I know this is going to surprise you, but I played Dungeons and Dragons. I will pause to let you collect yourself from the shock. You back?
I feel it was my enjoyment of D&D that really sparked my creative side. I would spend hours reading the different module and guide books, reading the background of every character and monster they contained. My character was not just a collection of numbers and item lists, I wrote backstory and history.
I also remember being drawn more to the role of dungeon master than adventurer. I would find joy in drawing maps of dungeons, castles or wildernesses. Place that my adventures would need to go in order to get the prize set before them. I populate these maps with the characters and monster that I read about, I would even invite some of my own if the perfect obstacle was not to be found in a book. I spent more time planning out an adventure than my friends and I actually spent playing it.
It was that love of world building that led me to other areas of creativity. I was constantly making my own board games, Marvel Risk anyone? I even made a Dragon’s Lair board game were I drew all of the screens and the player had to choose which way to go and their decision would reveal a new drawing.
Eventually I turned to comic books, both writing and drawing them. I then moved on to computer games. All along the way I would write stories. So naturally I am now committing myself to writing novels.
Finding an outlet for my creative mind has been awesome. I feel like there is an unlimited canvas for me to paint my mind’s images on and invite others to enjoy them with me. I have no limitations on what I can write about or who I can write about.
All this freedom is causing a problem for me. When I start world building I can’t stop. My mind wants to fill in every aspect of the world in which my characters live. From the room they are in to the galaxy that holds them, my mind wants to put it all down in words so that my readers will want for no detail. But I am finding that this is slowing down my story telling. Isn’t the world just the setting to tell the story? Isn’t the story the reason we write?
I also find that once I have stopped creating one world another pops into my head and I want to start building that one. I have at least six worlds in outline form waiting for me to send adventures through them. My hope is that I can focus on the world I have built for my NaNoWriMo story and ignore the others for the month of November. Please tell me I am not alone with this affliction. If you find world building distracting you from story telling, how do you turn it off long enough to tell about the characters that inhabit it.
Well, I am off to try and complete my WIP before November starts, and I’ll tell you what, the world of my current WIP is cool. There are so many stories I could tell about the people and culture that it seems a shame to tell only one…
Until next time…