1. woken2reason
    Offline

    woken2reason Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia.

    Ahead of my self and stressing

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by woken2reason, Aug 30, 2008.

    I have recently began writing the outline of the novel I wish to write. All is going well, but, its a bit confusing to explain. Its set in 1980, in a country that dose not exist, except on paper and in my mind. Also it is moor advanced technologically than us. My question is, is it too much? How could I explain it to the reader, with out it joining the kindling in the fire place?
     
  2. guiltyvictim
    Offline

    guiltyvictim Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    The first thing to remember when telling a story, is that you don't "tell" the audience anything about the world and the characters- you "show" the audience.

    What you need to do is to put your character(s) through a "life in a day of" journey to show the audience your world. Bring elements of the world into the story through the character's journeys, and spread it throughout the story.

    Take Bladerunner, a film I only just watched recently, you're peer into the world through the characters' journeys, where they go, what they do ultimately shows you what's there.

    If you prefer an example of something that explores a fictional "history", Watchmen (granted it's a graphics novel) is a fantastic story that really explores the world through the characters.

    You need to establish what's in the your world that requires showing the audience - and you'll find that you might not be able to show everything. DON'T try to squeeze every idea into the story, just what makes sense and flows with the story.


    So some practical tips here:
    Your story should start with your protagonist going through an everyday life, before an event propels them into their journey of the story. You can easily establish the time and theme of the country from what the character learns on the news in the morning - use references to real countries, linking it to your fictional country for example - "The tension between the United States and USSR are building, our president says that '[Fictional country] will not take sides, and it will take whatever measure necessary to dissolve any potential conflict'"

    A simple exchange of dialogues between your protagonist and another character can again explore the differences between this country and other countries.

    "Hey Rubski, look what brought back from my holiday... a 'walkman' from Japan, the 'future' of portable audio using tapes."
    "Oh come on Howars, why do you waste your hard earn money on these pointless gadgets, I can put more music on my mobile phone than that thing."
    "Well I think it's nice to see the progression of other countries' technology. Plus... it's good reminder of how far ahead we are."


    Don't try to over explain things through though, it has to blend into the story or it'd feel awkward and forced, like exposition dialogues in many Hollywood films. The less you "show", the more you let the audience can fill in the blanks.
     
  3. woken2reason
    Offline

    woken2reason Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia.
    OK bigger reply than I expected, but helpful. I know how to play it out and to show and not tell. But trying to explain that it is set in 1980 and in the future, just seams confusing to some people.
     
  4. guiltyvictim
    Offline

    guiltyvictim Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    The date is easy to establish, you don't even have to set the exact date. If you're doing parallel history with the world, you only have to mention a major international event that happened in 1980 (rubick's cube for instance).

    And as I understand, it's not set in the future, just a country that's technologically more advance - again, easily done by showing exactly how they're more advance from people's daily lives.

    There's nothing confusing about it, if you establish the setting - the audience will go along with it. Everybody who reads Watchmen understands that there were no Superheroes during the Vietnam War, but they also know that it's a fiction about "what if they existed at the time?"

    Stop stressing and start writing :)
     

Share This Page