Satsumaimo7

Worldbuilding-How do you narrow down ideas?

8 posts in this topic

Hello hello! So I'm relatively new to worlbuilding and learning how to find ideas among the everyday. I just wanted to ask, how do you guys narrow down your ideas to successfully worldbuild? I've been doing brainstorming sessions, but I end up with so many ideas and possibilities that I feel more overwhelmed than I did before I started. I don't know how to pick which way to go; there are so many things to make decisions on, I just feel I'm going to make a mess of things down the line 

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Posted (edited)

Try starting from one premise and then checking each new idea for compatibility.

Edited by Karger
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I usually have a lot more wordbuilding then shows up in the story. That's fine. Have as much as you want, cut what doesn't follow the story, or the other wordbuilding, add more as you go.

It's just important to remember: You don't have to use all your worldbuilding in the story. Don't overthink it and make the story boring, just to show that these things are there.

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The best thing is not to narrow down your ideas but to train your mind to juggle larger and larger numbers of ideas at a time. When you reach that stage, you will be able to build entire universes (meaning: sets of local religions, lists of named wars, categories of spells, linguistic flows, species of plants and animals and elsewise, and so on and on and on) at the drop of a hat.

(I'm not joking, btw. The filter at the end of all this is: you'll just have to up and make a choice as to which built world you want to actually commit to paper at some given time.)

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I think focusing on the elements that are the most interesting or lead to the most dramatic conflict, whether with your characters or plot, is a good way to narrow the focus of your worldbuilding to things that make a good story.

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Thanks everyone for the input! There are a lot of helpful tips in there :)

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And then there's the dice roll. If your story is seeming too familiar, you can always choose a random abandoned element and force yourself to make it work as an agent of chaos to freshen up your concept

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I tend to be with Dan on this. I tend to (but not always) invent the tip of the iceberg to the point at which I think it's convincing that there is a whole iceberg beneath it, then I stop and move on. I've got pages to write, I don't have time to spend a year creating a world that I'm going to use 5% of.

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