Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Storyworld Building: Creating the Current-Day Conflicts

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

This post now part of the book Storyworld First: Creating A Unique Fantasy World For Your Novel by Jill Williamson.

Now that you've done all the hard work of building your storyworld, you need to get on with the story! And what's a story, anyway? A series of events designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the reader. A series of events that will take place in your fabulous world.

So, take a look at that world. What kinds of current-day problems have you already set up? Is there a threat to your world? A threat to a certain people? Is war brewing? Does your story's conflict involve the land in some way?

In By Darkness Hid, Darkness is spreading. And that's a pretty serious problem. In Captives, the people in the Safe Lands are dying from a virus, and they have to do something to save themselves. In Replication, Martyr just wants to see the sky before he expires, but Dr. Kane is also in serious trouble. His needs and Martyr's needs clash in a big way. In The New Recruit, Spencer thought he was just going on some lame mission trip with a bunch of churchers, but he inadvertently brought himself to the attention of some very bad people who've been looking for him for a long time. And now he's on the run.

Edmund meets the queen and makes a choice

In the Lord of the Rings, Sauron wants the ring and a hobbit happened to be in the way. All this was brewing long before the story started. And the ring came to his uncle in a different book! In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the witch has been doing bad things long before the Pevensies arrive. In Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort has been biding his time, building his strength. In Cinder, the political situation is not good. Emperor Kai must decide to marry the evil Queen or see his people die. What's a good emperor to do, anyway?

The conflicts in all of these books were set up as part of the storyworld before the actual story begins. Then the main characters are brought into a place where things are happening, and they must choose how they will interact with the people and situations they come into contact with.

So take some time to think through all that you've brainstormed and ask yourself what is happening in your world today as a result of the terrain, government, magic, religions, technology, and the history? What kind of a scene does all of that create for your character to enter into?

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post!

    Yeah, for my current WIP, my main character must go on a journey to find something. But along the way, he finds out that not only does others don't want him finding this thing, they also don't want my main character at all.

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    1. Interesting, Samuel. Are people in his group trying to kill him off?

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    2. Yes, some are having some main characters do it, but others are just searching for him.

      Ha ha, what's fun about where I'm at in my WIPl, my main character hasn't even gone on the journey yet, and the group that is going with him on the journey has because they already think they have my main character with him.

      It's a lot more interesting and funny if you read the book.

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  2. Ahhhh. Rain plays a huge part in my story and storyworld. And the situation has already been going on for quite a few years when my main characters enter the scene. The rain is also tied to political situations, again already in place. So I think I get this part. Yay! :)

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    1. Rain? That's really interesting!

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    2. Oh yeah. Didn't you say something about your novel about rain on the Go Teen Writers Yahoo Page?

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    3. I did, Sam. And thanks Emma! It was one of those "weird" ideas...;) I've got a description of it here: http://heartthroughwords.blogspot.com/p/writing-projects.html

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  3. Cinder was such a good book! Conflict is where I am weakest, so I'll have to think long and hard about this.

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    1. It was a good book. Now I have to wait for the others. I hate waiting...

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  4. Hmmm... In one of my lastest/oldest (I've had it brewing forever. I just havent gotten around to writing it until recently) there's been a war going on for years and years. And this emperor guy decides that to win he needs the 'perfect army', my main charries. It sounds pretty cliche, but once everything is put in perspective it really isn't so much.

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    1. That's cool, J. Liessa. Storyworld and plot and characters all working together!

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    2. Thanks! Yeah, it's nice when it sets up decently. Makes it easier to bang everything out. Though, now I've got to figure out a plausible way to create a human chimera...

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  5. The people have been pushing for a republic for a long time. My heroine is a princess determined to hold onto her throne, and her fiance who the people happen to hate. It's all built on top of the centralized constitutional monarchy that grew out of a throwing off of invaders. PLus there's Roman roots that go deep and the ideal of the republic is strong.

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    1. Sounds like you have lots of political intrigue going on. Nice! :-)

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  6. Thanks for the post! I think I already mentioned a billion times how I over these story world building ones...

    Well, the Jackals are becoming more powerful than any other tribe while, the once most powerful league is slowly fading into a weaker, powerless league. For years there's always been a silent unspoken tension that, as time goes on, is becoming more volatile. Falcon's is like the missing link because of her power but everyone wants her. One league who will kill and take her by force, and the other who she has personal issues against but are basically where she belongs. Her conflict is more emotional but also the decisions she has to make is almost diplomatic because it could make a big difference in more lives than just her own.

    Is that unique enough or too complicated?

    http://escapingnormal.blogspot.com/

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    1. It sounds great, Leah. Complex, but in a good way. :-)

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  7. My antagonist in Icefall wants to bring back the Alldays--a period when everyone possessed the ability to wield magic, but a chaotic time of dominance wars. (It's actually a series, and each book has a different MC, but he's the main antagonist that spans all books.) The MC in Icefall is actually his wife that he marries at the beginning of the book, but she escapes and flees as soon as she finds out what he's up to. (Cue adventure to learn about personal strength and trusting people and realizing that light CAN overcome darkness.)

    In Firebrand (the third book--I'm cowriting with a friend, and we're each doing two books separately and the last book together), the antagonist is still at large, but a different MC and antagonist are introduced. A queen of a different country has just been dethroned by her twin brother (who the main Antag busted out of jail) and has to find a way to save her people without any royal power. (Cue adventure about self-worth and realizing what's really important and a big life lesson in selflessness and humility.)

    That's diluting things a bit, and I MAY have bitten off more than I can chew but...fingers crossed that everything works out!

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  8. My world has a ongoing conflict over a piece of land (not a war exactly, more like tension). It sets the playing field for a war to start, which it does in the book, though for a different reason. Since the countries already have a hatred for one another, it made it easier for me to start a full blown war.
    This situation is actually based on a place I've lived in (won't say where, it might get me in trouble).

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  9. interesting that you mention Narnia on October 1st...Silver Chair is officially on. :)

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  10. In Dragon's Whisper, the main issue is dragons. They won't go away, and their numbers don't seem to decrease. They don't torch the Village, (more like a large town), just attack outside, and it's costing more and more warriors. Everyone's tired of losing loved ones when nothing seems to change.

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