This last weekend was Salt Lake Comic Con, which is always a lot of fun. Usually I take time off work and spend all three days at the event, and it's always an enjoyable experience. This year, however, I did not take the time off work, and really only spent all of Saturday there, which means I didn't get to see and do everything I would have normally been able to see and do.
My work is not far from the venue, and my shift doesn't start until 1 PM, so I did take some time on Friday to go to one panel in the morning. There was one panel at 11 AM that looked interesting. It was on world building for Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers, and it featured Larry Correia, who is a bestselling author.
If you are not familiar with who Correia is, you can check out his website here. As he put it in his panel, he writes for boys who don't like to read and the men they grow into. I'll be honest, I am not super familiar with his books. I had heard of him before going to the panel and his Monster Hunter stuff is really well known, but I hadn't read it. After going to this panel, I did come home and download the first Monster Hunter book to my Kindle app. Sometimes that will happen. I will go to a panel, hear a speaker and decide I need to get familiar with their work.
The topic of the panel was world building, a topic he normally covers in 4 hours at other conventions and it was crammed into a 1 hour session at SLCC. I was nervous when I heard that, because I was worried that it would be too dense to get everything covered in such a short time. Fortunately I was wrong. There was a lot of good information and I was furiously taking notes on my iPad. Here are some of my highlights:
The Rule of Cool and Always Be Asking
One of the first things he discussed was his rule of cool. Think of something cool for your world that you're building, something you would think would be cool in the story, or your readers would think was cool. Once you have some aspect of your world that is cool, you need to start asking questions about it. Not just what makes this cool, but questions that will help you develop this aspect of your world, and ultimately the world as a whole.
I think the most important question was WHY. Why is this way? Why can't they just do this instead? These kinds of questions help you flesh out your world and make it feel more real, more lived in. It will also help you uncover some cool side stories that may lead to sequels or spinoffs. It was a really simple process, and I loved hearing him explain it. I think it will be very helpful for me in my writing.
How Much is Too Much?
I really liked his outlook on this topic. If you are spending so much time on the world building process that it leads you to procrastinate the actual writing of the story, it's too much. We are writers, our job is to write the story- that's what pays the bills- or should be- or hopefully will be at some point. This was a simple way to look at it. If it is keeping me from writing, I need to stop and write instead.
In this same vein he addressed writing as a career. He said if you treat writing like a job, like a career, it will eventually become that. If you treat it like a hobby, it will only stay as a hobby. It made me realize my mindset needed some adjustment. I want writing to be my career, but I don't treat it like a job at all. It is just my fun hobby. And that is how it will remain until I change my approach.
He also talked about writer's block, which he called lie we tell ourselves. Doctors can't have doctor's bock, they would get fired. We need to be more honest with ourselves on why we aren't writing, and stop blaming our "muse." I use writer's block as an excuse all the time, and now I know I need to stop.
Most of what he talked about, he said could be found on his site in the Best of section under the FAQs. In that same section, there are a lot of his posts about the whole writing process. Lots of information I will be personally following up on.
This panel was really what I needed, especially as I get ready NaNoWriMo in about a month. Sometimes I need these boosts to get me going, and this was perfect. I will probably have more about Salt Lake Comic Con on my other site, The Geeky Mormon, so check back there for more SLCC stuff.
Jake Dietz is a writer and story teller. He writes primarily Fantasy, but will write any story he finds interesting.
© Jake Dietz 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jake Dietz with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Original artwork is ©Samuel Norton 2016.