1. Lightning
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    Lightning Member

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    Does holding an epic climactic battle in a major city ruin the feel of it?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Lightning, Apr 9, 2012.

    Hello!

    I'm writing my novel and writing about the final battle between the protagonist and antagonist. Without going into too much detail, the ending is set in the burning rubble of Melbourne (Victoria) in Australia. Leading up to the beginning of the battle the two characters are exchanging words and I go into detail about the atmosphere. I talk about the sparks, the roaring storm, the sharp wind and the cutting rain, but a friend told me that it being set in a city that he knew ruined the whole setting.

    Is there anyway around this, do I simply need to improve my writing or is it something else altogether?

    Many thanks
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this fantasy? Talk of battles indicates it might be.

    While fantasy set in modern, familiar settings is not wholly uncommon and seems increasingly popular, many are still attached to the idea of fantasy set in, frankly, medieval England or places weird and fanciful. Your friend might feel that the Melbourne setting rather ruptures the sense of otherworldliness that he feels fantasy should look to achieve. Perhaps it drags him to the humdrum present, to a place where he perhaps goes/went to school or work, to a place where he perhaps spent a week trying to stalk Dr Karl on the set of Neighbours?

    You'll have to decide whether the setting adds or detracts.
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    If you can find it, the best climactic scene ever done was in "The Jayhawkers" with Fess Parker. It broke your heart, and no one had to chew the scenery.
     
  4. Dubya
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    Dubya Member

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    Given that the vast majority of us have never been to Melbourne, I don't see it as a problem to most readers, and suspect it won't be a problem to many readers who DO know the city. There is always the option of setting it in an imaginary city, which happens to be very similar to Melbourne! It's impossible to judge whether there is any problem with the way you have described the scene without actually reading it.
     
  5. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    Best way around it, ignore what your friend told you.
    Plenty of authors write battles in real world settings... Plenty. When using real world settings, be very aware that every city carries an image or impression from the reader. The name alone can elicit a certain feelings. Readers might expect their personal experience and images to match your description, or want to be shown a new side of the city they haven't seen before. A battle scene taking place in a well known location won't ruin a story, but a poor description of an existing place will.

    Improving is always a better option than getting around it. I read to improve. Steinbeck is a setting genius and uses real world locations Californians are familiar with. I think its because he knows the locations like the back of his hand. Also Card had an epic Sci-Fi war take place in the middle of New York City right at the climax of his novel Empire. Everyone knows New York, or has at least seen TV or movies or pictures of it. I don't know the bridges or tunnels as well as a local New Yorker, but the battle was exciting for me regardless.

    Good Luck
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Also, plenty of episodes in Doctor Who involves the Doctor battling alien monsters in London.

    Having battles set in famous cities have been done before. All that matters is that you describe the city and the fight well.

    Personally? After watching many, many movies and TV shows about big fight scenes set in New York City and London, seeing an epic fight scene take place in Melbourne will be a refreshing breath of air.

    EDIT: NOT that there is anything wrong with a fight scene in NYC or London, 'k?
     
  7. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Heck, an X-Men movie had it's climactic scene fought in San Francisco. And as I remember, wasn't James Bond dropped onto the Sydney Opera House?

    Since many cities have been used, may I ask the OP why a particular city has impact for your story?
     
  8. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    ^ Yes that ^

    I'm of the school of thought that story is not dependent upon the setting, but good stories do draw from the setting. In my words the question is: how much of your story draws from that particular city.
     
  9. eastdrom
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    eastdrom New Member

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    A fight scene involving Melbourne burning to ashes? Die hipsters! Die!

    On a more serious note, i don't see why describing what's going on with the scenery before a big fight is any problem, a good memorable description can stick in your mind throughout the entire scene. I'm assuming Melbourne is relevant because you live there (or nearby).
    People who live in Melbourne might have a reality issue with it, depending on the setting. Is it contemporary Melbourne? Or a civil war stricken hipster killing ground?
     

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