Dear worldbuilder,

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 05:02 pm
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
Hi! I'm so excited for this exchange because worldbuilding is one of my favourite things.

Fandoms: Rivers of London, A Year and A Day in Old Theradane, Leverage, Harry Potter - Wizarding World

General notes

In-world meta or fic, please! (Art is welcome as a treat, if something here inspires you, but I'm more about words than images. That said, I tend to like art that is thoughtful about its symbology, and am often drawn to things with strong lines, story telling elements, and jeweltone colours.)

I'm here for the worldbuilding, so while I don't mind canonical characters showing up, I'm a lot more interested here in the world they're doing things in than relationships, extension of canon plots, etc.

On the other hand, I'm also a fan of character choices illuminating details of the world, so if that's a direction you feel called to go, go for it! Diverse kinds of relationships very welcome - platonic friendships, colleagues, competitors, etc. are all very interesting to me, as well as a wide range of ways people have sexual and romantic relationships and who they have them with.

Canonical levels of sex-in-story, violence, explicit description, etc. please, and canonical relationships where that might be relevant. (My tastes in non-canonical things on this list usually require setup of some length beyond the scope of an exchange like this.)

Likes: People being competent. People learning how to do the thing they want to be competent at. Changing interactions over time, especially things like teacher-student into peers and colleagues. Books or music or art that changes people's perceptions of the world and thus their lives.

Format: I'm generally pretty open to format of writing (fiction, travel guide, set of reviews, etc.) but please no poetry or music lyrics unless they're a smallish part of a larger collection of materials.

Libraries: I'm a librarian by profession, and several of my requests have to do with libraries. I believe there's a lot of different ways libraries can work, but I want to see libraries that do work, at least for their target population. (Hilarious moments for other people who are not their target audience are fine, though!)

There are reasons for librarian stereotypes, but please, if you write any of those, have there also be librarians who are also great at what they do and care about their library and the people who use it, even if in their own quirky ways. Same thing goes for colleges and schools, please!

Rivers of London

Characters:No characters, Original character(s)
(Canonical characters, also lovely.)
- The White Library
- genii locorum
- the Bodleian Library's magical collection
- non-Newtonian magic systems
- history of the Folly

As of this writing, The Hanging Tree is (electronically) in my grasp finally, and I expect to finish reading it by mid-February. I have not read any of the non-novel material yet.

The world, what I like
There are so many things I find fascinating in this series, but the two biggest ones are how rooted it is in the physical landscape (I actually inhaled all the books the first time on my first trip to London as an adult in late 2015), and in how the magic system (at least for the Isaacs) is thoroughly rooted in a consistent approach that has been built on and experimented on (thank you, Peter) over time. More of either (or both!) of those will make me very happy.

Ideas and questions
Obviously, there's a lot about books here. What's in the White Library? What's the development of magic in Germany, in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, in all sorts of other connected places, how does that play in? Likewise, what books are in the Bodleian, how are they arranged, what books are treasured, what are quirky favourites, what defy description?

We've had hints of other kinds of magic: both the genii locorum themselves, the demimonde, and then the hints from Foxglove Summer, of entirely other ways of being. Bees. Are there other magics rooted in nature we haven't seen yet? Other kinds of magic that work very differently? And speaking of the rivers, what are other rivers like? Or what does it mean in places like Dartmoor and Exmoor which have very much their own sense of who they are?

Finally, the Folly has such an amazing sense of space to it, and I wonder - like Peter does at times - what it was like in earlier ages, when it was full of young men, learning, or what it was like at times it was maybe a little less full. What it would be like to be shuttled from school to Folly and have to learn even more, apprentice and develop different kinds of relationships.

I see the historical Folly as likely very status conscious in terms of rank and seniority, and yet, clearly, you have wizards who are more skilled (at something specific or in general) or more intelligent. How might that have played out at another point in the history? How did people there deal with shifting changes in these things?

A Year and A Day in Old Theradane - Scott Lynch

Characters:No characters, Original character(s)
(Canonical characters, also lovely.)
- Interesting Flora and Fauna
- Libraries
- Museums and Cultural Institutions
- Restaurants and Food

The world, what I like
I ended up writing in this world for Yuletide this year, and had so much fun with all the random little touches. I'd love to see more of the world. I imagine it being a lot like the Italian city states (or the ancient Greek cities) where each has a decidedly different feel to it. I'd love anything that lets us see more of that, in some form.

Also, if you're not familiar with it, or want alternatives from what we matched on, the canon for this world is a single novella, freely available online. And a whole lot of fun.

Ideas and questions
As you might guess from that link, I have some thoughts about the library of Hazar, but I feel like that's only one tiny piece of the library. What else makes the library of Hazar special, besides their rigorous return policy? What other libraries are there and what do they brag about or do well?

Alternately, what's outside the cities? We get a few hints of fascinating animals or implied animals through the novella, but there have to be a whole lot more! What's travelling through the wasteland like? How dangerous is it? Are there obscure plants that do horrible things if you aren't careful? Gorgeous mesmerising birds? Something else?

Finally, while I didn't specifically request any of the canonical characters, there seems so much richness in watching them (or someone else!) scope out a museum or some other cultural institution (opera, theatre, music hall, concert, world's largest water organ) for a heist, or working their way through the interesting food and drink of whatever location strikes your fancy.

In terms of format, I think this setting is rife for a travel guide or travel journal, but also letters, food or performance reviews, a chatty cookbook full of anecdotes, or just plain storytelling.


Characters:No characters, Original character(s)
(Canonical characters are lovely!)
- Advertisement for Leverage Consulting
- Aliases and their imaginary lives
- Contacts of Leverage Consulting

The world, what I like
I love the pragmatism, but pragmatism that is also about emotions, and taking care of those (even if badly, sometimes, Nate.) About competence mattering. But one of the things I love - and why I picked this - is the richness of the background world. I admit to loving the time the show spent in Boston (my home, though I spent nearly 20 years living elsewhere), and how they got a lot of that sense of varied interlocking communities in place.

Ideas and questions
All of the tags come back to similar ideas: I'd love to see that richer background community, people going about their lives until something happens, whether that's being tapped for their specific skill or industry knowledge, or running into the crew (or just one of them) in some other form. I really love the episode with Parker on the jury, for that reason, and how much people hide and share, and which parts.

If you want to write the canon characters, what happens a few years down the road if Parker, Eliot, and Hardison need to tap the expertise of one of the people they've helped in the past? Or run into someone who knows them in a very different setting? Not dangerous, necessarily, but unexpected and strange?

Alternately, one thing we never really see is the initial conversation where people try to figure out if it's worth talking someone about their problem - how does that work? How do people find out about them? "Advertisement" is maybe the wrong word, but there's got to be some method for those ordinary people with big unfair problems to find out about Leverage Consulting.

Formats: I really love Hardison's over the top background development for aliases, and maybe something like that would be fun. (Social media presence, a blog, whatever of that kind) which ends up interacting with someone real.

Harry Potter - Wizarding World

Characters:No characters, Original character(s)
(This is the one of my requests where I'd prefer to avoid most canonical characters - see below.)
- Diverse religious community
- Libraries
- London Blitz
- War of the Roses

A little explanation required:
Between 2007 and 2015, I was one of the player authors on Alternity, an AU Potterverse project that started with one change to canon, had Voldemort winning the first war, and seven years of figuring out how to win the world back (rather literally.)

It was a huge project, and in the process, we did a lot of worldbuilding, which is where most of these prompts come from. In this case, because so much of my own headcanon is tied up in choices we made for Alternity, I'd strongly prefer if you avoided things and people that are in the current main timeline canon (small passing mentions are fine, but not a focus, please). I've picked my requests to make that much easier!

The world, what I like
What I love about the Potterverse is the sense of potential magic has. (And one of the things that frustrates me is how Rowling didn't fully explore those ideas in a number of ways and follow through on their consequences.) I love the idea of hidden magical communities, tucked among non-magical ones, or two interwoven but yet separate lines of history and motivation. I love the interplay between tradition and innovation, and what that means in practice.

Ideas and questions
The books are pretty explicitly non-religious, but clearly, there must be some students (and later adult witches and wizards) who are religious in various ways. What's it like to try and keep kosher at Hogwarts? Are there magical rituals that line up with specific religious festivals?

I have headcanon that many of the pureblood lines are actual lines of family religious traditions, as much as magic, each line (not just the Sacred 28) having its own things like preferred wedding charms, or how you do a funeral, or the thing you do with the apple trees in January to make the orchard spirits happy, and those mingle and grow over time as people marry in or marry out, or have good ideas for changes. Alternately, are there witches and wizards in that world who tend to spirits of place, or sacred sites, or ancient churches built on mounds with yew trees? And if so, how and why them?

(I should note here I am Pagan: I don't expect what you come up with to match what people do in our world, but I do care a lot about whatever religions you depict doing so well for those religions, in the sense of respecting actual systems as things people care about. If you'd like to explore Christianity, I'd prefer to see it as par of a diverse mix of religious approaches rather than the main focus.)

The London Blitz and War of the Roses both come out of some related discussions about history Rowling ignores.

What *was* the wizarding reaction to the Blitz? Were there Muggleborns who went back to their families in the East End and put up protection charm after protection charm to keep people safe? Did they try to stay with their families rather than go and fight, because they knew they could make a bigger difference at home? Did wizards and witches cooperate with the various defensive forces? What would a non-pureblood witch or wizard do to stretch rations, or help out their community, in ways that weren't obvious magic? Surely the wizarding world didn't entirely ignore it.

The War of the Roses comes out of a side comment I made in Alternity, a character talking about a popular history book about the Wars of the Roses, and how she can't imagine how Muggles ever made any sense out it, because it is completely confusing if you leave the magic out. I have kept coming back to the implications of that ever since, as it's a time period that regularly has historians tearing their hair out trying to keep it straight.

Perhaps the answer to the Princes in the Tower lies in that gap? Or some of the reactions to Richard III, and how he was treated after his death. (I should probably note here I am pro-Ricardian, but not rabidly so.) If you managed to work the menagerie at the Tower of London into it (presumably with some magical beasties), I would be especially delighted.

Finally, we only really see one library in canon, and I want more! Is there a library at the Ministry, and how does it work? Are there lending or subscription libraries, and if so, how do they work? What's an author talk like if it's not Lockhart giving it? How do you get to be a librarian somewhere? How are librarians trained to handle books with special care needs? What's the daily life like? What kind of embarrassing questions do people want help with that they won't admit to St Mungo's or an apothecary?
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