1. Anthem
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    Anthem Member

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    Dynamic Fantasy World

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Anthem, Mar 17, 2009.

    I was reading Fellowship of the Ring today and I realized something, something that gets to me about all fantasy novels, Tolkien mentions a million places and things in passing but that's it, they only exist in passing - like (for a exaggerated example) "Oh that lies over the River Aduin, up the Greypath into the Tethril Moutains."

    Well I was thinking, we never see those places - we only hear about them and then it dawned on me - every fantasy novel has a flaw. They are too linear. If the reader wants to go see that what lies "over the River Aduin, up the Greypath into the Tethril Moutains" - let him! Your only seeing a brief sliver of the world the author is created, your always following one person or a group's travels through the world - only going the places they go, only meeting the people they meet, only seeing the events they see. Your view is restricted. It's like an alien reading a novel about our world where the story focuses on a modern day American, it would learn about America and Americans - not the Earth as a whole.

    Now what I purpose is someone out there should write a fantasy novel this way: The author should make up the fantasy world then show it us a non-linear and breathing fashion. Make it a series of like vingettes, each one depicting a different place in the world, different people in the world, different lifestyles in the world. Have some connected, have some recurring characters and locales but try to show us snippets of the world as a whole - all it's different places, people and historical events. Maybe have the same events told through the eyes of different sides. Try to make world breathe, to have the same depth and confusion as the real world. Try not to have a place mentioned in passing then just dropped like it never existed. Give the world, this feeling of being dynamic, of being alive and in motion.

    It'd be a challenge but I think the end read would be incredibly immerseful.
     
  2. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I like this idea quite a bit. I might just try it!
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ever read any of the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance novels?
     
  4. Anthem
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    Anthem Member

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    I see where your going with that but, that's a world spread out cross NOVELS. There must be near four dozen trilogies, two dozen pentads and seven or eight octads (octads? could you call a eight book series an octad?) alone under Forgotten Realms alone, I'm talking something like that but on a much smaller, more condensed scale. Something someone could concievably read all in one lifetime haha.
     
  5. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I was going to mention Dragonlance, before it occurred to me that many of the Dragonlance novels are set in different eons, some before the Cataclysm, the Chronicles of course during the War of the Lance, and some several hundred years later. Plus, as OP pointed out, they're not exactly vignettes.
     
  6. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Losts if people write in that restricted view.

    I already do something like that using several independent novels and series all taking place on the same land but in different times, areas, or both.
     
  7. Addicted2aa
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    Addicted2aa Senior Member

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    The Xanth series might qualify. Also Terry Prachet's discworld novels. Or perhaps Douglas Adam's HHGtG which tells you little bits of information about practically everything he mentions.
    I might consider the Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin or The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, but the first isn't completed yet so we don't know if he really is going to explore the whole world and Robert Jordan never got the chance.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ok, how about Larry Niven's series around the time traveller, Svetz (see the Flight of the Horse collection).

    Either a collection will be open ended, like the Forgoitten Realms and Dragonlance series (a franchise), with many authors writing in the same universe, or it will be a series by a single author using the same world construct for a group of loosely related shorts and/or novels. But it's really nothing new.
     
  9. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Are you okay, Cog? I've never seen so many typos....
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I normally typo a lot, but I am usually better about going back and correcting them. Juas a bit rushed tonight.

    The missing keycap on my H key doesn't help, and I haven't found a compatible replacement keycap yet.
     
  11. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Oh. I was going to tell you to put down the bottle and get some sleep :)
     
  12. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    I'm actually creating a series of short stories in different parts of the fantasy world me and my friend have created. Currently it is just to make the world more real for a as you say "more linear novel." but yeah you have a point.
     
  13. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    George Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series is told through many changing character perspectives all over the world. Through the course of a single book you'll be exposed to many different cultures and characters. Even the writing style changes with character shifts. One character is an 8 or 9 year old girl in a land somewhat like feudal Europe... Another is a deformed dwarf, in the real life sense. He is considered a freak of nature and is hated by nearly everyone... As the son of a governing lord, his tale is especially interesting. Another is a young princess in exile accross the sea, who is married off to a horse lord in the hopes of gaining an army to retake the throne. A young lad joins the Night's Watch to man 'the Wall' - kind of like the great wall of China, but made of ice, 300 miles long - to guard the 'realms of men' from mysterious threats...

    There are so many characters and places in this series, each completely different from the last. If I tried to describe them all I'd have to write several posts:p. Of course, there are a few places I haven't seen yet... but the series isn't finished, and I'm hoping they will be explored in future books.:)

    He has also written some prequels to cover certain events in the history of the land. I think you would enjoy it if you haven't read it already.

    There's also Piers Anthony's "Incarnations of immortality" series. Each book follows mortal men and women who take up immortal offices: death, fate, nature, war, time, and even evil (Satan). That story is all over the place, especially with Chronos traveling through space and time:p.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    How about a novel to set up the universe, and a collection of short stories that exist in that universe?

    I am doing that for Agija of Agukas. There is a scene where the MC passes by stairs that lead down into the street like a subway, but to a shop instead. He overhears a guy talking to a potential client about how he can't make him a child-aged fembot.

    The short story is about the owner of that shop, and once that short story is told, that snippet of conversation makes sense.

    I want to tell other short stories as well, from other character's POV that are in the novel, and new characters.

    The short stories will make the world that much more real.
     
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  15. DavidGil
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    DavidGil Senior Member

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    You say your problem with fantasy stories is that they mention places, but you don't see them?

    There's a rather simple solution to this in my view if you're wanting to write one that shows the entire world. Write the normal story and have a rather hefty glossary/appendix or whatever you want to call it that describes all of he places, amongst other things in a lot of detail.

    I'm not sure how it'll look and whether it'll be favourable amongst publishers to devote a large amount of pages to a glossary etc., but it is one way of doing it.

    (I noticed in the Lord of the Rings that a lot of the appendix was given to describing the history of the world, not the places. Likewise, in Martin's series, the appendix is mainly devoted to giving information on the family trees.)
     
  16. Anthem
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    Anthem Member

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    Yeah, now that I think about it, it really isn't anything new. The first book in Asimov's Foundation is roughly the same idea, it's just 4 short stories told over a couple hundred years. It just sounded different in my head.
     
  17. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    I think the great thing about fantasy too is that this world is created and we can imagine in our heads all of these other things happening while still going through this linear plot style. Sometimes we dont necessarily need these other stories.
     
  18. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess everyone has their thoughts.

    I personally love the idea how hearing about something, but never truly being told. It makes everything feel so much larger and realer. Or if say there is a cliche map in the front and half of them never ever get mentioned, its like wow, i wonder if one day we'll get to learn about it.. (even if you don't)

    Makes me feel more attached to the world then actually reading a story...

    I hated in Eragon how every place that was dotted on the map had to be told in that one book, it was so over the top.

    Anyway thats my .05c
     
  19. Chime Elf
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    Chime Elf New Member

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    This is a brilliant idea! Although it has been done in the past, as has been pointed out, it is underdone. Vignettes set in a fantasy world have not featured in any popular novels, and I, for one, would love to see a fantasy best-seller featuring vignettes to explore their world.

    Are you willing to have a go at it, Anthem?
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    hehe writing contest anyone?
     
  21. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    This is a very good idea. Go pick up a copy of City of Saints and Madmen, by Jeff Vandermeer. He does something very similar to this, and it's fantastic.
     

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