Where to start....

Where to start....
Some randomly generated mess created by AI with bad prompts. It reminds me that I need to paint more.

A few years ago, back in the BeforeTimes™, I set for myself a lofty goal. A goal of taking the world of my imagination, of which I often retreated to, and fleshing it out into physical form. Picking up one of my many empty journals that I have saved for such an occasion, I opened the cover to the first page, grabbed my favorite pen (aligning it to the ready position) and.... stared blankly into the white abyss until enough anxiety washed over me that I closed the journal and pondered why I was so foolish to even think that I could do such a thing.

There is something about the realm of imagination and its ability to effortlessly create intrinsic and complex systems that makes daydreaming feel so rich, compelling, and organic. Our mind's ability to seamlessly integrate the laws of nature, the awe of the unnatural, and establish a sense of self and scale within it all is what allows us to become so easily lost in lands of our own fiction. Never having to think about the why until we have once again returned to the cusp of reality. Exploring our imaginations, the worlds come to life in an instant. Backstories already written, cultural lines have been drawn, drama just waiting to unfold. Extracting that world for others, I wish was just as simple.

Nevertheless, if it can be created in my mind, then surely it is not such an impossible task. I am my mind's master after all. If it means adventuring to the far corners of my imagination and peeking behind curtains, then I may still yet get to be the explorer of uncharted lands that I dreamed I'd be as a child. Bringing back curios and strange tales to enthrall my audience with each new adventure. And so, with renewed vigor, I reclaimed my journal, made peace with my anxiety, found my best thinking hat, and began again.

Best advice I can give when it comes to worldbuilding (not that I'm an expert or anything) is that there is no best place to start. All spots are equally daunting. Daoist and Buddhist wisdom infers that all things in life influence all other things in life. Fleshing out small details gives clues as to the shape of larger details. Large details create boundaries in which small details exist. Systems influence systems. If all you know is that everyone in the world writes with really cool looking pens, then that is as good a place to start as any. What resources are needed to create these pens? Where do the resources come from? Are they hand crafted or mass produced? What media are they used to write on? How is that acquired? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Each detail fleshed out gives a clue as to how the next detail links to it. Eventually linking enough details together will lead you to discover the 20 year cultural conflict over an obsidian mine because those etched obsidian pens were all the rage, (up until bamboo pens with glow-in-the-dark ink became the latest thing), but still the fallout from the conflict led to generations of strife between those cultures until the plucky young hero of your novel shows up to fix it all because young love, angry uncles, a climactic ending, and... a spicy chicken sandwich? I'm running out of steam on my example here and may be a bit hungry, but I think you get the point.

And that point, is exactly what I've been doing for the past few years. Stewing on one detail to the next, marinating in the soup of ideas, simmering out the impurities, and reducing it all into one fine sauce for a story. (Okay, maybe I do need to get some food, brb).

From the outset of my journey, I had no interest in writing some dystopian novel full of cliché bad guys with some overarching plot point of "oh see, I told you this thing was bad". Popular media already seems to be littered with these types of stories, plus that is not the fantastical world of my imagination. I really want to explore how things can go right. What a world really looks like when we make peace with and build upon our differences. What a world looks like where everyone actually gets to enjoy their lives and find meaning in their existence, rather than just living to survive another day.... it is with this line of thinking that I eventually found the Solar Punk movement.

Not to say that I am working on a Solar Punk™ novel or trying to speak for a scene that is largely communal anyway, but that I happen to find myself walking a similar path as those that are also within the movement. Having witnessed a large divergence of idealism and a general sense of "¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Utopia how?", I decided it might be best to share my notes on worldbuilding in the hopes that others may find it useful.

Which brings me to the point of this post, the point of this blog, the conclusion of this, hopefully, coherent thought train. This blog was created with the intentions of serving two functions: (1) a way for me to practice the art of writing and hopefully nudge me closer to that far flung goal of actually writing a book, and (B) maybe serving as a point of inspiration for others. Main plan is to break the world down into layers, focusing each through a solar punk lens, refining the ideas, and putting them out there for community feedback, starting with the Sense of Self and building outwards. I feel as though that will be the best way to shape the world organically and luckily, I have plenty of notes and thoughts to get this ball rolling.

Well, that = that. Would love to hear any questions, feedback, encouragement, etc. that you may have, so feel free to reach out!

Thanks for reading! :)