World Building Month: Creating a creation myth

August 13, 2008 at 12:00 am (fiction, Inspiration, writing) (, )

I have to say, worldbuilding is both exhilarating fun and exhausting head-against-a-wall moments. There are times when I’m absolutely in love with the world I’m creating, and just to create a sense of balance, there are also times when I think it’s an irredeemable pile of, well, stuff you don’t want to step in.

One of my favorite parts so far has been coming up with a creation myth, something on which I can base the beliefs of the world’s inhabitants. It just kind of came to me as I was trying to work on the language, so I wrote it down, and even upon rereading I think it’s kind of cool. It’s really just a re-imagined version of evolution, sort of how I think it might be described by people who believed it had happened but didn’t have the science to provide them with answers about why. And it’s opened up this whole realm of ideas for me. I want to write the stories of the world’s mythology, and actually map out the progress of belief and religion for the Asgil (the folks who live on this world). I’ve always been a sucker for mythology, so this probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but it did anyway.

So now I’m kind of at this point where I want to know what happens after the part I wrote, only — and this is the kicker — I have to decide, and write it. I’m not reading someone else’s story. I’m making this up as I go along. And sure, I’ve figured out some of the structure for this culture, but not enough of to know where this part of it needs to go. And I’m torn. Do I continue to work on this tiny aspect, which I find really awesome? In my dreams I tell myself that a collected mythology and survey of religion on a fantasy world would be interesting to readers. But in reality, I know that only the most hardcore fans of a series are into that sort of thing. It’s enough for them to know that the framework is there; they don’t need to see the nuts and bolts.

So I’m left to decide how much time I should spend on this particular grain of sand, and right now, I don’t know. I think I’ll keep running with it until the ideas stop, writing enough about the creatures and terrain and people to know what might become the material of a sacred story later. It may not be the most productive use of my time, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun.

This post is a part of World Building Month — you can go see what other writers are building, too.

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