1. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    Creating Worlds

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Esaul, Nov 10, 2006.

    Okay as some might already know I am a fantasy writer, and I would love to have some opinions on something I've been debating about for a while now. I have a land known as Quar, I have several cities in mind and a couple countries as well. The main question is how many nations should be in the story itself? How much would you guys expect in detail of the land? I know too much can be too confusing for people (unless there is a map but as if now i have none), or too little will make the story very limited.
     
  2. Fixed
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    Fixed Member

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    I write mainly fantasy as well (well right now i'm actually writing a kind of fiction/reality story but that's beyond the point)
    who says you can't create as big a world as you wish?
    who says you can't let only some parts of the world known to the reader?

    basically my point is you can create any world you want but in order as to not confuse the reader too much don't write about every area of the world at the same time. Of course you want people to explore the world but that's why many fantasy writers explore the orld through a series of books if the world is really that big.
    Personally I hate creating small worlds, not only does it limit me, but if the world has two or three nations it just doesn't seem realistic in comparison to Earth so I have a big world in mind which the readers discover as the story goes along, since the MC/MC's whether he likes it or not ends up having an adventure of some sort across the world.
     
  3. Sapphire
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    Sapphire Senior Member

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    Okay, in my own story, I have made up my own world as well. My solution to that is, think of something that would be easy to follow in YOUR OWN head. As long as it makes sense to you, and it makes sense to at least one other person, I think it will be okay. My own world that I have created only has towns and it is one big nation ruled over by a single race (DON'T TAKE THIS), but there are also some conflicts and things that go on within it.

    Creating a world that is interesting is very hard to do in my opinion. I bet it had taken J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and Christopher Paolini to think up the places such as Middle Earth, Narnia, the Wizarding World, and Alagaesia. There's nothing easy about it at all, but you really have to think through it thoroughly or nothing will work.
     
  4. zerobytes
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    zerobytes Contributing Member

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    I'll have to agree with Sapphire. Vast worlds are awesome but they need to make sense to you and at least one other person. The bigger your world the more homework you'll have to do to assure that everything fits together. So you can approach it one of two ways:
    1. You can start small with one land/nation and then build on that. The Narnia books were written this way (if you read them in the order they were written). You establish one kingdom or land and then in the next book you expand the world while building on the details you have already created. OR
    2. You can take the time to create a world so engrossing, detailed, and organized that any story you tell in it will be have the depth of...say Middle Earth. This is why Tolkein felt that Narnia wasn't the best world that CS Lewis could create. However, look at the body of work CS Lewis produced compared to the amount published by Tolkein. AND, so much time was spent developing Middle Earth that *almost* every story published by Tolkein had to take place in Middle Earth. But what a world!!!
    Sorry about the Lewis/Tolkein compare and contrast essay but hopefully that gives you an idea of how you might want to go about creating your worlds


    zb
     
  5. Sapphire
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    Sapphire Senior Member

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    ZB is exactly right.

    Here's an example: The world that I have created, it was created in the back of my head as one big nation with villages and towns just like Canada in a way (I live in the U.S. though). But the entire thing couldn't just be "such and such is a nation filled with villages and towns." there has to be more to it than that. There are questions you need to ask yourself "what kind of people or creatures live in these places", "what kind of geography is in this nation" and other such things.
     
  6. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Perhaps this is just me, but in answer to how much detail to have about the nations, I find that I need to know a lot more about the nations in my book when I'm writing than actually appears in the writing.

    For instance, for each of my nations, I have at least some idea of the following for each nation that appears. For the primary nations, I have a lot more than this of course, but this is where I start:

    1. Structure (i.e. Democracy, Theocracy, Monarchy. I usually do a detailed written sketch of this, but most often I assume that lower levels like the state and cities mimic the national structure.)
    2. Laws & Morality (i.e. Libertarian, Fascist, Anarchist, and the general climate of the society. Are police brutal? Are they usually fair? Will you be arrested for chewing gum?)
    3. Technological Advancement (i.e. I write science-fiction, so this is probably not as important to you.) Technological Advancement also usually correlates to wealth.
    4. Religion (or religious climate. Will my Christians characters be persecuted? Will my atheist characters? What about scientologists? What is the primary religion that people practice in my nation?)
    5. Landscape (i.e. What kind of land does the nation have? Is it an island, or in the middle of a desert? Is it mountainous, or is it large enough to have a varied climate?)
    6. Population (How many people live in the country? On average, how big are the cities? How many people are in the military?

    Once you've got all that, it's really tempting to start the story out by describing all of that (for me, anyway). Don't do this. Instead, work it in only when it's necessary.

    An example: I know that police have a special crimes unit called the Brigadiers. One of my characters says, "Come on, you think a Brigadier is waiting to arrest you? You know they wouldn't be able to use a wiretap as evidence even if they bothered to have one on this phone."

    If the character is reliable, this line should tell you a lot. It should indicate that the Brigadiers are equivalent to the police, that laws restrict privacy, and that the police are lazy. (I just made this up in my head, so I apologize if any of this isn't clear.)
     

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