It’s mind boggling when you realise just how much stuff there is to think about. Every time I explored a thought-track it spidered off into an infinite amount of other thought streams which in turn spidered off into even more. If I wasn’t careful I would have gotten myself so bogged down in the fine details of how the Fire-Toads bile duct works, that I’d forget to get the basic stuff such as language and occupations figured out.
As the story starts off in the main characters village I’ll look at that village first. It’s one of the most important parts of the novel for a number of reasons. Apart from it setting the scene and introducing the main character etc, it’s a practical consideration. If I understand the village and I have a clear picture of it (although not the toad bile duct level) then it should make starting the novel a lot easier.
I’m going to avoid the ‘spider diagram of infinite doom’ by only focussing on these four areas.
1. Village Style?
What materials is the village made from? How are those materials procured? Are the buildings the same? What basic niceties are in a standard home? Any predominate plant life or animals?
What is the villages diet? How does the village make sure they have food and water? How do they defend themselves? What level of healthcare is available?
3. Religions and Beliefs
Do the villagers believe in a god or gods? How was the religion founded? Any festivals or ceremonies? Any artefacts, idols or imagery? Any Doctrine? How are religious leaders determined?
4. Jobs and Occupations
What jobs are performed by the villagers? How are their services bought? Does a villager’s job mean more than just a trade?
There’s lots of other areas of course, but once I can see all the above I’ll feel happier. I can then micro-plan everything else to my heart’s content.