View Full Version : characters/atmosphere in a sci-fi/fantasy story
October 30th, 2002, 08:38 AM
how do you all go about doing that?
October 30th, 2002, 09:32 AM
Tough question. You've either got the knack to make it good or you don't I guess. Otherwise, you learn to be good at writing those things.
Basically, a small idea pops into my head, expand it, figure out characters, plot twists, name the characters. This is short stories I'm talking about. I then make things up about the characters and setting as I go to add to the basics I already planned.
October 30th, 2002, 10:15 AM
A common mistake with fantasy/sci fi characters is that they becocome to classified into these groups:
dark, evil force
the list goes on and on...
To make your characters truly real you have to step outside of these classifications. A character may fit into one of these groups but his or her identity should not be defined by it. Plastic, cardboard characters tend to dominate many novels with their two dimensional ways.
As for atmosphere I usually let that just come as I go. The feel of my story develops along with my characters.
Good luck! I hope this helped.
October 30th, 2002, 11:17 AM
that sounds excellent, thank you very much
October 30th, 2002, 12:55 PM
Hard one, there is no "set rules" to writing any story.
But I will try and explain how I do it, for what it is worth.
I always seem to start with a single idea....
One was, the hero has this marvelous sword, but who made it , why and how?
That sort of led to two years of madness... from which I haven't yet recovered. The story was a monster of well over 200,000 words....:eek:
I first set out to create a typical fantasy world, but then it got changed as I began to research the making of a sword......
It ended up being a reflection of 13th to 14 th century Europe... Three races (all human) one torn by a civil war, one using the civil war for its own ends and one a reluctant ally of the uncrowned King..... I threw everything I could into the mix.... battles, love, destruction, creation. In fact it became one overblown mess in many ways....
But it taught me how to write, how to move characters in a scene, what to do and more importantly what not to do... I think the best rejection of this story was from Baen books "strong idea... but the language is too ornate for us."
The second major effort had as it's start a very large wide brimmed hat with an even larger white feather in it.
The piece gained a life of its own very quickly and began to be very tongue in cheek.... I loved the swashbucker movies I saw as a child and they sort of crept into the story line.... I also loved the old fashioned westerns.... they too sort of ambled in.... I based one character on a dear friend, the other well, he has a lot of me in him....
This has had about six rejections, all personal letters from submissions editors. *sigh* But at least it is a leg up from the standard printed form.... :(
I think what I am trying to say is write about things you like to write about. Feelings you understand and know. Use fragments of people you know... looks, manners etc... Use the world around you....
Then practise writing.... practise framing the words, edit and re edit....
And most importantly let the piece grow in your mind as you write.....
Least that is how it works for me....
October 30th, 2002, 04:21 PM
Well, I have an idea about atmosphere, so I thought to share it with you, guys. :)
I've found that atmoshpere, and suspence mostly, can be created with moving the story more slow than usually. E.g., the enemy horseman is coming near, but you don't jump to write imediately the confrontation. There are two ways you can slow-down: (1) Discription; e.g., discribe how the horseman looks like as he gets nearer and nearer, how he raises his sword gleaming in the sun-light, etc. (2) Thoughts; e.g., what the horseman's target (your POV characters perhaps) thinks, seeing him coming: is he afraid? Ready to p*ss his pans? He's drawing his blade thinking of some kind of strategy? etc.
This way you can create a kind of suspens and atmosphere. But you must slow-down at the right moment. If all the story is writen that way it would be boring, IMO...
October 30th, 2002, 05:57 PM
I figured I'd add a thought to Bardos's suspense idea.
Suspence is generated when the outcome of a given situation is uncertain. And that's not all. The reader has to have a vested interest in the outcome as well.
Quite often I find that I start out writing scenes where the outcome is pretty obvious. The hero fights the badguy - or worse one of his 1 dimensional minions. If I'm only half-way through a heroic fanstasy, I can't really say that the hero is in danger of dying - how would I fill up the rest of the book? The trick then is to figure out ways of generating uncertainty. (In my day job I'm a physicist and generally have to figure out ways of reducing experimental uncertainty so in a cosmic sense things all balance out I suppose.)
October 31st, 2002, 11:12 PM
I just get an idea and sit down and start to write. I realize that this is not the best way for everyone, heck, sometimes it's not the way for me:p but that's how i do it best. while i'm writing snippets of places, people and events pop into my head. i stop for a few moments to jot them down. when i can't write anymore i go back to my ideas and expand and expand and :rolleyes: well, you get the idea. i never, never, never - sit down first and plan it out. that just completely ruins my writing vibe.:D
November 8th, 2002, 06:35 AM
keep a pad and pencil next to your bed. think about watching a movie that is already made as you are falling asleep, based on some small idea that you have. character, setting, action, etc. you will think of something. write it down. i find that my best ideas and breakthroughs are from my subconscious when i am on the verge of sleep. I will jump out of bed in the middle of the night to work one sentece of my book that I must have been dreaming about. When i wake up with an idea and dont write it down and only remember that i had an idea and not what it was in the morning, i feel like the biggest idiot and curse myself dammit.
that is my advice.
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