Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Building Layers

During my trip to LA me and the parents went to Universal Studios. After I'd been on The Simpson's Ride (alone I may add since my parents are wusses) we went on the Studio Tour.

Driving round in the tour bus we took in the sights of the studios -- the King Kong ride was awesome -- but it was the street sets that struck me most.

Driving up you see a series of buildings that look three dimensional, some can be, most aren't. While some sets are towns, most are facades to create the illusion of a city or town.

This got me thinking about writing, more specifically, about setting and world building.

As writers we spend time developing characters and have them interact with the environment around them. Sometimes locations only serve to perform the scene. Sometimes the setting IS the scene. Creating a world both we, and the reader, can believe is an important tool to make your story come to life.

As my new wip takes shape I'm tackling some serious back story and world building and, judging by the pages I've got so far, I'm going to have a lot of notes. Even if I don't use everything the notes aren't a waste. I need to know what happened in the past to understand where my MC came from and the life she lives now. I want a 360 degree view of the surroundings. I want to see the sun dappled clouds on the horizon, smell the smoldering embers of dying fires...sorry I got lost in the moment there. ;)

Anyway, my point is this. To create my story and character I need to believe in the world they live in. The idea is like the 2D set at Universal Studios, one layer of a fully realised vision. So, just I need to invest time building the different layers, even if I'm only passing through, to create the 3D effect I hope to achieve.

And scene. :)


Christina Lee said...

SO true!! It's important even if it's a realistic fiction set in our present time. But challenging too!

Jaydee Morgan said...

This area is one of my least favorite parts, but you're right, it is important to give the readers a full sense of the setting. Good luck - and know all that work you're putting into it won't be a waste :)

Amparo Ortiz said...

You rock pretty hard at world-building, so I'm not worried at all. And how cool is your analogy, by the way??? Great post!

Tahereh said...

what a fantastic parallel.

rock on!

Talli Roland said...

This is a great reminder! I agree - characters should have different layers.

Jemi Fraser said...

So true - I think the worlds, characters and situations have to be totally real for us - otherwise they'll come across as fake to the reader - even if we don't use all of our data :)

WritingNut said...

Ooh, I know--I'm doing this right now too, and it's a struggle. Best of luck!

I love that Simpsons ride - have been on the one in Orlando :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Awesome analogy, Lindsay!! We are going to Universal studios next summer - I can't wait. I love the way you tied the sets to building our WIPs. Brilliant! :-)

Theresa Milstein said...

You are so right! If we can't see the world we create, and then get it down on paper, how will our readers see that world?