Sorry about the radio silence the last few weeks. Like some people I've been caught up in working on manuscripts and such, in addition to the usual craziness around the holidays and just after.
Aside from working on submissions for Tesseracts 16 and The Friends of the Merrill Collection Short Story contest, I've been worldbuilding for the next novel I want to write. I learned a lot from my last attempt, the most important lesson being I can sustain the effort of a full length novel.
This time I want to write something even bigger, and that means I need some solid background material.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, can't I just pull this stuff out of my head/ass when I need it? Well, yes and no. I could probably create things as I go, and a few details will probably get filled in as I write, but I've found I don't like to do that. Stopping mid-write to jot notes down breaks the narrative flow for me, takes me out of the right headspace and then I have to dive back in again. I want to maximize my gains for each second I spend writing. That means getting prepared in advance.
There are some definite advantages to doing it this way. For one thing, little bits of plot and characterization dribble through as I build. For instance, as I was working on the naming conventions I came up with an insult that could be used as part of my main villain's motivation for some of the terrible things he does. I've built in some basic conflicts in my world that can be used in this novel, or in others I choose to set in the same world.
By understanding how this world works I better understand where my characters fit in it and what will drive them to perform the actions I need to tell my story.
The best thing about it though is that it's fun! I get to make up everything. If I want to through something in, I can. If it doesn't work or doesn't make sense to me, bam, it's out of there. Nothing is impossible. I'm the god of my own imaginary realm.
Muahahahahahahah.... err, sorry about the evil laughter. I'll try to keep it down.