World-Building, Author Ambitions, and Reader Expectations

Land of the Giants, “The Crash”

I’m going to compose a background post for the story universe that I created for my first story, A Little Trouble in Big Sky. When I first wrote it I sketched out a couple of paragraphs as an explanatory prologue, and other world-building hints were scattered throughout the story. I’m happy with the amount of detail I provided at the time, and I think the story still stands on its own.

So why am I adding more detail now? Partly because, after almost nine years, I’m actively thinking about writing another story set in the same universe. It probably doesn’t strictly require more specification or elaboration, but I admire how Aborigen’s categories help save time and exposition by warning the reader up front that they are entering a size story and what kind of size differential to expect. I’m also looking forward to the sheer creativity of extrapolating from what I’ve written and finding room for different stories.

Another motive for creating a setting where size-differential is “expected” is to allow character development that is unencumbered by people having to acknowledge and process otherwise-fantastic size-differential. I want to show real people in real relationships, and having to spend time where they deny their own senses while trying to grapple with giants or tinies detracts from that.

Now, don’t get me wrong; the bewilderment and awe of encountering fantastic size-differential is an important and valuable element of size fantasy, and I certainly don’t want to eliminate it entirely. I also don’t plan to write stories exclusively set in constructed size worlds. I still get the urge to take a simple vision of a size encounter and describe it intensely without digression, and I plan to continue indulging such urges.

Paradoxically, I believe going to the trouble of fleshing out a size world can make the stories set in it more accessible to non-size-pervs. It helps you think about the motivations of your characters, which are always formed in the context of what other people do in similar situations. Consequently, your characters make more sense and are therefore more relatable.

I have decided against trying to formulate a size world for each of my stories; not all of them lend themselves to rich extrapolation, and of course many of them derive their juice from featuring unexpected and incomprehensible size-differential. Despite those aspects, however, some have managed to include favorite characters and/or relationships that could warrant sequels. I expect to rely almost entirely on my own passions to determine if any get expanded.

Anyway, look for the Big Sky category to get a background post soon and another story sometime this year.

UPDATE: My Big Sky background post is now up.

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