Why did I decide to write speculative fiction? Crime thrillers would be so much less effort, or romance, even. At least they are based in the real world.
But maybe that's why. I'm sitting here with thirty sheets of handwritten notes covering everything from the rules of magic to what people eat, from who is best at doing what, through to maps of important areas that exist nowhere except in my head. And I haven't even started on the plot yet!
Every time I start a new story, short or novel, I have to build a world. Usually from scratch. All of us writers of speculative fiction do, to one extent or another. Maybe that's why there are so many massive trilogies, or stories set in a common milieu, like The Culture.
And I guess that's part of the fun. Its also a huge source of frustration, when you find you cant do something because earlier in the universe you decreed magic worked a different way. Do you stick to the rules, or bend them? All up to you. How much do you want to rewrite.
Still, this universe has the scope to host several stories. Doesn't make me any more or less careful with it, and doesn't change how much detail I put in, but it make me think a little farther ahead.
Should be able to get to the plot by the weekend. Can't wait. The Under is such a rich universe, the options are going to be endless :)