View Full Version : How do you make a Fantasy world similar, but different?
September 16th, 2002, 11:28 AM
In my story, i'm building an entirely new world, but it's based on Earth, 10, 000 years in the future.
Anyways, my nations were somewhat cut and paste cardboard types, David Eddings type, until i got some suggestions here. But even after i got those suggestions i thought about it and realized that my nations weren't complicated enough to be believable. So now i have to put in new ideas that will give it some realism without taking away from the fantasty element. How do i do that??????????
September 16th, 2002, 11:37 AM
Make your book about individual people and the world's will make themselves interesting. That's why Eddings, Tolkien, and Goodkind are so great to read, and why their worlds are so vivid. The world seems real because the people seem real. I could write about anyworld I wanted, but if my characters lacked human depth, it would seem like a bland world, and visa versa.
I say concentrate more on the trials and tribulations of the characters, and don't worry so much about the world because, to be honest, the reader won't be paying tons of attention to the world, even though they think they are.
Its a strange phenomenon.
September 16th, 2002, 01:02 PM
It is impossible for a writer to create a world that is compleatly orginal. We all have to use variations on a theme. After all you can't write music without using the basic melodic scale--the same one that everyone uses. However, I belive that a writer should attempt to arrange familar elements in an appealing and different way. So Se'dray-on if your going to expand your world and make it more detailed I would advize that you give it some spice.
Also, I agree with Forrest. If the characters are belivable so is the setting. If the characters are shallow and boring your world will be made out of cardboard in the eyes of a reader.
If you want to make your world more complicated I suggest that you throw in some politics. The way countries and systems are set up really defines the motivation of characters.
Also (if you haven't all ready) make a map of your country and just fiddle around with it. Draw a funny shaped mountain and give it a strange name. Why does it have that name? Does it have a special significance to the people that live near it? Orson Scott Card uses maps to get many of his ideas. I find that it really frees the creative mind. I suggest you try that.
September 16th, 2002, 01:32 PM
Of cours,e writers such as Tolkien have built such fantastcally 3-dimensional worlds not only because their characters are so real, but because they've spent so much time actually detailing their world's history and development.
Tolkien's world, for example, began asa series of unrelated mythical tales created as vehicles in hte development of a language he had created. He was a linguist by trade, and wanted to see how a language would affect/be affected by the culture in which it developed.
That's a bit too much for 99.9% of writers out there. But if your world is deep and detailed, it will show through in your writings whether you try to pass every detail on or not. Histories of places and names must be uniform- at least consistent with themselves. Think about LotR- as the hobbits travel through the area around Bree, the stories about the many places (the barrows, the tower of Amon Sul, etc.) all interconnect. This makes the setting seem 'real' though we're not really being force-fed much information at all.
In essence, Tolkien tells us only 2-3 stories about the region...only the parts relating to the present travels of the company itself. We are left feeling that we were given a snippet of a very large and real history because there really IS a much longer history to tell. If you're going to allude to the great "Clan Wars" or something to that effect, you had better know what they were, or you'll NEVER be able to fool a reader.
That's where a history or timeline is important. In order to convince your readers that something is realistic, you had better make the event as realistic as possible, even though you may never relay much of it on to the audience...
Readers are much smarter than we give them credit for...they cannot be fooled easily, so it's best ot have all your ducks in a row first.
In your setting, think about the world today, and the world you have 10,000 years from now. How has it changed and why? How has religion changed? WHat religions are there? How does that culture base its societal beliefs on ours? (cultures and societies don't just 'happen,' they evolve.) If your nations are very stale, think harder about them...WHY did they evolve the way they did? What were the reasons they evolved at all (i.e. what motivated them to form a new kingdom? outside dangers? the need to survive in a harsh climate...i.e. group survival?) Then think harder at those (you needn't necesarilly write all this down, just have it clear in your head at the least)...what outside pressures? Warring neighbors? Why did te neighbors attack? What resources did they want? What reasons for attacks at all?
Then think about the races...what races exist? Where did they come from? How did they manage to survive? Are all peoples of one race members of the same kingdom? Why? (remember...all caucasians aren't from the sae country today...nor are all Arabs, Slavs, Native Americans, etc... )
Basically, don't just think about how htings ARE, think about WHY they are that waym and HOW they became that way. In the end, you will immediately have a sense of depth and realism that you can then use in your writings.
September 16th, 2002, 02:50 PM
There isn't really anything important to add to what Wastra already said, except something minor perhaps: As you write your story keep your eyes open! What I mean is, that, even if you don't have EVERYTHING planned out from before (an imposible thing, except if you work on your world for years before you start to write), be ready to make-up things as you go and note them down for future reference. E.g., your characters are crossing a point between two hostile kingdoms: a plain between mountains. You might not have given any though about that certain plain, but then --when you're writing about the characters crossing it-- you may want to say that an old battle had happened there between the two kingdoms' armies, 150 years ago, and the place is haunted: cries are hears with the wind, at night, from the tormented souls of the slain. Happy stuff like that. ;)
But make sure you note it down, for other characters that are going to traverse that nice place.
Edit: And think about how your characters react to their enviroment (=world). E.g., how the characters that are crossing the haunted old battlefield feel? Does the historian think about the grand event tha happened here? Does the sorcerer hear the tormented spirits wispering, filling his soul with sadness? Is the young noble terrified by this experience?
September 16th, 2002, 03:49 PM
Another thing to watch out for is the dreaded "info dumps"
It is tempting to babble on and on and lose your reader from boredom.....;)
Remember that your characters know your world, so try and have them talk about it if they "know" it, not explaining it all the time.
Reflect the world through your characters' lives and emotions and it gives your reader something to identify with....
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