World Building is the bane of my existence. I love it but it continually defies my need for organization. I’ve tried 3×5 cards, notebooks, loose leaf notebooks, software, and sketch books. I’ve come to terms with the need for a digital solution. Novel planning software only goes as deep as characters, locations and items. Note software seems to disappear ever few years leaving me in a panic. I’m trying to be better.
I tend to fill out my world as I write. So set up this file under step 2 if am not working on already done world. This becomes my world bible. Currently I use AllMyNotes Organizer. This gives me the organizational tree I need for my process. Before that I used Keynote, but I get antsy when software isn’t supported anymore. I know there is a new developer for that but I’m not impressed by the new version. I’ve tried Evernote, but the wiki stuff drives me nuts. I hate wiki’s with an unbridled passion. They’re reinventing the wheel and making it complicated for no reason other than to be cute. A lot of gamers like wikis as an interactive way to deal with players. IMNSHO: there are better ways to do this that don’t drive me up a wall.
Now I have a lot of books on world building both on philosophy and random tables. I don’t follow any of them for the most part. Well I do…just not in the order they may take.
Step 1: Map
I use AutoRealm to make my maps. Export them as jpg and stick a copy in a maps folder under my world name and a copy in my note program.
Step 2: Add Details
I decided the locations for the story. As I write I pull out details and stick them in my notes.
And that’s it. I get this dang thing going. I add to my maps as I discover new locations and people and things. This is totally opposite of my outline fixation. That’s why this step is an aside.
I’m all complex that way.
In the Cards:
NaNo Card: Naming. Names come from everywhere. When I used to do the secretary thing I’d write down interesting names from mailing list. Random phone book and baby book suggestions helped too.
WD Tip: Forgetting the Reader. It’s the reader, not you, whose’s going to decided what your story is about and if it’s good. They have to care about your work, understand it and want to recommend it. This is where critique groups, beta readers, and others come in handy. Find out what’s confusing, boring and fix it.