Joyce Alton blogged a few weeks ago about how much of your world building needs to be in the actual story.
This has been a fascination of mine. I like to think I’ve a great imagination. I have created a fantasy world. The world has two moons. So I have thought about duel moon phases, what would tides be like with two moons? What about lights and shadows with double moons? I’ve drawn maps, thought out the geology and climate, seas, trade routes, countries, and boarders. I have the map at the start of the book. I’ve envisioned so much in my mind’s eye I want to share it. However it all needed, but it doesn’t need to be in the story. Not all the detail I’ve worked out, but the effects of these things will be in the story.
I have two examples I want to share, and I know I may stir up controversy but both examples are from stories I like, but as I’ve learned more about writing I see the errors for what they are.
First I’ll go with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I am a fan of Star Trek. (No I will not start the debate of Trekker vs Trekkie.) However, I remember when the movie came out. We were excited, Star Trek was coming to the big screen! I enjoyed the movie. But the nickname for the movie has been “The Motionless Picture.” Special effects, cool new looking USS Enterprise, and we spent 10 Minutes of film time going around the ship in real time. Later the Enterprise flies over Viger, and the movies spends more time with watching the ship fly over the bigger ship. While it was nice to take a good look at the space ships, but it didn’t move the movie along, it didn’t help the story.
Another point I’d like to make is the Lord of the Rings. Personally I didn’t like the chapters with The Old Forrest, Tom Bombadil. The story takes a detour until the party arrives at the Prancing Pony. A lot of story, a long story, and the Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite stories. However, the point is the story is first, and while you’ve created a wonderful world, too much of the world gets in the way of the story and slows things down. So true, share your world, but only show what helps the story go forward.