Researching WHILST writing your WIP, and why you shouldn’t do it…

It’s my own fault really.

A lot of my current WIP draws on modified versions of different mythologies from times of yore.  Now, before I did my first draft I spent many an hour on Wikipedia, mythology sites, old books etc as I worked to build the world behind my story. This went well, the background seemed solid, and the framework held for the first draft.

Then I made a silly mistake that I aim not to repeat.

I wanted some extra depth on my ancient Gaelic myth, so I dug around the web, eventually finding the fascinating “Epic Of Gilgamesh” (yes I know this isn’t Gaelic, I was branching out from my prime “Gaelic” source – curse ye Wikipedia and you’re suggestive links!).

Now, I should add that I’m not using this story in my own, but the story was fascinating, and I dug more into ancient Mesopotamia and other ancient legends. Inevitably, I found things I would just love to put in my WIP,  and so ensued manic reworks of outlines, backgrounds, histories etc just to fit in these extra juicy titbits of that I felt enriched my story.

Now I sit here, previously angry but now serene. Initially, the end result was  a sprawling mess – a prime example of trying to fit in too much to too little available space, but after that I took a heavy duty editing machete to this background work and trimmed the hell out of it. Gone were the various cherry-picked morsels from various old world religions – I took the best bits, the core required for my story, enforced consistency by way of sticking with one underlying mythos and I’m now left with a much simpler version of my background.

The exercise was helpful, but it means yet more work in draft three, when I get to that. My aim now is to consolidate my background documents into one master document and aim to work from there.

I suspect this is a newbie mistake due to my relative inexperience as a writer. I’ve never invested so much in world building before, but in order for this story to hold credence it needs to have a solid, consistent mythology for me to build upon. I also learned that this WIP will definitely NOT be a one book piece, there’s just too much – even with my simplified history – in my world for it not to be visited again. Whilst part of me is excited by this prospect, the other side is dreading the upcoming battles I’ll have with my own curiosity and the need to add “just one more thing”….

Anyone else experience this kind of story bloat when trying to cram too much in? Please say sit ain’t just me! 🙂

Here endeth the rant 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s