do, I know, but speaking from experience I believe it will give your story more authority than if you did not indulge your personal desires to build the world first.

sunandshadow
05-27-2005, 09:18 PM
If you are writing actual (preferably short) myths, you can put them in between chapters of your book to help immerse the reader in the culture. Then you can have your characters make allusions to the myths without bogging down that scene to explain what they're talking about. Ursula LeGuin's _The Left Hand Of Darkness_ and Donald Kingsbury's _Courtship Rite_ are two examples to look at. If you're going for more of a fairy-tale feel, the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena and the graphic novel series GloomCookie might be better examples.

I'm working on my own mythological/astrological system as part of the worldbuilding for my novel; I have defined part of my pantheon and some particular myths, but I haven't decided yet whether I'll actually write out the myths and include them, or whether their content would be too redundant with what goes on in the main story.

kappapi99
05-28-2005, 02:22 PM
I think doing that would really help the story...it would help you keep everything straight, and to the reader things would seem more "real" even if you do not include the mythology in its entirety.

It's not exactly the same, but for a sci-fi book I have written, I had to come up with my own "physics" mind you I didn't start from scratch, it does need to be plausible, but I did not want to copy star trek or star wars, either, so I had to come up with a consistent means of getting through every day situations. Creating your own mythology for a fantasy book is very similar, and, in my opinion, half the fun! :)

KP