Writing fictional history

I thought I was going to be writing horror a few weeks back (Thank Zeus that never happened). I’ve returned to my fantasy setting and I’m not feeling all to rushed. Which I’m quite happy with. I’m attempting to fill my notebooks with lore. I want to have a fully fleshed out world before I begin writing a novel. In this sense I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

I began working on a world with a friend of mine and I felt very rushed to start writing and getting a full novel out. I went hard for a few weeks and burnt out. It’s not how I write. I like to take my time to create this fantastical world, placing every grain of sand delicately and appropriately. And right now, I’m so in love with it. Creating history, the heroes of great battles, the back-stabbing, the love affairs and the bonds created in these times. I find it quite difficult though, because in order for me to have a timeline, I need a family tree, in order to have a family tree I need a map of my provinces showing which family belongs to what province and for that I need a timeline. I find myself jumping back and forth in between these sub-projects and it’s great. The characters that are birthed and how they’re interacting with others has become so magical. Authors speak of you being the first reader and I totally agree. I feel as if I’m just sitting here and experiencing my world as if I were watching a movie.

How I develop my fantasy world

When ideas for my world come to me I’ll most likely be sitting listening to music, walking, reading or watching a movie and an idea pops into my head. Not something that is always original but something with a twist to it. Once this happens I race to my room and begin my frantic typing session. My story starts, I meet the character. Learn about where he comes from and who he interacts with. Getting multiple angles within your story of your world does wonders. This has helped so much in creating my world. Some of these characters could be ancestors of a present day character or a hero of long ago. Me learning about these characters, that may not have a chance to take the drivers side of my story gives me the opportunity to flesh out things such as: foreign locales, poetry and songs that are common in my world, new systems that have been established, ancient wars/struggles and so on.

Something that I’ve picked up on the way is that planning is key! But don’t get too hung up on it. I find it hard to wake up and say, “I’m going to fully commit to completing this section of my world.” It’s easy to know what you need for your world to exist. But what is pivotal: fresh ideas!

This has helped dramatically. I’ve had to revise: maps (too many times to count, honestly), characters and outcomes of scenarios often, but what has started to shape is a very strong, organic (and I hope fresh!) world.

This video is for creating a D&D Campaign. Very helpful tool!

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Write your interesting scenes first

I watched a video by Brandon Sanderson last summer and he talked about writing your strongest scenes first.

Today I found this very useful. I can spend so much time in between my important scenes, just describing a forest or a drive home. 3000 words later nothing has really happened except for “they get home”. So today I’ve been writing the parts that make my story the story that it is. Of course when I go back I’m going to have to change things, but that’s what editing is for.

Unfortunately I can’t find the video because most of his lectures are huge. But if you have some time to kill and you’re interested in writing Fiction (Especially Fantasy/Sci-Fi) check out his lectures.

Game of Thrones rant: Ned Stark

My problem with the character of Ned Stark:

He is an very honourable man and believes strongly in standing up to corruption and defending the weak. During Robert’s Rebellion Lannister men killed Prince Rhaegar’s children and brought them wrapped in cloth to Robert so that he knew their bloodline was broken. Ned was disgusted by what had happened and thought Robert had shamed himself in the process.  After the passing of Jon Arryn (Roberts Hand), Ned knows Robert will come and ask him to be the Hand of the King. He does not deny Robert because “he gets what he wants” but he still remembers the orders that Robert had given during the rebellion.

Fast forward some of Ned’s time in King’s Landing. Ned discovers the incest between Cersei and Jaime and their illegitimate children (Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella). After finding this, he calls Cersei to the Godswood to warn her. He tells her to flee King’s Landing with her children and the rest of her family. His goal was to prevent the death of the children for he is an honourable man. Which I get, but did he not understand what would happen?

Ned would have known that even if Cersei had fled there still would have been a war. Cersei leaving King’s Landing with her offspring of incest would have angered Robert (we know this because Ned wanted Cersei to flee with her children for fear of his wrath being brought down on them). This would most definitely have led to Robert wanting their treasonous lives. Tywin being the richest man in all of Westeros would not willingly give up his two eldest children (leaving the dwarf as his heir). After Tywin denies his request, war would ensue. With a war comes death, not just to soldiers, but to the common folk and their children (shown in Clash of Kings, Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows).

Here’s a link to an interview of G.R.R.M talking about this

(Sorry I don’t know how to embed it)

Thanks for the read. I’m working on a short(ish) story at the moment and I hope to have a chapter out by this weekend. If you’re interested in fantasy/short stories I’ll be posting the first parts of my books gradually, when my drafts aren’t so rough.

-Cody