Worldbuilder’s Disease

As far as my experience goes, there are two major problems that aspiring writers face. Basically, you can only have one or the other because they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, and I’m under the impression that most writers that start out are afflicted with one of them.

The first is the endless reviser. This writer will write the first chapter, then come back the next day or week and rewrite it to fix up everything that was wrong with the first draft. Then they will go back and work out all the kinks a second time. Then maybe a month will pass and the writer won’t like one section at all and will be ‘forced’ to scrap it and start all over. If you can’t get to Chapter Two, there’s a problem. They think that everything has to be perfect before they move on.

The second is what is commonly referred to as “world builder’s disease”. While the first person’s issue is not having anywhere to go with a lack of preparation and a necessity for perfection, this is the reverse of that. World builders prepare far more than necessary. They may have backstories for how the protagonist’s grandparents met, for example, even when you don’t need to know stuff that detailed (and I certainly hope I would not if I’m reading that book). They iron out everything before they sit down, but every time they think of something cool they have to figure out how it fits into the world or book and adjust everything so that it sits nicely.

This is my problem.

Nacre Then was first conceived around five years ago, and at this point the most up-to-date version of The Archive is around sixty pages long. I’ve got over a dozen cultures that span millennia, but I’ve only got one awful first draft of a book that I wrote four years ago. A book that, at the time, wasn’t even a part of the universe at all. And to make matters worse, I’ve just had a revelation that, while it fits in quite snug with my universe, requires adding a lot to the lore of everything that happens early on, which has the butterfly effect on later events.

Now, I do have books planned. I’ve done the preliminary outlining of about three book series that happen in Nacre Then, but I honestly don’t have plans to even start writing any of them in the near future. My theology is that I am not allowed to start until I am an established author and a ‘good’ writer. Mostly because I don’t want to write something that loses canon the next year or so.

So while I have this awesome thing that I’ve been cultivating for years, it is still essentially for naught as of yet. If I died right now, I would leave no legacy. I guess maybe my brothers or family could ‘adopt’ my universe and maybe make something out of it, but I doubt anyone could love it as much as I do.

So that’s why I’m quitting my job, in a sense. I need time to write Dreamscape, to become an established author and give me a foothold. Because only then will I actually be able to use the vast reservoir of Nacre Then to produce.

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