Fantasy can be a dangerous genre for writers. It is incredibly easy to get so involved in world-building that you never get to the actual writing. I find this especially hard, since I love worldbuilding. I’m working on a fantasy trilogy right now and found myself sucked back into the storyline earlier this week, despite the fact that I’m neck-deep in researching the Revolutionary War/War of 1812. Plus numerous bunny trails (for a fascinating read, try Pox Americana, by Elizabeth Fenn, about the smallpox epidemic of 1775-82. Lots of great plot fodder there. But I digress…)
Yes, worldbuilding is an addiction for me. J.R.R. Tolkien once said something to the effect that we are driven to create because we are made in the image of a Creator. I can so understand that feeling.
So far I’ve:
–Created a language, grammar, and an alphabet
–Charted the phases of the moons (yes, there are actually sources on the Internet for figuring out the effect of two moons on a planet)
–Sweated over a non-seven day week (it really wreaks havoc with moon phases and seasons)
–Redrawn constellations, and made up myths to go with them
–Created 12+ different cultures (including humans, dryads/naiads/oreads etc., elves, and numerous animals)
–Gotten lost in trying to work out all the ins and outs of Dreaming and Singing (two forms of magic in this world)
Um…anything else? Oh yes… Written poetry, songs, prophecies, and a creation story, and drawn floor plans of castles and temples.
That doesn’t even count the usual tasks of timelines and pictures of characters and locations.
And I’m shocked that I’ve only managed to get 40,000 words scattered between the three stories? Gee, I wonder why.
Yup, research in general is dangerous for me. There is an article in the March issue of Romance Writers’ Report on how to “tame the research beast.” My problem is that I don’t always want to tame the beast (especially when I really like the subject, like the American Civil War, or Australia, or cool names from the 17th century, or my own little fantasy world).
Does anyone else have that problem, that they get so enthralled by their research and/or worldbuilding that they have to force themselves to write the story instead of backstory?