Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Economics of Worldbuilding
And that's totally not what I wanted to talk about! What has been on my mind is a little different: I've been working on my game plan for my revisions, and I've actually pulled together the first three chapters (sorta), but with that comes a major change. I've always had the main players in my world be on the poor end of things. This is just because of the way I saw their world working--moving around a whole lot, even if you do have marketable skills, just doesn't lend itself to making lots of mullah. I'm trying to change that. But in doing so, I realize it touches on SO MANY things.
So, for instance, it makes a difference in what kind of neighborhood they live in, what car they drive (or their assignment drives, in this case), the clothes they wear, whether or not they have a cell phone, if they have a home computer, what kinds of food they eat, etc etc etc. I keep thinking about this an realizing how deep it can really go. And the trick is to make it all work together, without revealing how much its all tied together (because, lets be honest here, I hated economics in high school, and I figure most teens do too).
The other point is how the person views money. Is it something that has just always been there, easy for the taking when needed? How does that extend to their personality? How do they relate to the world around them is they've always been rich/poor? This has been the hardest part for the re-working, as it means that I have to think about my character's relationship with those people she's assigned to help, and how money might play an issue. I don't care what anyone says, if you've never been poor, it's impossible to understand and relate completely to people have have been or are destitute. For several years in junior high I shopped at thrift stores, not because I wanted to or it was as "retro" as it is today, but because I had to. I know what poor it like. And I don't want my character to end up like one of the spoiled rich kids I occasionally get in my classes who don't know how it is to work for what they've got. (I counted three Louis Vitton bags in a single section once--it kind of pissed me off.)
Okay, so anyhow, economics--it's not just for politicians. It is a very real element for characters, and the world they live in.