I actually did this last night, but I had trouble because I have so many fantasy worlds swimming around in my noggin that I couldn't really decide which one to use.
I tend to get an idea and then stories grow from there. Whole stories blossom from tiny acorns of ideas. The trouble with this exercise is that it's a whole tree full of acorns and I was having trouble with whole forests of stories cropping up. I hate to thin.
My other problem is MOOD. This drives stories more than anything else. When I'm in a mystery mood I want to write a mystery. My trouble is, how do I maintain a mood long enough to get the story out?! This is a real problem for me and the main cause of my waffling and not finishing stories.
The first parts of this exercise were taking me all over the mood-map. I couldn't get settled. I have a couple of ideas/moods I wanted to keep and use, but I was being tossed around in the moody sea.
This morning I realized that I was trying to use this exercise to pull me "outside the box" and make me think of things in a new way. The trouble with this is that I have no trouble coming up with ideas, and often they are all very different. What I need is focus and decisions. Sometimes it feels like I'll loose something if a choose a certain path. I want to go down all paths at once.
I think I need a new way to approach these exercises. I have two fantasy story lines I want to pursue: "Heavy Magic" and a children's Christmas-y/bedtime story line.
Heavy Magic is a story line I've been stewing over for a while. I want the flavor, or mood if you will, of Richard Corben's Den; and Conan and Burroughs as imaged by Frank Frazetta. Basically I want to write a fantasy story with lots of sex and magic, a story that has all the eroticism of the old pulp sword and sorcery, but told in a modern way and with a more favorable view of magic. It has gritty realism without wallowing in the blood. It's mysterious, dark yet hopeful.
The children's story is a lot different. I want that to be warm and fuzzy, lush and rich, homey and inviting, teaching and challenging, difficult yet attainable.
With all that in mind I'm going to move forward on those two paths for my world building, to make a world for each of those story lines.
BUT FIRST, I'm going to post what I did last night when I was originally thinking about this exercise, then I'll post what I think using this new approach.
From 30 Days of World Building:
"Write down four words that fit into that feeling: two adjectives, a verb, and a noun. Now return to the page with your list of climates and emotions. Do any of them match up? If they do, you have your climate. If not, try to find closest-match words.
If you spend 10 solid minutes thinking about this and still can't decide, pick two climates that express moods you like. You can make up your mind later, and you can even build your world with both climates containing equally probable sites for your story."
And this is what I came up with (again, this is without regard to my story lines):
1. ADJECTIVES: Mystery, frustration, challenge
2. VERB: Grow
3. NOUN: Quest
1. Temperate Rainforest/Far Eastern Beaches, Great Plains, Great Lakes
3. Temperate Rainforest
Alternate (totally random):
South Atlantic Seaside / Desert
OK, SO LET'S LOOK AT THIS AGAIN:
Here is my new version:
- ADJECTIVES: Sexy, Dangerous, Magical, Larger than life, Erotic, Powerful, Action-packed
- VERB: Swashbuckling
The climatic responses are:
- High desert
- Temperate rainforest
- Nordic fjord (they aren't all from my previous list, but if I go from the feeling to the places that's what I come up with).
- ADJECTIVES: Cuddly, warm, fuzzy, lush, rich, inviting, homey, difficult, attainable
- VERB: Teach
- NOUN: Challenge
The climatic responses are:
- Green valley
- Smokey Mountains
- Temperate forest