Worldbuilding Rough Update: Wood Be Good

Biggest. Research paper. Ever.

Currently about 2/3 of the way through the third draft of putting together and rearranging various posts so related things clump together. Saturday I put together, among other things, some posts on dragons, on monsters and dungeons, and some on stuff related to forestry, survival, and why foraging isn’t just for food.

I’d like to be faster, but Hurricanus interruptus is a savage, nasty beast. So it goes.

Sometimes it’s tedious, but based on what I’ve written nonfiction-wise in the past, this is what works for me. I keep thumping seems-to-be-related pieces together next to each other until I get an arrangement that more or less flows from one topic to the next. Once I’ve got that, then I can see what pieces really don’t fit and should be booted, and what needs to be expanded on.

I don’t know if writing fiction is easier. It’s definitely different. In fiction, you create the characters and the setting, and they create the flow of the story as you write. Nonfiction feels kind of backwards; you’ve got the pieces, and then you need to create the flow from them. Weird. Doable, but weird.

Going to do my best to get this done by the end of the year. Knock on wood, because 2020, man.

13 thoughts on “Worldbuilding Rough Update: Wood Be Good

  1. One of my WIPs, a pair-who-will-become-a-couple are heading into the wilderness, and she’s enough of a specialist that she’s miffed at the idea of using spare time to make twine and rope by hand, demanding to know if he’s treating her like a camp-follower from his soldiering days. His response boils down to, if you’re on the ass-end of an unreliable supply chain, _everyone_ uses their spare time for making all the different things you might normally want to buy.

    (Their food situation isn’t desperate, at least as long as he can tool up for hunting and gathering: Their main problem is going to be avoiding pissing off the spirits that remained after people abandoned the area.)

    Another work, this one only in planning stage, a girl gets her head crammed full of useful information for harvesting the local forest, because the faerie/spirit court that manages it can tell that it’s out of balance, so if humans don’t help restore that balance, the lord of winter will manifest as an erlkonig instead of the more jovial aspect that the local Court of Seasons prefers. (The local humans are transplants from someone in authority attempting something Pol Pot esque several years back, albeit with pensions and whatnot to support them during the transition.)


    (I, uh, may have a fascination with edge-of-wilderness living, due to early exposure to books like Little House on the Prairie, My Side of the Mountain, and other ‘frontier survival’ fiction.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One idea you hear sometimes is that hunter-gatherer societies only needed to work a few hours a day to gather sufficient food.

      The idea seems to center around the assumptions that they are in an extremely bountiful area, and that only time spent gathering food counts as “work.”

      My view is that between gathering food, preparing food, storing food for future use, making tools, maintaining tools, taking care of sick, injured, elderly and children, there is always work.
      And when there is work, anybody who can do it, does it.

      “Leisure time” is what happens when you ignore the work that needs to be done.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes – one thing that doesn’t come up unless you get people who’ve really thought out the archaeological evidence is, sometimes there would be break-back periods of “work every hour you can still see and plenty you can’t,” counterbalanced by everyone dropping in their tracks for a week or so.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m making the assumption that without sophont competition for plant and animal resources, he’s able to optimize his hunting/gathering to a degree that even a family group wouldn’t be able to.

        He’s still going to insist on prepping for planting a garden the next year, and acquiring good steel tools as soon as they can get some trade goods ready. Fortunately, her specialty will help out with that.


        Liked by 2 people

      3. Wasn’t it LeBlanc’s Constant Battles that pointed out that this was partly due to methodological issues in some of the fieldwork?

        IIRC, a) offering truck rides to gatherers, thus cutting the time and energy cost of walking b) counting food processing time as social/recreational simply because people talked while doing it.

        If one accurately measures the work, and carefully thinks the logic out, one realizes that without birth control or semi modern agriculture, human populations will expand to fill the carrying capacity of whatever resources can be harvested and processed with all available work used. Probably with a lot of warring along the way.

        Liked by 2 people

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