I’m currently being shouted at by a teething infant, so this may be short. However, I’ve been working steadily on worldbuilding and that’s all fabulous. I’ve chosen not to write about it much in here while that’s going on because this blog sometimes feels like homework I have to do, while I feel guilty neglecting it I also don’t want to be beholden to it. And ultimately, if I’m busy writing I don’t want to stop to then come here and write about writing. The whole point of this thing is to ensure that I do write, not stop me from that very goal!
While working on my world, it’s made me realise how poorly I’ve done in the past in this respect. I think that this stems from the fact that my own world was very small when I was younger, so when I tried to invent new worlds it was very shortsighted. Now that I’m older (not sure about wiser, honestly) my understanding of my own world has broadened, both by having developed an interest in what’s happening outside of my own teenaged bellybutton and having moved abroad.
So when I first started writing this novel my world was mostly vague, like a grey mist with a couple of key streets picked out in detail. I had a vague academic system, a vague religion, a vague idea of where things were in relation to each other. It was a whole vague mess. Some things were also arbitrary, decided on a whim. Things that were important just were, for no good reason. Why were Geologists being pit against Botanists? They just were, and that’s not good enough. Throw that kind of carelessness into the mix of vague wishy-washy nonsense and you get a pretty poor world that I can barely make sense of, let alone anyone else. I’m sorry, world. I was lazy, and naive. I thought the details would work themselves out in the writing, without realising that even if they did, it would mean a whole pile of editing hell at the end of the thing. But I promise to do better this time.
And it is better. I’m really enjoying it as well. I love the sudden eureka moments of, “oh, so that’s why” as I piece this all together. I wasn’t totally wrong in my thinking that a lot of it would fall into place in my subconscious, I was just wrong about letting that whole process take place during the writing stage. Implementing key elements while in the middle of chapter twelve means I either have to revise chapters one through eleven, or just hope no one notices the glaring omission. And that’s just bad writing. Some of it will happen while I’m in the flow of writing, it’s inevitable, but all the big things need to be known and decided.
I’m also getting better at multitasking. I can type with one hand, spoon feed a baby some yoghurt with another, and then use my mental third hand to plot mountains and railway line in my mental world map. I can sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for the 848th time while ruminating on the importance of infrastructure in a capitalist economy. I can keep a seven month old from drowning in the bath while considering how magic can function in a post-magic world.
So if you don’t hear from me every day, it’s because I’m just a bit busy.