Worldbuilding 3: When to Let Go, & New Stuff

by johannespunkt

Last entry in this series: https://zombiesintelligently.com/2012/07/20/worldbuilding-2-the-points-of-departure/

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If you don’t put your heart into something it can never have the pulse you’ve taken all your life to protect. Similarly, I’ve grown disillusioned with the poisonbeasts and shall instead talk a bit about the deaths of things.

For me, most projects do not simply die, but poison the water and then appear as ghosts in the lucid dreams of my other projects. Which is a fancy way of saying I reuse things, at times, and ideas gnaw on the back of my skull often and hard.

It’s good to let things die, though. I can’t tie that into the other metaphors I’ve used here, so I’ll just say it plainly: deciding that a project is not worth your attention means you’re doing quality control and also that you won’t have to decide that /later/. Saying goodbye at 500 words in is better than 500 pages in, etc.

Letting things die isn’t the same as giving up. Giving up is all defeatlike. Someone once told me, or said in my vicinity, that creativity is the creation of many ideas and then pruning them until you find the ones that are salvageable. In light of that, whenever I let something die I write down another idea, or gravestone the thing into a drabble at the very least. Even if it’s bloody stupid. So, related to that last post about things you can have, here’s a bunch of things I might use, which are of course up for taking (do show me the work when you’re done with it if you pick one of these plots):

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Formless Circles

genre: romance

The trope of a guy “turning” everyone he sleeps with into a lesbian. Except, taken to the extreme. He’d get laid quite a lot if it wasn’t for all the guilt associated with exerting such control over people’s preferences. He’s written a few books on it, always wears protective gear, and has a love affair over the Internet with a woman he doesn’t allow himself to meet. And then the news strike – there is a lesbian woman who can turn women straight. His life is thrown into turmoil as he has an actual chance at happiness maybe, if they can come to some sort of arrangement.

The title comes from the idea of fluid sexuality and the way this story would rigidize it.

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Choices

genre: time travel/drama

Time travel. Of course, any time travel story has to be better than the last one I wrote, but I think I have it. A woman faced with many choices is visited by hyperbolic future versions of herself, and they all bicker at and murder each other. Mostly dialogue based (I’ve got a few pages since last NaNo).

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I must have such stories to write around. Of course, those both worlds would be similar enough to our own to not need a lot of worldbuilding to piece blocks together, so:

Angels

genre: psychological horror

Someone loses their seeing-eye-dog and is shunned from society as they no longer can see and don’t know much of what is going on. They are forced to go talk with the angels/aliens that did this to all the humans. (In this world, people can only see/hear/talk/smell/taste when using telepathic connection with their experiencing-sense-animals; and only rich people have parrots/lyrebirds to talk through. People can still use their senses but only when they’re in danger). This story would be mostly angst that one’s pet is gone and also that one cannot see. Protagonist would be genderless, I suspect the angels/aliens removed most identification other than name, also.

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