Worldbuilding – A Question

I’m currently reading Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. I’m late to the party, I know. Actually, I read the first book before the first movie came out, but hadn’t read the others until the last one (loved it). No real reason why I haven’t read them all. I guess I just was reading other things. Anyhow, I love me some Order of the Phoenix right now.

The sign of a good book for me, is if you see me carrying it around throughout the day, trying to sneak a few words in here or there between playing with the daughter or making sure the baby isn’t crawling toward something is isn’t supposed to be crawling to (this is his default direction, of course). It is a rare book that does this to me, but I cherish it when it happens.

I guess I can see where some of the critics are coming from, as far as the writing in the Harry Potter books goes. Ms. Rowling has a few “was-es” in there and her share of adverbs. These are the things us wanna-be writers are told to avoid. Her stories are so good, though, and her world so detailed, I really don’t thing these writing faux pas matter.

This is my biggest writing weakness. I’m a bit “seat of the pantser”. I can’t write from an outline and have trouble doing any planning before I write. I kinda just make things up as I go. I can pull this off pretty well in flash fiction and short stories. I don’t need to know a lot of details. It’s just not working for novel writing.

Does anybody have a good technique or know of software or ANYTHING that makes world building easier or more fun? I’m willing to try any method once, other than the stale old outline. Tried it. Can’t make it work. Outlines take all the fun of writing out of it for me. Help me!