1. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    Fantasy World - A checklist

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by keats81, Jun 10, 2011.

    Okay so I wanted to create a sort of check list for my story and world. This is strictly a thread about SETTING...So far I have:

    The World

    Its History

    Factions

    Households - kingdoms and royal families and such...

    Characters

    Wild Beasts

    Flora and Fauna - pretty much like ours

    Animals - has horses birds like ours

    Weaponry - tricky...think a cross between medieval and the future, but as if they were one. So there are swords and laser guns hehe

    Laws?


    What else do I need????
     
  2. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    Plot, main character, supporting characters, villain, and overall theme.

    Look, creating an entire world and mythology is nice (and admittedly kind of fun), it isn't the important part of the story you are creating. Spend some time on your characters and make them interesting.
     
  3. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Main Resources. Waste disposal.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A wastebasket.

    A checklist won't do you any good. Start with good characters and a fertile setting (fertile in terms of what it does to drive the story). and work from there. Yes, you have to learn the principles of plot, and apply them. Yes, you will need to learn to create strong dialogue, and manage pace and description. But you won't need a checklist for those aspects. They are part of the foundation of good writing that must become almost second nature for you.

    It probably sounds overwhelming, but you don't need to pull it together all at once. Practice with plenty of short stories to learn how each element of writing enriches your stories, and before you know it, you'll look back at your first attempts and hardly recognize them.
     
  5. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Yes, this is more or less right.

    I also enjoy making up an entire world, and a lot of times I do it separately of my creative writing. However, if you're focusing on creative writing, you should worry about that more than the details of your world. Additionally, I don't really think there's a clear "checklist" for worldbuilding - there is always room to add stuff. Tolkien didn't spend decades on his world for nothing, after all.
     
  6. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    There's the key word. If it's not creative, as in creating the story, then it's pretty much moot. Prewriting can become a project in and of itself if you let it. So don't let it. Create the basics (plot, setting, characters, etc.) and go from there. World-build when you come to a blockage to keep the creative juices flowing. But once you become unblocked, put away the world-building and get back to the story.
     
  7. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    If the world is the size of the earth, get about 5.9742 × 10^24 kilograms of matter. Then cross your fingers and hope intelligent life forms, and that said life fits your definition of fantasy.

    Non-sarcastic.
    A pen and paper, some time to write.
     
  8. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    You can not use science to create something from your heart. Writing is art, emotion and every thing that comes from the heart and not the head. The head just makes sure that your story is correct, logical and flows well. So you need both not just a check list. Write what your heart tells you to write and the rest will fall into place.

    The most important part to a story is none of the items you listed; it is the story its self. Imagine the story you want to tell then worry about the logic. Writing just to write is just creative writing; a story is a story with feeling and passion that your readers will love.

    Good Luck.
     
  9. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    It's fine to have a general idea of locations and stuff, but don't go too in-depth into it. Remember it's the characters that drive the plot, not the locations. Besides, if you use all of the information, then you'll swamp your reader with too many facts. Think what's relevent; even in a character's hometown, they'll know the paths and parts, but rarely will they be able to recite the history of the town. They'll know what is relevant to their basic duties or jobs, but beyond that, they will rarely know more.

    Keep the list, but throw out the nitty-gritty of it. Details are important, but rarely will anyone know all there is to know.
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with both these posts, but I will also say that if you really want to do this, 30 Days of World Building can probably help you.

    I may sound kind of smartassy here, but I'm serious: you do realise that the heart has no cognitive function, right? Writing doesn't actually come from the heart. Emotion doesn't actually come from the heart. It's all in your head. It's just a different part of the brain.
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Lol. I guess I should have announced that I was using a metaphor. :p
     
  12. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    BAH! Ridiculous! That won't stop me from being a smartass! C: I'm just extremely literal is all. The heart pumps, the brain cog-umm-nises, and the soul barely exists. Writing comes from... THE FINGERS! *Dramatic, ominous trumpets and maybe a triangle too*
     
  13. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    I disagree with everything in this post.


    First of all, yes, a checklist might be good. Writers are different. If you want to focus on worldbuilding first of all, and then see what kind of characters fit in, then it's all right. Ursula LeGuin does it, and other writers, too.

    The world doesn't have to bend to the plot. The plot and characters have to bend around the world. Without a good, solid, preworked fantasy world, your characters will feel out of place, like 21st century people transplanted in something vaguely medieval. No fun.

    And to conclude, don't write short stories if you don't feel like writing them. If you're more of a novelist kind, who can't express all their ideas in several thousand words, then write novels. No-one will murder you in the night if you don't finish it.
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    *nods slowly* That's exactly what someone who only thinks with their head would say. :cool:
     
  15. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a mighty cover up. I really just think with my penis. *Stare*
     
  16. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    Thank you! that is why I changed this to be a thread specifically focused on setting. The setting can drive the storyline and plot as much as the characters...so. it needs to be great..or terrible...but you know what I mean.
     
  17. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    I already have those...this is not a thread about plot or theme. It is a thread about setting. What is in the world
     
  18. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with fleshing out a world with all its intricate details before you start writing. For one thing it'll make writing the plot that much easier once you have a preconceived world to stage it in. Plotting and world-building can be complicated when done simultaneously. It might be easier to create the world first, then unleash the characters to search for their conflicts. Of course along the way the plot can enhance and embellish the world, and most likely will.
     
  19. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    World creating is tough. Especially if it is Sci-Fi. I am working on a piece right now where I have to create multiple planets with a star system. Each of these planets have different natural resources and industries. I also have to come up with how they travel between them, what do they use for fuel, how much fuel do they need and other funky stuff.

    It is easier in a way to do this than doing a modern piece about our current world. This is because it already exists and if you just make stuff up people will burn you for mocking their Country or Culture so you have to do tons of research. Yuck.

    If I am doing a modern piece I will chose an area I grew up in or know.

    As for choosing your environment it needs to be one that will cultivate your story. Like the saying goes, "Necessity is the Mother of invention." Make the environment where the MC has needs that will cultivate the story.

    I hope this helps.
     
  20. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    While you do have a point about making the two simultaneously, I'll have to disagree with the order of setting or character first. What's a world without life? Nothing but landscaping and empty cities. While a character alone is nothing but a portrait, you'll find that if you make a world first, then you have to mold characters into the specific settings. They have to conform with the society around them. If done vise-versa, then you have a world with more (no pun intended) character to it, since it has to suit a character and others like him or her, which is more natural. People tend to flock around those they connect with. Just look at high school cliques.
     
  21. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    But in the end, does it matter so much?

    Building a character on a setting or making a setting after the character... The characters are basically still the same. They fight and cry and laugh and experience joy and grief and the whole spectrum of emotions. Everything else is just the topping.

    Morals can, and should, differ in fantasy worlds, but basic human mores/ethics/whatever should still apply.
     
  22. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I forgot to mention this earlier, but there IS one advantage of having a detailed world while you're in the process of making the story - it allows you to pull things out of nowhere when you need them without resorting to cliches or random nonsense.

    Basically, let's say you need some enemy for your heroes to fight when they're traveling through Country A. Instead of making up something like "oh random bandits attacked them" or "evil dark lord's minions just happened to be there", you can pull something from out of your worldbuilding - maybe Country A is currently having a civil war, so gangs working for local warlords are harassing travelers; or maybe Country B has been attempting to screw around with the trading network of Country A in order to gain a commercial advantage with Country C, so Country B is sending in mercenary raiders to attack merchants; and so forth. You can then further connect these to your main story and make these little things a lot more meaningful in the broader context, instead of having them be just, well, little stupid things.

    Therefore, basically what I'm trying to say is that having a good repository of information about your world might actually help you now and then, since you already have many of the connections between various elements fleshed out.

    However, again, what rules your story is, well, your story, not the setting. If the story demands a certain change that conflicts with what you have in the world, chances are you should go along with the story. Worldbuilding is only a way to enhance your story, and while it is quite rewarding on its own (as I have found out), it is not the same as the story itself.
     
  23. Tesoro
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    I think I love you, hihihi. :D
     
  24. Ellipse
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    I saw factions mentioned, but nothing about race. Regardless of whether you have elves, dwarves, and humans living together, or just different groups of humans there will always be tensions between groups. One, or even all of them, will feel they are the superior master race. There needs to be a good reason. Something more than 'they are the most beautiful' or 'long-lived.'
     
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    They're literature critics?
     

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