My siblings and I like to coin words. We have made some dandies too, like swavery (smooth+waves, like the motion of leaves in a light wind on a balmy day), and essence (see my article on that). One of our favorites, though, is fractalling (or fractallating as one of our friends called it). It is a principle that we first saw applied to writing a novel, but then we recognized in it a fundamental and universal principle (of course), and so we changed the name and adapted it to practically everything. (When can us Lausers ever leave anything the way we found it? We always have to make it better. πŸ™‚ )

Fractalling is based off of a mathematical phenomenon known as a fractal (go figure). You can read an amazing article about them from this article here by Jason Lisle from Answers in Genesis. Basically a fractal is a pattern created by an endlessly repeating equation. They are found all over nature, and are programmed directly into mathematics by God at the creation of existence (at Day 1!). They are impossible to evolve at all, and yet show beauty and design that are infinite. Hmmm…..

Anyways, we took the noun ‘fractal’ and used it as a verb to describe the process of taking a simple idea and systematically expanding and complexifying it using simple, repeated actions until it is not only bigger and deeper, but also more organized and more detailed. This is something that you can apply to anything that you are developing, be it a program, an article, a world, a story, a scene, an essence, a website, whatever. Of course, the system will change, but the principle remains. So what you need to do is take that principle, apply it to whatever you are doing, and then systematically expand and complexify that application using simple, repeated steps until it is a big, deep, detailed, and organized method for fractalling things!

I will give an example now, since I have found that our ideas generally take a lot of explaining for you poor non-Lausers to grasp. πŸ˜‰ I will do an easy one here for you to watch, one that illustrates the principle well. I will make an island.

Alright, first I need to think abstractly of what kind of island it is. Think very abstractly, very nebulously, if you please. Now I sit down with some paper and draw a very very simple shape that fits roughly with my nebulous idea. A square.

Now, I take that square and make it fit a little more with my idea (which is not a shape by the way) by warping and shifting it a bit. I try to keep all my straight lines, but I lengthen and shorten them to make them less like the sides of a square, and more like the sides of an island. This is very rough.

Now, I bend a few of those lines artistically (or not very artistically as the case may be). It is getting more complex, which is good. I leave a side or so untouched with this step to leave it a bit lopsided (because islands are anything but regular).

Now I swaver (I had to get that word in) a few of them. I add a few promontories here and there. By now I have pretty much forgotten the original idea, and I simply take each step and add a bit more detail to it until it is not that step any more.

Now I stretch a few places and rough up a few more places.

Again. Add some littler islands too, or else our big one will be lonely.

Now I have a nice little island, or at least the outline of one. Now what I would do is add mountains in the same way, then run rivers off the mountains, then send forests chasing after the rivers, then have fields and hills around the forests, then put in a few crags and beaches, and then put in a few roads and cities. But I won’t belabor my post with all that, and just leave that for you to experiment with. (By the way, it turns out a lot better on paper.)


I hope that you enjoyed this little bit of educational comic relief from my ordinary theological passion. Not that it is bad to have your best and highest joy be in God, or for you to exhort your fellow men to wake up and see the world as God’s, of course. In my mind, fractalling an island is an expression of a beautiful and amazing gift that God has given to man alone (as opposed to animals): creativity. It is also a time to reflect on how He created our world in majesty and glory, and how He programmed such beautiful and intricate designs into boring, hum-drum math of all things.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser


12 Responses

  1. I rather enjoyed this post. It was interesting and the drawing concept analogy was entertaining. πŸ™‚

  2. That was really neat Jay! Very interesting. I’ll have to remember that when I start work on my two new fantasy worlds. πŸ™‚

    • Two Fantasy worlds?? I have only one, and it fits all 11 or so of my fantasy stories quite nicely. In fact, I can’t keep any new stories separate from it! They all merge until the are apart of Ithelak. πŸ™‚ But if you are doing two, I am glad you know about fractalling now. πŸ™‚

  3. Well… I already have one. So by the time I’m done with these three stories I’ll have three worlds.
    (Though I am thinking on how I can put one of them in the world I already have.)

    • Ah. Well, I always liked big worlds, and when everything is in one spot, each story helps build the background for all the other stories. So that is why I have just one world. πŸ™‚

  4. I guess for me each story needs a world of it’s own because I create the world for the story and not the story for the world. And I just enjoy making maps and inventing my own countries. πŸ˜‰

    • Hmm…. I have over ten stories in my world, all extremely diverse. I have a hard time imagining a story that will not fit into Ithelak. It is unbelievably vast and interlinked with itself. I prefer the story to flow out of the history, so that it is deeply connected. You are not really making a whole ‘world’ per se if you make a world for each story. Ithelak is a globe, and contains five continents, with over 4000 years of history. My stories are distributed evenly around its girth and throughout its rich history. I have an endless terrain in which to explore and create maps and nations. Sorry, I am having fun here. πŸ™‚ This is not to disparage your method, of course. πŸ˜‰

  5. True, didn’t really think about that clearly, they’re not whole “worlds”, just lands. πŸ™‚

    Ithelak sounds really cool, I bet you have way to much fun working on it. πŸ˜‰

    • Right. πŸ™‚ Try putting them into one globe, one world, and they will multiply in depth, and call out of you a host of stories and characters and histories all passionate to be told. πŸ˜€

      I do…

  6. […] you aren’t already familiar with the term Fractalling, shame on you, and go read my introductory post on […]

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