Friday, June 15, 2012

Creating a civilization from the ground up using collective brainstorming.

In the previous post about collective brainstorming, I introduced the idea of outlining a story via the internet, multiple people chipping in to create something complex.

Go Big or Go Home

I don't do anything small, which gets me into trouble sometimes because I can easily overwhelm myself. However, in the case of outlining, if you're going through the trouble of creating something unique, an entire world for your characters to live in, why not go all the way?

Disclaimer: Obviously there's no reason to do the following for every story you ever write.

Whether you're wanting to write a series or even a saga, or just standalone, complex novels, the more time spent prepping will save time in the long run.


Because you will have a framework from which to build upon. There will be no reason to start from scratch each time because you will have a rudimentary outline for every possible story.

Don't Forget Genre and Setting

Of course, taking into account the genre and setting of your story will effect how much prep work is done. For example, there's no need to brainstorm alien races for a historical setting on Earth. However, the prep work involved in creating historically accurate civilizations can be applied (in principle) to Sci-Fi civilizations as well.

Creating a Civilization from Scratch

Worldbuilding is a very complex exercise, one that I am NOT suggesting we tackle all at once, though certain aspects of our fictional world beyond the people will be referenced. For now, though, let's focus on our characters.

What questions?

Instead of asking every question in the book at the outset, I suggest we start with a basic scenario and ask ourselves questions as we need to. I have a basic storyline in mind.

The Set Up

A group of people immigrate to a new land. An ancient, historical parrallel could be when Germanic tribes first stepped foot on the English Isles.

That's basically the only detail I want to give at the moment because I want to leave it open for as much creativity as possible. However, there are a few parameters to guide our journey.

  • The genre is historical fiction, so keep fantasy elements to a minimum.
  • The endgame is to create a civilization from scratch, spawning an empire by starting at the beginning.
  • Though we're taking history as inspiration, creative licence can be used to rewrite history to suit our outline.
  • To keep us on track, though, let me decide when we move on to the next stage.

Start with the people

Before we even decide what they encounter when they step foot on this new land, let's talk about the people themselves.

  • Where do they come from?
  • Why did they leave?
  • How many are in their group?
  • Describe the group: young, old, mixed?
  • What about their technology?
    (Keep in mind that we're brainstorming for an ancient, historical setting.)
  • How is their society governed?
  • Other questions along these lines.

It's your turn ...

Since this exercise is meant to be interactive, please share your ideas via comments. Remember: your ideas that I adopt will be mentioned in future posts with links to your website, so make sure I know where to link to. Those that I don't adopt may be linked to in the future as well.

Since some have trouble with our comment system, you may also share your ideas via Twitter. Simply use the hashtag #masqstorm so that I can find it. Or, mention me @MasqCrew

Let's brainstorm!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...