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I have been thinking about outlines a lot in the last month. I have also been thinking about character development and world building.

In all my craziness I decided to write a story that takes place in the future. (Why did I do this?!?) And let me tell you, it is not easy. It makes me even more in awe of people like Tolkien and George R. R. Martin and what is the name of the person who wrote Dune- Frank Herbert.

I want my world to be rich with detail, familiar yet unfamiliar. And that is bloody hard. When I was writing the first draft I kept telling myself: just put the story on paper you’ll sort the details out later. But now is later. And my world is kind of flat, not as gritty as I would like and in all honesty, really hard to understand.

I want my future world to be original. But the second I start to fiddle with it, I end up writing bland copies of worlds that are already out there: the futuristic toys of Star Wars, the bleakness of the Hunger Games, the zaniness of the city in the Fifth Element. I know that as writers we draw from the stories we read and watch, but I really struggle with the notion that the world that I am building is just a watered down copycat mishmash of what is already out there.

So now I am going back, and trying to decipher my world in order to bring order to my story. This lead me to think about outlines- maybe just maybe those people who make those crazy master outlines have a point. Sure, it was fun to just write and see where my imagination would lead, but now in the editing phase. Well it sucks, it is almost like writing the book all over again. Though, I guess is the point of the second draft. Ugh, writing is way more fun than editing.

So my question for my fellow writers is – how much world building to you do for your stories? And how much do you think is really necessary?