Welcome to this week’s second craft post. If you haven’t checked since Monday or even longer, we have started a new sub-series. It was supposed to be only two parts. However, I recently came up with another important part of history. To be exact, I came up with about five seconds after I started writing this post out. I’ll get more into that post at the end. You can find the first post in our sub-series History here. It was posted this past Wednesday as a treat for not posting a wrap-up to Religion sub-series last Friday. This is all part of a long several month series on Worldbuilding that is being broken down into sub-series since it is such a huge topic. You can find all the posts so far under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar.
History has been going on since the beginning of time in this world. It doesn’t matter if you believe that beginning was seven thousand years ago, as some believe the Bible teaches or 14 Billion years that Science teaches in from the Big Bang Theory. No, I am not referring to the tv show! History of this world and your life happens every second as Time Passes on. Time is the one commodity that we can’t replenish. When your time is up, it is up. That goes for your storyworld.
That is a little hard to follow. Below is an image of what I am talking about. What are we looking at in this image? This represents every event that leads up to the start of your novel. The red dot at the end is the start of your novel and the purple dots represent events that lead to it. Notice the size of the dots, I didn’t just dot that randomly. The size of the dot represents how big the event was. A tiny action or event can sometimes lead to a huge world-altering disaster.
The image to the left was where I told you to start in the first post. This is what happens throughout history. Something leads to something else and it is big or small and leads to another huge event. In this case, the red dot would be the next major event. After the start, another chain of dots leads to another event maybe the end of the event or just the next huge event that is part of it. Eventually, when you get to the end lets say a war, when the war ends whoever won actions effect the losing side. These actions will lead to reactions either good or bad and will eventually lead to another event. Maybe another war between the two sides like when Germany lost World War 1 and how they were treated eventually lead to World War 2. Or, it could lead to the two sides being allies in another war against someone else.
That is all history is. Sounds easy right? Well, that is only part of it. History is far more complex. I think we need another example. This new image represents what really happens in history. An event doesn’t have just one outcome, usually. While a single dot may lead to the events of your story, it could also be the start of another path to another event. If you’re doing a series, this is a good way to tie an event that may not be related at the start but then it is revealed that it is. These rabbit trails could be to events you will never tell or are never mentioned. Maybe to another book or series after the story you want to tell has been told.
History is very complicated and if you go back in time and follow all the reactions of one event you would quickly lose track of them. While many rabbit trails quickly die off, others can lead to the largest of events. Hell, maybe the events of your story is a rabbit trail of some other path that will lead to something huge.
Now that we have talked about events leading to other events, let’s get down to fleshing out the whole history of your world. Something had to have happened that lead to the first domino in your chain of reactions that lead to the events of your story. What is it? Don’t know? Okay, think about it and then when you know, come back. I’ll wait…
Okay, I have waited long enough. If you need more time just come back and start at this line when are ready. Depending on the kind of writer or how much you know about the events, write them out. In summary, form, unless you have to write out all the details. A summary will do. Did that? Good! What leads to the actions lead to the reactions that caused the events you just summarized? Take some time and think about it.
No, I am not going to wait this time. Solely, because this is going to be the same pattern you do over and over and over again. Yes, it will take you a lot of time depending on how much you have thought about it. The more you think about it the more ideas will come to you. This approach can be used in plotting your novel as well. From the climax of the novel to the beginning. If you are anything like me, I can’t work backwards, I need a starting point and an end point. From there I need to work forward to my end. Where do you begin then?
Remember that creation account we talked about in the first sub-series? If not you can find those posts here. If the creation account you came up with isn’t actually how the world came into being, then make it up now. If you don’t care about how it was created or don’t want to write it out. You can always just come up with the first known event in your history. I could be something simple or complex. Why this event is the first could be for many reasons, the events before were lost to a massive war that wiped them all out. If you do that, I think that event should be the first event. Or there were no written accounts before this time. Maybe the first event is the creation of writing?
Whatever your event is, that is your starting point. For me, it is always the creation of the world. That is because my stories I am going to be telling usually deal with something around that time. From that event add events big and small and make sure they refer to each other. When a major event, like the overthrowing of an evil lord or the end of a war, concludes the next major event should come from this. Have ideas for rabbit trails, add them in. Just make sure that those events aren’t linked to the chain that leads to the start of your story.
One last thing, before we end this post. Where do you end the chain of history? The end of your book or series is a good place. Maybe you know how the world will come to an end and the events that lead up to it. It really is up to you. Just know if you know how your world will end and map those events out and later on come up with a new idea for a book or series that comes after your first book or series. You will need to work those events in or just redo the chain. Unless you put some kind of prophecy or tell the reader how it all ends in your book, you are the only one who knows. There is the idea you have could be just the end of a rabbit trail and isn’t tied to the end of your world.
That’s all I got for this post. Since this sub-series was supposed to end today and start another sub-series next Friday. I am going to post the last post of this sub-series on Sunday. Yes, it will be the last post I promise. What is that post going to be about? I refer to it as the problems of Too-Damn-Much and Not-Nearly-Enough history. I hope everyone’s writing week is going strong and check back Sunday for the final post in the History sub-series and Monday for the Weekly Wrap-up.