World-Builder’s Disease is a term some people use to describe authors who focus so much on developing their world, setting, and characters that they fail to work on the plot and story. So how do you know when you’re in too deep?
If you ask anyone in my circle of friends and family, they’ll tell you that I’m a bona fide workaholic. I work two jobs, have a family, and go to school full-time: I routinely bite off more than I can chew. This habit translates over to my writing with all too much frequency.
When I first started building the world for The Cerberus Rebellion, I made a conscious effort to avoid falling too far into Worldbuilding. I finished the book with a deep understanding of my world, but without burying myself in the details. But as I’ve moved on to the next book and started developing the rest of my world, other ideas have piled on to my original plans and I’ve found myself neck deep in worldbuilding. And not just traditional worldbuilding, like writing biographies or working out the societies around the world of Zaria, but also in writing stories that will act as backstory or origin material for characters in my main line novels.
For readers, this obsession with worldbuilding can manifest in a couple of different ways: longer waits between releases, or if you fall into heavy worldbuilding in the middle of a novel and add so much information that the reader can’t keep track anymore.
I think the best way to realize that you’re too deep into world-building is by looking at the progress of the main novels in a particular setting and asking yourself if you’re creating backstory to flesh out your world, if you’re expounding on backstory for its own sake.
And once you do catch yourself too deep, bring yourself back on track!
Have you come down with a case of World-Builder’s Disease? What did it look like? How did you dig your way out of it?
Side note: During the month of August, The Cerberus Rebellion is going to be on sale for $0.99 at all major e-Book retailers to celebrate the upcoming release of Book 2: The Hydra Offensive. If you haven’t already, go pick up your copy!