Reflections On The A To Z April Blogging Challenge: World-Building

worldbuilderI Discover That I Am A Very Small And Extremely Insignificant God

It was my entry for the letter O that tipped me off.

“Madame Crepusky again!”  I said, surprised and pleased to see that that dubious lady had bobbed up yet again in my Blogging From A To Z.

And then I sat back, staring at my computer screen, in something like shock.

Because I had just realized that I was a god.  Not a big God (note that I don’t appear to rate a capital G!), but a little one.  Because I was building a world, and that is the action of a god.

I’d already planned, of course, to have one character (Lady Ermyntrude) who would provide a continuous thread through all of my posts (well, in the end, most of my posts; anyway, my A To Z entries are supposed to be her scrapbook…).  But it took me until O to realize that a world was growing out of Lady E’s scrap-book.

If you write fiction, or know about writing fiction, you will (probably) not think that I am a raving, megalomaniacal lunatic.  If you don’t, here’s one thing about it: sometimes, characters seem to take control of the story.  For a writer, this is convenient.  The characters seem to write the story for you.  This saves the writer a lot of brain-strain.  As a writer, I had experienced this before, and I knew that, when it happens, it is story-magic, and the proper thing to do is to welcome it (with certain reservations).

But, at the mystical letter O, I realized that I was experiencing something new.  It was not a character that was coming alive, but a whole world.  Lady E’s world, a world that is based on, and yet thoroughly unlike, England, 1890ish-1945ish, as represented in the popular fiction of that era (or rather, those eras), was developing a tone and a character of its own.  And that had never happened to me before, as a writer.

And then all of the hours that I’d spent designing the images for my posts- I spent upwards of 8 hours on some of these babies- seemed worth it.  Who cares if I spent an hour and a half designing telegram forms (for my T post)?  It made Lady E’s world that much more real.  And it didn’t matter that I spent perhaps 12 hours (not much of an exaggeration!) on the images for my O post; it was, as I said, at O that this My-World-Is-A-Character revelation hit me.  Because it was while I was making the ad for “O is for… Omens” that I realized that Madame Crepusky had a career arc.  Check it out:

A:  First appearance of Mme. Crepusky.  She is mentioned as almost inheriting money from someone’s aunt (in a Testimonial in an ad for Arsenic). 

G: Ghosts.  Mme. Crepusky is mentioned as being the medium at a seance, and having true mediumistic abilities.  Since it is a seance in the home of an Earl, and since she is mentioned in an article in a learned journal dedicated to Psychical Research, she seems to have “come up” in the world. 

O: an ad for the psychical services of Mme. Crepusky.  At first, I thought that this was the height of Mme. Crepusky’s career: now I suspect that, after “coming up” in the world, she has gone at least a little bit back down again.  I mean, advertising is so very… vulgar.  Perhaps all of her fine friends have deserted her.  Perhaps she has been exposed as a fraud.  Who knows?  But Mme. Crepusky does seem to be looking for a new market, in this post.

And World-Building crept up on me. 

I didn’t see it coming.

There was a crashing sensation, and then everything went black.

When I woke up, my wallet and pocket-watch were gone.

And so was The Letter.



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