THE FIRST DRAFT is a web serial where its entire creation is livestreamed, allowing you to get to see how stories are created, ask questions and join in. After every session, the results are posted here on the website, together with a replay of the Livestream. We are currently running three pre-season episodes where we plan out the story focusing on plot, worldbuilding and characters
Following on from our first livestream on Thursday about the plot of this new web serial, on Friday we took a look at worldbuilding, using our plot as a starting point. Below are the tidied up notes, as well as the original ones we took on stream. NOTE: there was some discussion about putting these notes on Google Docs for easier access, which I thought a good idea at the time. However, thinking over the weekend, I want to drive web traffic and so (as the pre-season is only 3 episodes long), I’m going to keep them as is. I will be creating a hub here on the web site for episodes and reference material going forwards.
A replay of the livestream can be found at the bottom of this page!
Next Livestream will be today at 3pm BST (i.e. UK time) where we’ll be delving into worldbuilding for this story. It was a ton of fun, so be sure to join if you can.
Livestream Notes (Tidied Up)
We are creating a sandbox in which to play, and as such, worldbuilding provides an important step in our set up. We need to understand a little about our world(s) to make it easier to write. Some writers go to great lengths with their worldbuilding, and I would usually take a little longer, but as most of this series is going to be about making things up as I go along without much planning, I only have this one session.
I’m deliberately trying to create a lot of options. If I were writing a novel, I would be tightening it up a lot. Consequently we have not one but four worlds with which to play. Two of them we are not going to see (at least not early on) so we don’t need to go into too much detail here. But the other two will be focal points for the early stages of the story.
In our plot, the world in which we start was originally a colony of an advanced civilization. They had faster than light travel (using the wormhole crystals that are key to our plot) and galactic trade. As I don’t need to go too much into details, I’m using Star Trek and the federations as my touchstone. When / If I come to write about this civilisation in detail, I’ll make deliberate choices to make them very different, but until then my guide is “kinda like Star Trek but different”.
This civilisation’s use of wormhole technology lead to the opening of a rift to the Big Bad World and defeating them took everything the advanced civilisation had, effectively destroying them. This is why our medieval world has all but forgotten the civilsation they were once a colony of.
Big Bad World
Our inspirations here are Doom, Starship Troopers, Starcraft, and Diablo.
This is a hellish world with few resources. As a result there is a culture of oppression / survival of the fittest
There are two classes in this civilisation: Drones and the Queens (we may change this name). The drones are mindless insect/ crab like creatures that overrun areas. The Queens are intelligent demonic beings. The Queens want to create a third, middle-class, where they take body parts from the world’s they overrun, to create a semi-intelligent worker force.
As a result, the Queen’s demand tribute from the worlds they overrun. They have no need of riches so things like precious metals are worthless to them. They might offer these as a way to get people from conquered worlds to offer themselves. For some, swapping a hand for a claw for wealth might be a price worth paying. But they might demand a head or a heart. Some will realise that the tributes are a price too high. The Queens are also devious, promising false riches.
They might be named The Pack, but that will be decided in the character section.
The inspiration is lords and serfs. There was much discussion about the serfs and possibly working in a slavery angle. However, as I stated, subjects like that need to be handled with care as it’s easy to cause unintentional offense. If I were writing a novel, I may look at this angle but utilise friends who have better understanding of the subject and sensitivity readers to guide me through revisions. Because I’m livestreaming a first draft, I’m going to make a lot of mistakes and I’d rather avoid causing unintentional upset. For that reason, serfs can freely change which lord they work for.
There are a minority that don’t work for any lord. They live free, but their lives are not good. This would be a reason for our protagonists to be working for the archeologist at the start of the story when the wormhole crystal is found.
We discussed magic and decided that this world has no magic until the wormhole crystal creates it for our protagonists. We spent a long time discussion magic and decided it would be taste-based. Eating certain things would cause your body to mutate and give you certain powers.
Because the story needs the world’s military to be destroyed it made sense that there was some form of overarching structure above the lords, possibly a kingdom.
The story will see our protagonists go into one of the wormholes created by the crystal, and then become trapped. Because this is not intended to become a traditionally published project such as a novel, we can choose worlds that we don’t see in publishing. Because we will be predominantly in this world, this needs to be the most fun to write. if it proves not to be, we can always have our heroes go into another realm
We decided Weird Western was a good idea. This world has already opened a portal to the Big Bad World and been overrun. The populace give tribute to the Big Bad. As a result, there are a lot of people with bug parts. There would be large families as a matter of survival as tributes would reduce the populace. An inspiration for this was something like The Hunger Games.
This world has guns (six-shooters) and magic based on touch where a practitioner sacrifices a body part for a spell (this would make what the Big bad is doing even more of a threat). Maybe I could use a finger to heal someone, but I can’t if it’s been replaced with a claw. The idea is that the magic on this world contrasts to that of our protagonists
Livestream Notes (Original)
- FTL Travel. Galactic trade
- Don’t need too much details
- Star Trek / Starfleet
Big Bad World
- Doom / Zerg / Starship Troopers / Diablo
- Culture of oppression / survival of the fittest
- Two tiers: Drones / Queens (Insects)
- Third mid-tier: The Ascended – mutanty
- Quest to upgrade drones with villager body parts
- Demands tribute from world’s they overrun. Some will go willingly. Some will realise it was a price too high.
- Sometimes it’s swapping a claw for an arm.
- False promises / False riches
- They have no need for wealth.
- Realm is dying / hellish realm
- Resources are scarce. Need from elsewhere
- The Pack
- Crab / scorpion people?
- Class system: aristocrats in city / farmer in villages
- Lord / Serfs
- Education – Lords are against it.
- Serfs are free to change Lord, but need to serve one to live.
- Small portion without a lord. Minorities. Live badly but free. Our heroes do this and have been working for archaeologist. They help find the crystal.
- How do Lords work together? Overarching Kingdom?
- NOTE TO SELF: BE CAREFUL STRAYING INTO SLAVERY TOPICS
- No magic other than what FTL Crystal gives.
- GAINED MAGIC: TASTE – temporarily mutate your body
Portal Realm – Weird Western
- This needs to be most fun to write
- Get out clause: heroes go through another portal to another world.
- This world has already opened portal to BBW. Have been fighting BB for years. Overrun.
- Needs to be fighting drones
- Populace give tribute to the BB
- Lot of people with bug parts
- Large families – readily sacrifice youngest and oldest
- Hunger Games – regular tributes for parts or bodies
- Guns / revolvers
- MAGIC: Sacrifice body parts (Touch)
Documents on Google Docs
Theme is to do with class
What has happened?
Years ago, an advanced civilisation set up a colony on a planet. They used wormhole technology to travel great distances which temporary tears holes in the fabric of space. One of these tears opened a portal to another realm filled with demonic / alien creatures. They nearly wiped out the entire civilisation, have to destroy their FTL capability and as such the colony forgot about their heritage over thousands of years. This might be a mix of traditional medieval fantasy and (because we can do less-commercial ideas) a weird western (To be decided in the Worldbuilding section).
An archaeologist finds the remains of the wormhole technology and brings it to the colony’s (now pseudo fantasy civilisation) aristocrats. They find it can open holes in space to other realms, and use this to send their troops through to steal riches and natural resources. It also gives people strange magical abilities.
A strange man turns up, who is part of the old advanced civilisation and has knowledge the colony does not. He warns them not to open portals but they expel him from the city to the farms and continue to open portals. As a result, the army goes into a realm where the big bad is waiting. They wipe them out and our big bad streams through.
The big bad might be conscripting people themselves (their own first draft), but there needs to be a steep price to pay.
The Aristocrats lock up the cities and abandon their villagers. The strange man recruits the local villagers (The First draft) to help defend the locals. He needs them to go through the latest portal and destroy it. They do this but in doing so, the portal closes behind them, leaving them stuck in a new world
They need to find a way back, save their world and put an end to the big bad.