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annoying question #537 for Mr.Moorcock

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  • annoying question #537 for Mr.Moorcock

    Mr.Moorcock, you have stated many times that you dont "worldbuild"
    what advice then, would you give to an aspiring fantasy writer before starting his/her novel?

    In other words.. how do you develope beleivable cultures/worlds without the use of "worldbuilding"?
    or am i completely mistaken?

  • #2
    Also.. climate.
    most amateur writers tend to think they have to study climate and atmosphere before they can start a fantasy short story/novel, ect..
    would you say this is needed in a story (unless part of the storys plot?)
    days of the week also come into play here.. is it all really necessary?
    my apologies if these questions are silly,
    Mike

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    • #3
      worldbuilding eh... god i love worldbuilding... it's so much fun at least for me. Unfortunately i'm not the greatest at it and i tend to forget important things. Like the story i'm working on now, it's reaching it's conclusion and i just realized that i forgot to mention where all the food comes from, in fact i'm having trouble working that in.

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      • #4
        it seems that most help sites I see online (writing fantasy type sites) ALL say that worldbuilding (knowing climate/relegion/culture/and everyday life) is so important in creating a fantasy book.
        I am just looking for some conflicting advice.. perhaps to keep a shred of hope that I may actualy produce something readable.
        I often wonder what most fantasy writers did when they were first starting.. did they find themselves staring at their computer screen for hours till they got dizzy typing "building worlds" or "culture" or just plain "help me write a damn fantasy book!" because if they didn't, then I would really love to know what they DID do. Any advice would be greatly, greatly, appreciated Mr.Moorcock,
        Mike

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        • #5
          Well, I find world-building as such boring. I've created suburbs of London as well as whole worlds, but I find the creation of languages,
          religions and so on pretty boring -- a sort of crossword puzzle sort of activity. Now I know a lot of people get their relaxation from doing this, as well as reading Agatha Christie novels, and I have ways of getting my own relaxation which no doubt wouldn't appeal to them, so I'm not condemning it, just saying I don't have much interest in it myself.
          I usually create enough of a world to form the background for a good story. For me story-telling is the main interest. I wish I could tell people what the GNP of Argimiliar is, but sadly I can't. I prefer the
          worlds I write about to have a bit more mystery to them, I suppose.
          So my advice to anyone who doesn't want to get bogged down in the
          political history of Mumpoobumpoo, is just get on with telling the story.
          Make the places, like the weather, carry the story forward or reflect
          the characters' moods and ideas, but just keep telling the story. All that other stuff is what you do when you haven't got a story to tell!

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
            ... the
            political history of Mumpoobumpoo, is just get on with telling the story.
            Make the places, like the weather, carry the story forward or reflect
            the characters' moods and ideas, but just keep telling the story. All that other stuff is what you do when you haven't got a story to tell!
            Well I've been to Mumpoobumpoo and I think the political history is quite interesting!

            It's similar to what you see on Endor in Return of the Jedi!
            \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
            Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

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            • #7
              i don't do a whole lot with religion or things... i tend to have more references to "the gods" than actual talk about them, as i find all powerful beings are usually boring, unless they have flaws, like in one of my stories, or warring gods of course. i do tend to do alot with demons though, not really traditional demons (you know horny red monsters). i tend to overlook details like economy as well, but i like trying to build cultures, and i like weapons building type things, i tend to think that the weapons reflect the people in my stories. Some are lithe and graceful, well others are powerful and a bit clumsy.

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              • #8
                thanks for all the help everyone!
                any more suggestions are still welcome and thanks in advance for them too!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted this in the wrong thread! -
                  Now that Mike's posted his thoughts, I can butt in!

                  There was some discussion here ages ago about hard SF, and one of the things I like about Mike's work is that though their are allusions to concepts from physics (parallel universes, branes, etc) there's never any real attempt to explain or justify the plot devices (the League of Temporal Adventurers time machines / time centres, or the Chaos Engineers ships, or Miss Brunner's Final Programme). They're kind of described in the same way as early SF (where you get a description of the physical appearance of the time machine, rather than an info-dump on the physics that supports the possibility).

                  And I particularly like the way in the Cornelius and Second Ether books the world itself is mutable - pretty much the antithesis of world-building - the only thing that's consistent is character (and even they take their turns in different roles).

                  Possible plot spoiler :

                  One question I always wanted to ask - was 'reversing the polarity' in the Multiverse comic a satire of Star Trek style SF?? (Because they always seemed to do that when stuck in a sticky situation).

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                  • #10
                    Not to speak for MM but I'd assume "reverse the polarity" was a Doctor Who reference...
                    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl f'tagn"

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                    • #11
                      I find as I'm writing the locations usually appear around the characters, not making myself too clear there, but in my case the characters are more important than whatever cake they happen to be eating at the time, with blue grumbo juice, whilst sitting inside Punak cafe or something equally irritating.

                      I think it's important not to stick too rigidly to the psuedo-medieval cultures you see in a lot of mainstream fantasy novels. If you want castles with neon signs, and it works in the context of your story, then go ahead I say (within reason!!) That's what I enjoy with MM's books and also with others - i.e. Roger Zelazny, who has his characters chuffing a great number of cigarettes throughout the stories, but are set within Fantasyland for a large part of them!

                      I don't think I'm making a great deal of sense today (it's Friday), but I'm in agreement about having a little mystery to your World/Universe/Planet etc. Nothing more tedious than having to flick between great big appendixes at the end of a book to explain what A was explaining to B on page 708 - not mentioning any examples here - because I realise that this appeals to some readers, just not me.

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                      • #12
                        Although I wish certain SF authors would stick the factuak science into appendices at the back, rather than infodump dialogue in the middle.

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                        • #13
                          absolutely, in one of my stories my friend said, "you should have her explore the island." and i said no, i want an aura of mystery about the island, plus if i discover i need something on the island that i didn't put in then i won't have to go back and change everything just for that one part. while i try to figure out culture a little bit, i usually just make things up as i go along. "since when were these guys cannibals?" they always have been, you just weren't told before. (ok so that's a little extreme, not even i would do that, though that might make an interesting story...)

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                          • #14
                            [quote="Jules"]And I particularly like the way in the Cornelius and Second Ether books the world itself is mutable - pretty much the antithesis of world-building - the only thing that's consistent is character (and even they take their turns in different roles).

                            Jules, we've been on the same page with the Second Ether and Cornelius more than once. These are great examples of why characters are more important than worlds. Richly developed characters that grow, change, and live are much more interesting and rewarding than fictional cultures and worlds that do the same.

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