1. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    A fantasy world

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by The Magnan, Jan 19, 2012.

    I'm finding it difficult describing a fantasy world, can anyone give me advice. I feel my ability conjure things up in my head is good its just putting to paper is trickier than I expected.
     
  2. Hellchoseme
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    Hellchoseme Member

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    Try reading more things with a setting simular to yours, and learn from them.
    I'm not saying rip them off or anything, but they might teach you something.
     
  3. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    Thanks, I have been reading books by Stephen Erikson, and he does a brilliant job of descrbing settings. I just struggle to put it onto paper. You have the image in your head, just you can't find the words to match.
     
  4. Hellchoseme
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    Hellchoseme Member

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    I find the setting takes alot of preparation. I think you'll notice that fantasy worlds tend to be described with comparissons to real things and places. Give that a shot.
     
  5. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    That might just work, thanks
     
  6. Bran
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    Bran Senior Member

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    Remember, show, don't tell ;) Make the world, draw some maps and flesh out all the details before you begin writing.
     
  7. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    I have actually attempted that in the past, I may end up redesigning the region.
     
  8. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Try reading the opening chapters to a bunch of fantasy books. I recommend Terry Pratchett, given that a lot of basics are explained within the first few pages.
     
  9. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Try some practice piece with setting scenes - find an image of a place and open a word doc (or grab some paper) and then describe the place as you might in a story. You could even try sketching your setting on paper first and see if that helps you to describe it, or bullet point some of the key features you want to show to the readers.

    When your stuck, looking at other examples is always good, but just looking is not always the best thing to do, I believe.

    Hope that of some help!
     
  10. Kesteven
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    Kesteven Member

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    If it's just a case of describing, it might be helpful for you to just do your best describing some aspect of the world and then posting it here, so we can suggest specific areas of improvement?
     
  11. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    Thanks for all your suggestions and I might try that to see what you all think... however, I'm not perfect grammatically but I am trying to improve that aspect of my writing. I'll post something in a few days time.

    A land scarred by mortals and gods alike. Poisoned by centuries of warfare the land known as the Badlands or as scholars insist upon calling it Jagara's Scar is an endless desert, with Jagara's teeth protruding to the east, and her tail west. The inhabitants of this foreboding land have learnt to adapt in order to survive. This land had not always been like this. In the years prior Jagara's downfall and the Mechanist’s dominance this region of Sycane had once prospered under the rule of Edge, and if not for the Serpentine uprising then maybe things would have been different. Axhel’s personal vendetta shattered the Earth Goddess, the dunes in this land were her blood, and her loyal followers dust in the wind. At the very heart of the desert, a rumour took shape, that would later inspire adventurers to hunt it down. The rumour was that Jagara's shards were scattered, and that her soul was the only reason why the land still supported life, still thrived under a buckling pressure of intolerable heat and viscious cold.

    ----

    This may be used as an opening.
    - Sycane is where this is set
    - Jagard/Jagged is the Earth God, bound and nearly shattered by the Mechanist, Axhel God of Machines/War
    - The Edge are ancient raise of humans that would later head east to Firann a dormant volcano located in the mountains. This would force them to adapt and by the time the first book begins the Magnans/Magnians would have evolved control and manipulation of fire.
    - The Serpentine are followers of Axhel, and would later forge an empire in the Badlands/Jagard's Scar.

    I hope that clears most things up, and any advice would be nice
     
  12. Kesteven
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    Kesteven Member

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    I think aside from the lack of punctuation, the flow of that is quite good and there's some good imagery.

    The main problem I think is that it's quite confusing, mostly because it introduces too many names without explaining who or even what they are. For instance, it's clear that Jagara's Scar is a region, but then you talk about it having teeth and a tail and being 'her', without making clear what you're alluding to. Then 'Under the rule of Edge' makes it sound like Edge is an individual. Then you talk about Axhel and the Earth Goddess, without explaining who either of them are or what relation they have to the Serpentine uprising. And in 'that would later inspire adventurers to hunt it down', it isn't clear whether 'it' is the rumour, the land, or the shards.

    Generally in a mythical history the most important thing to do is make all the players very memorable, and try and phrase things in a way that's colourful but also simple, because if people have to spend time working out who's who or what's going on, they're going to get bored and frustrated.

    Just as a guideline here's a clichéd but effective way to do it:

    1. Open with a vivid description of the land as it is today, to its inhabitants
    2. "The land had not always been like this..."
    3. Describe the land as it was, and the Edge
    4. Introduce the characters of Jagara and Axhel, and the enmity between them
    5. Recount the tale of Axhel leading the Serpentine to conquer the land, displacing the Edge and shattering Jagara
    6. This brings us back to the modern day, where you can introduce the legend of Jagara's scattered shards, and the hope for the future that will presumably define the main arc of the story.

    Basically just remember that your audience doesn't have any prior knowledge of the world, and introduce things clearly before you get too deep into the details.
     
  13. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    That sounds like a plan. I will do that. the Edge, are group of ancient humans and the ascestors of their Magnian/Magnan descendants.
     
  14. TheComet
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    TheComet Member

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    I just copy-pasted this from another post I made in another thread:

    I suggest not trying to describe your scenery, but let your characters do it for you. The great thing about the human mind is it makes assumptions based on the few facts given to it. Let your characters interact with the scenery, and your readers will generate the rest in their own mind for you. The best part about this technique is you actually broaden your range of audience, because your readers don't all think the same way; They can generate what feels right for them, not what feels right for you.

    I'll make a brief example:

    Lisa slammed the wooden door open with her foot and forced the large washing basket through it. Careful not to fall into the endless depths of the sky, she lifted the heavy basket over her head so she could see where she was placing her feet. The old wooden planks creaked as she progressed forwards on the edge of her perch to the long, thick vines, which were littered through the treetops and stretched into the foggy distance. A light breeze swepted up from the underlying light-blue sky, swinging the washing on the vines back and forth. Lisa watched as a flock of orange zines manouvered their way through the thick strands. The noise they made sounded like Jar Jar Binks in a blender, causing her to cover her ears in pain. The basket slipped off the edge, ripping some green leaves with it. It crashed into one of the thick trunks before being swallowed by the neverending void.

    So I didn't really describe any of the scenery directly, I only described interactions of the scenery with my main character. Yet I think we all have a picture of a wooden house in the treetops with tons of vines. There's no need to explain in detail what zines are. All that's important is 1) They're some form of orange bird and 2) they are annoying. The great thing about this is we all imagined it in our own way. A way that satisfies us.

    TheComet
     
  15. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Mine would be too big to proofread through it. Mine is gonna take quite awhile to flesh out, but once im done i would be glad to set an example. I would start by reading others and evaluate what you could create on your own without stealing. Paolini did this by mistake, but it's excused since Internet was drastically simple back then.
     
  16. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    Yea, you could say its like a jigsaw, in many ways.
     
  17. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    I agree with what Kasteven is saying. The readers would be confused by this; you've introduced a lot and not really explained things - personally, I think there is to much in one paragraph. I think it should be split across several; split and add more into it so that it's easier to read and understand.

    Here are two tips that I've read:
    1. Show don't explain
    2. One idea per paragraph

    You shouldn't and don't need to try and cram everything into one pharagraph, you can spread it out across several, to make it easier for the readers to read and you can explain stuff with out it getting too long. Now, if I remember right, back in school, they said (or somthing similar) to start a new paragraph for each new subject. I think you could just type first then go back and start editing, to make it understandable for the reader and sperating it into several paragraphs if need be. I don't see why you can't let each part unfold first.

    Something will need to be explained, if hard (or maybe impossible) to show and other parts of a story may call for explainations, depending on what type of story, I believe. But trying to show as much as you can will help the reader to visualise it and it will make them feel more as if they were there and not reading, that's what I think it meant by that - making the read feel as though they were in the story and not just reading.

    Anyways, I hope that helps you some!
     

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