Leanna Renee Hieber and I gave a talk for the chapter on Saturday which involved discussing our chaotic way of world-building. I thought the talk showed off our chaotic process by being a little chaotic itself. :)
Fellow chapter memeber, Jerrica Knight-Catania posted her own brilliant blog on one aspect of the talk--Where the Magic Happens--inspired by the fact that both Leanna and I find a lot of our ideas and world-building happens in the shower.
As a very recent example of this: Sunday night, very late, after I'd put Jack to bed (this is something like 1:30am, btw), I ended up in the shower--the first peaceful shower I've had in awhile--and I started thinking about my current WIP. Thanks to Jack sleeping in on Sunday morning (hooray!) I was able to write a bit that day. I decided to mull over the upcoming scene so I'd be able to more easily start when the next chance to write arose (I have to take time where I can these days!).
Lo and behold, I realized I have a serious--and I mean SERIOUS--logic error in the section of story I'd just written that morning. This was the kind of logic error that could have gotten me into a world of trouble with both my editor and my readers. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before this. So I spent the rest of the shower and the first few minutes in bed figuring out how to fix the problem. Fixing things involved expanding my world AND giving my heroine an extra issue which placed a further wedge between her and the hero. It deepened the emotional journey of the characters as well as added more dimension to the world. At this point it hit me that the world was complex enough I could even write further stories here. Since I'd intended this as a once off, more stories was not in the original plan. But because of the way I world-build, this was also not the first time this had happened to me.
All I can say is thank you universe for hot showers! Even if I do have yet another possible series on my hands. :) This is also the perfect example of how my worlds get built while I'm writing. Even if there's been advanced planning before I start to write, I discover what I need to tell the story as I start telling it. As Leanna would say, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
So Leanna and I encouraged others to discover this magical place where you can solve all story problems, break through blocks and uncover hidden traps in your worlds. Once you start thinking about it, I'm sure you'll realize you already have that spot. Just wait, you'll find yourself hurrying to do the dishes, visit the doctor, or take a shower just so you can concentrate on your story.
The other thing we encouraged people to think about is where their stories start (delving into your writing process here). I start with characters, sometimes in a scene, sometimes with just a bit of dialogue or an impression, but I have to have characters or I don't have a story. Once I've got the characters, I go to the shower and start world-building. And remember world-building is done by all authors, whether you write contemparies, historicals, fantasies, paranormals, or suspense. No matter the setting, we all have to build a world the reader will believe.
So where do you start? When an idea first comes to you--or when you're trying to think up a new story idea--what hits you first? Setting? Plot? Character? Conflict? Just some random situation? What do you need to know to get excited about writing a new book? Where does your world-building start?