The genre of storytelling I seem to have settling into the most firmly is middle grade fantasy. The novel I sent out is in that category, as is the one I’m currently editing and the one stewing in my head. Even many of the short stories I write, while probably better suited for an older audience (I’m assuming, I haven’t found that audience yet) fall into the fantasy category.
It makes sense. I’ve loved the genre, ever since I was a kid with Narnia books and through adolescence where I devoured Pern and Forgotten Realms books. So, it makes perfect sense that I would pick this as my niche.
Unfortunately, I have a problem, a pretty devastating one for a fantasy writer — world building. When it comes to building up the history of my world, the locations, places, even the shape, I’m just no good at it. Partly, this is because I find the whole process a little…boring. (Please don’t throw rocks at me.)
In reading and writing I’ve always cared the most about the characters, where they’re going, what they’re doing, how they grow, which I stand by as one of the most important parts of the story anyway. But sometimes, it’s like my characters are moving with a bubble wrapped around them, and everything outside that bubble is completely blank until my character passes through. I can’t picture the shape of things, fail to imagine the placement of, or distance between, locations, whether their only mentioned or actually visited by my characters. And I forget to people the world with characters aside from them, from important leaders to members of a crowd, and even manage to leave out more varied creatures (if there’s going to be a pet baby dragon, or an annoyed pixie, there’s got to be a few other beasts, right?)
It’s harder for me, so I don’t get as much joy out of it, and so, kind of, I ignore it. But I can’t. I need to learn to fill in all the blank spots, to have answers if someone asked me what happens in a different place other than where my characters are fighting their battles. Because, if I really know that world, maybe there’s more I can draw from it to make my characters, and their journey, even better.
I’m working on it now with the novel I’m editing, figuring out the creatures and the shape of the land just outside her perspective. Maybe doing this can help me with the rewrites — if I don’t get bored of it first.
Is there an important part of writing or crafting a story that you find tedious? Or one that you simply struggle with, no matter what you try?