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Should worldbuilding come second to characters and story?

Just Marcat
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Interesting idea.

In my opinion, the two aren't really mutually exclusive. I mean, look at the best short stories. I've read short stories that took place in these incredibly grandiose and imaginative worlds, all within the span of 10 or so pages. It's honestly astonishing.

I think, if you can get the characterization and story right, you're more likely to deliver the amazing world you build in a more interesting and immersive way, as opposed to just mindless exposition. I wouldn't recommend doing one over the other, though. That's just me though ^^;
 
I'm just Saiyan...
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Depends on how deep you intend the story to be. If you want the characters to be the center focus you build the world around them. If you want your characters to be a part of a greater whole then you tailor your characters to the world. Look at the difference between "Clone Wars" and "Star Wars: Rebels", both stories which exist along the same story timeline. Clone Wars focused on tailoring a large number of characters to the world around them, making the Star Wars galaxy seem larger than ever. Now, look at Rebels, which focuses more on a small number of characters. The world is constructed around them and their plight, the negative effect being that the galaxy seems much smaller and the roles of everyone else seem insignificant.
 
unamused
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all three are of huge importance, but....um....I wanna say I'm leaning towards worldbuilding being the most important of the three. It's a base that's required for the other two to reach their maximum potential. By itself it can also somewhat make up for the lack of well written characters and storyline. *glances at metroid prime with lustful eyes*
 
World 1-1
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I do agree that you can have a decent story with little to no worldbuilding, while a bare minimum of story-telling is required to make a, you guessed it, story.
> An example that you guys have quoted is Lord of the Rings. I honestly do not consider this book a novel, because as engaging as the story is in some parts, I find it quite shallow overall. I do consider the books among masterpieces, though, because the way Tolkien describes the world in which the story is set is just brilliant, and perfect in every way I could imagine.
> Another example would be 1984 by George Orwell, where worldbuilding is still most of the book, because the story in itself is just "a random person opposes the regime, he secretly finds another person who agrees with the idea, they do monkey stuff, etc." Still, I think this is only because we are so used to the novel genre that we don't really think other kinds of books could work.

And although I've said these books tend to have a bad pacing (mostly Lord of the Rings), I find them more enjoyable than more balanced works. So, in the end I believe it's just a matter of personal taste. It all depends on what you want to write, after all, doesn't it? And as long as you put a bare minimum of storytelling, you are free to focus on either of those things, and you'll get different kinds of reader to appreciate your story.
 
Thesaurus rex
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1984 isn't really the best example in this case, because the book isn't trying to be an engaging story. It's a book written solely to make a point, and everything about the book is subservient to that.

To an extent you could say the same of The Lord of the Rings, a book written on a publisher's request. I don't think Tolkien was really concerned about how well it would be received in the same way as when writing The Hobbit, which goes a long way to explain why he goes off on tangents. That the trilogy has been so well-loved anyway goes to show that yep, personal taste matters.

The flip side of that is that good plot elements can get buried if the worldbuilding gets in the way of the pacing, and in that respect The Lord of the Rings is a very good example. Themes like the value of hope and optimism, the glory and the horror of war, the inevitability of change - they're all easily lost if the reader isn't in love with the bumpy pacing and tangential worldbuilding
 
World 1-1
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1984 isn't really the best example in this case, because the book isn't trying to be an engaging story. It's a book written solely to make a point, and everything about the book is subservient to that.
I think you are misunderstanding my post. Actually, you are making my same exact point here: books like 1984 or The Lord of the Rings don't want to create an engaging story, rather they want to focus on world-building. I've given them as examples precisely because they're still well-renowned and very enjoyable books, even if they put world-building first and story second. I simply wanted to make the point that putting priority to world-building or to storytelling is a matter of what you want to do with your story, and that both ways can work.
 
Well-Known Member
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For those who like Dragon Ball, I think this video explains how the series did worldbuilding very well: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJdjT04LPxk


Like the focus of Dragon Ball is on the characters and the story they are in but the world around them is built along the way.
 
Me am stalking bug
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Another example would have to be The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. One game, three days, a whole new world to explore and it builds up the world excellently. The best part is you have to look for it, it doesn't get shoved in your face and you can ignore it if you want. Same with another Nintendo property, Metroid Prime. You can look around and find interesting details about the world you're on, or just go about the game without paying any mind to it.
 
the plasma pokemon
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I definitely think they should go hand in hand.

Even if you have the most basic structure for your world so that you can expand upon it as you write, I'd rather have something than nothing at all. I'm okay with having a basic structure for the world and the characters (and even the story itself!) since I do like to develop things as the story goes on, but if there's not that basic structure, then I feel like everything would fall apart. Especially in original stories where readers won't know anything about the world, something that can draw the reader in and show them what kind of world they're about to be thrown into would be great.

In terms of fandom based stories, I don't really think it's as important, but it's still important. Since the world of the fandom is already built, writers can just expand upon what already exists rather than creating a whole new world. It's still important, but since a lot of the details are already out there, you'd only really need to mention what was pertinent to the story rather than every little detail about that region. Of course, you can create new worlds within a fandom too, and that requires explanation!
 
Far too mouthy for my own good.
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I am a big fan of Lovecraft, despite his rather... problematic viewpoints on some issues. And the continued success of his stories illustrate something: Worldbuilding can be absolutely ignored and still make for a great story.

So, for story purposes, worldbuilding really should be considered as it applies to the story itself. Is it important that you build a cohesive world, like in Lord of the Rings? If so, do it. If it's not, like in the Cthulhu Mythos, then ignore it at your leisure.
 
Plays too much Yu-Gi-Oh!
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In my opinion, the two go hand in hand. Your characters and story help give you a sense of what'sgoing on in the world, and in turn, what's going on in the world helps define your characters. I guess that could be considered a paradox or something like that as it infinitely loops, but they should both build upon eachother.
 
Prime Minister of Shoyo 昇陽国内閣総理大臣
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I've done my first attempt in writing an alternate story for my FE Fates Conquest LP in my Serenes Forest thread. More so for the later chapters. For that, I haven't done as much world-building as others may do, due to the whole story being framed within the Pacific Theatre of World War II, with Nohr re-interpreted as the USA, and Hoshido as Japan. At the moment, it seems to be working well, partly because the (admittedly small) current audience knows a lot about history, and partly because most of us would consider the basics of WWII as assumed knowledge - something we've learnt at school. When I start writing a full fanfic based on this LP, however, then maybe better description of the Fates-verse may become necessary for those that may not be as familiar to WWII history.
 
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