1. Bradisrad
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    Bradisrad New Member

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    Creating settings from your imagination vs. writing settings from personal experiences

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Bradisrad, Jul 22, 2015.

    I'm finding that a lot of the settings in my stories come from places that I have never been to. I have seen them in movies, television shows, magazines, etc, but I've never been there. Is it alright to do this, or should I stick to what I know?
     
  2. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I write about war and space, I've never drifted in zero gravity nor have I ever fought in any battles or killed a man. It's completely fine as long as you do the right amount of research. Even watching movies and reading books is a little bit of research about it. As long as what you're portraying is your own. My book is all about the people and what they go through (and a bit dark since that's how I view the world). In essence what I am saying is that it doesn't really matter as long as you have your own voice with which to write it.
     
  3. AsherianCommand
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    AsherianCommand Active Member

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    One of my first stories I wrote for my science fiction classes it was about a dilect space ship, its crew missing or unresponsive. I think writing about and just imagining things is great, but also knowing and researching about what it actually feels like will add alot of layers to the story, and add immersion into your book. (Video game terminology)

    The number 1 goal. I always try to do with my stories, is I always try to have my readers feel like they are actually there watching these things happen.
     
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  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your title suggests you are creating worlds from scratch. But your post seems to imply your creating them based on real places..

    If it's the first, there's absolutely nothing wrong with creating your own world. I did it. It's fun!

    But, if it's a real world setting based in a city or county you've never been to (versus a created fantasy/sci fi world), definitely do extensive research before you write. You'll want to get the culture/setting correct to make it realistic for those who have been there.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I love made up words, as long as they can be understood by the readers. If you think about it, new words are being added to the dictionary all the time.

    Sample of new words in 2014
     
  6. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    This. From the title I assumed this would be a question about high fantasy/sci-fi that takes place in a universe that is not out own (which confused me because I had to wonder why this wouldn't be okay), but if you've seen it on television then that implies these places are just other countries you've never been too. So which is it?

    I'll assume it's the later, and so, I recommend you do some research. It's not mandatory of course, but you'll probably be mocked for inaccuracies if you charge right ahead.
     
  7. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I can't tell if this is a joke or not, but the title says worlds not words and it doesn't seem to have been misspelled in order to facility that joke.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    [Gilda Radner Voice] Never mind. [/Gilda Radner Voice]

    And now the title says 'settings'. :crazy: But the title on my cached page says: "Is it alright to create worlds from scratch in stories?" So I shan't be too hard on myself. :p
     
  9. Bradisrad
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    Bradisrad New Member

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    My problem is that I want to include settings from my personal life into the stories I write. I just happen to live in one of the most boring places on Earth.
     
  10. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    It's all up to what you want to do and how your going to do it. I don't see a problem with including an actual location into your story.
     
  11. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    But if you've never been there then in what manner are they from your personal life? Oh, I'm probably just nitpicking, I assume you mean places you like and have seen through other media. Well, you are fully within your rights to right about what ever you want, it really just depends on how you expect them to be received. You can use these locations if you want, but you may ruffle some feathers if you misrepresent them. You really need to decide for yourself whether you want to risk botching it with limited knowledge.

    All round, I would recommend you do a decent amount of research on these locations before writing.
     
  12. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many years ago I saw a complaint in the Railway Modelling press (stay with me!) about the number of layouts that had a certain feature on them, a certain feature that you NEVER see on a real railway, so the modeller in question was modelling the layout of somebody else who hadn't copied the real thing...

    My point being, be careful about what you copy from TV, movies, etc. They're usually wrong. The trope where a detective is fighting his boss to be able to solve the case - how often does THAT happen in real life? In House, my (nurse) daughter gets SOOOO mad at the bad medicine. Likewise with settings. If you're writing about a regency dining-room, try to find an historic house that you can crib off, don't rely on Disney!
     
  13. chris90
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    chris90 New Member

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    Can you embellish your settings from real life to make them more engaging?
    Or combine your fictional locations that you are drawing on when making up your own setting with the real-world settings you have experienced?

    As a teenager I used to make up worlds from scratch, although of course they were, at least subconsciously, based on other images I had seen or places I had been to.

    As an adult I prefer realist fiction anyway, and so I generally limit myself to writing about places I have been to but fictionalising about them. Sometimes I base one real-world setting in a story on my experiences from another, similar setting.
    For me, it's all about making the setting engaging or significant.
     
  14. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    I actually remember a quote from some famous author that said (total paraphrase) "write about characters who live places you have never been with occupations that you have never experienced. There is nothing more boring than a book with protagonist who is a struggling writer that is living in new york city."
     
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  15. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the problem with going to school, going to college and getting a degree in Creative Writing, and then writing. You've never LIVED, so "writing what you know" is going to be pretty much focussed on...going to school, going to college...(perhaps that's why there's so much YA stuff about?)

    There's probably a reason why most good authors never get published before they're in their thirties; they're the ones who've had to get a job, had a love life, maybe some kids, lived a little. THEN you've got something you know that you can write about.

    If you read the bio of many authors - especially in the action thriller genre - they've lived a bit. John Le Carre (breakthrough novel at 32), for instance, actually worked for the MI5. Terry Pratchett (breakthrough novel at 35) had a number of jobs in journalism, then became press officer at the CEGB, with responsibility including 4 nuclear power stations. J.K.Rowlings (breakthrough novel at 32) worked for Amnesty International, taught English as a Foreign language, and had a mother who died from M.S. Frederick Forsyth (breakthrough novel at 33) was a jet fighter pilot, then a journalist covering the Nigerian Civil War. I'd bet he could tell you tales about that...no, wait, I think he did!
     

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