I’ve been working on a story to submit that takes place in an already established universe and the experience has been…interesting, to say the least.
When I’m writing for myself, it’s fairly speedy. I make up the rules for the world and away I go, only stopping because I saw something shiny on the internet. The story will be fully formed in my head and I’ll usually only change things based on the story itself.
But because I’m playing in someone else’s world, I have to abide by the rules. Which means research. Lots and lots and lots of research. Keeping in mind that I only have to write a thousand word sample, I would say that I’ve devoted a good three or four hours to just reading articles and books to make sure that what I’m writing makes sense within the confines of the world. And this is a lot for someone who never does research when they write.
I’ll write for a little bit, then wonder if I can actually do what I’ve done and then head back onto wikipedia. And then go back and erase three hundred words. It’s a jarring and jolting process, like riding in a car driven by someone who doesn’t know how to drive stick; I go forward a foot, jerk to a violent stop, roll back a few feet and start again.
But, in a way, it’s freeing. Most of the heavy lifting has been taken off of my shoulders. I can just focus on the plot and the characters without spending too much time on world building. Its a shift in priorities and a different type of writing that I’m enjoying and fits better into the time I have available.
So, maybe, in a few months I’ll be contributing to someone else’s universe and then I can take another whack at my own worlds.