NaNoWriMo is almost over and chances are you'll find yourself facing holes and contradictions in your worldbuilding where setting and story refused to go together the way you intended them to. Here are some quick fixes for the problems I commonly run into.
There are a few things you'll need to keep in mind to be able to fix these problems quickly:
- Make major change only when absolutely necessary.
- Avoid everything that would make any part of the story or setting feel contrived.
You accidentally created a major inconsistency or flat-out contradiction while writing and it turns out you like the second, contradictory version much better than the original. However, you’re not sure if you want to change it, after all you’ll have to change a lot of other things with it, which in turn can create new inconsistencies and besides, what if it just doesn’t work?
Your first step would be to ask yourself the following questions:
- Which version fits the story better? If either version doesn’t work for the story you want to tell then you shouldn’t use it. Period.
- Does the alternate version fit the core rules of the setting, and if not can you tweak them to fit without breaking the setting or story? You should know these rules by now, even if you made that world up just for NaNo.
- Can I change the setting to make the alternate version work in reasonable time? Keep in mind that what may look like endless hours of work my be solved quickly, but the opposite can happen just as well. However, this should never hinder you to change something for the better.
One of your characters doesn't quite seem to fit the culture or world you intended him to come from, however changing the character would break the story (or make it very boring).
You have two options here:
- Change the character and story.
- Change the setting.
There are lots of things you can do with clichés, abut these are my personal top three options when you don't want to do much rewriting or extra worldbuilding:
- Portray it as an old-fashioned view or outdated way to do things.
- Combine it with another cliché that's unlikely to got with the first one.
- Give it a realistic reason to exist.
Here are a few techniques I use to fix problems with worldbuilding in general, and which work for these just as well:
- Visualization. If you're a visual thinker this will likely come naturally to you. If you don't know how this works, it's like watching a movie in your head. Except that you can change the camera angle at will and edit every part of it to your heart's content.
- Writing down alternate versions for comparison.
- Drawing it. Stick figures and simple will often do, and it's quite helpful to get an overview of a scene that doesn't seem to work and helps finding the error.
What other problems do you commonly run into? Have you found solutions to them yet?
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