1. Browncoat
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    Browncoat New Member

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    Help w/ setting

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Browncoat, Jun 5, 2009.

    This may be the wrong forum for this, and if that's the case, I apologize. Chalk one up for newbness...but I don't see another forum that's more appropriate for this topic.

    For my novel, I want the setting to be of a specific genre, steampunk. While I definitely have some hard-edged ideas about this world I want to create, I was wondering how some of you who have done this sort of thing have brainstormed to make it more realistic.

    JRR Tolkien for example, has entire books dedicated to describing the various races, places, and histories of his imaginary world, middle earth. While I can generalize about what I want, writing a detailed story and making it believable would involve specifics. Have you...

    Created a sketchbook for clothing styles and artifacts?
    Detailed what a "daily routine" would involve?
    etc.

    How did you go about developing an imaginary timeline so that your readers can immerse themselves in it?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It depends entirely on you, the writer (which I know isn't a helpful answer, I shall elaborate...)

    In a novel, your reader is on rails. As a writer, you can fill in just enough detail that everything they come across is filled in, or you can develop the entire world. You do the first at the risk of making your world seem shallow or superficial; the second, at the risk of boring your reader with too much information. Obviously a balance is necessary, and where that lies depends on the novel you want to write - if its a standalone one of a kind deal, then fully developing the world is a waste of time if you are only showing a very small and specific part of it, while if you plan on writing a serial, the more fully developed world will help create a tangible world that is accessible across a variety of novels.

    As to the actual creation of the world, you could do it all abstractly (plan the clothes, plan the language, plan the layout) but I think it is far more helpful to decide upon your plot first (at least in general terms) and expand from that. Obviously physical descriptions will be high on the list of things to detail, followed by setting, language and (perhaps) culture, but there's no point creating a system of government or a religion or a history/mythology if your narrative never necessitates their creation. Always remember that even though world-creation is a big part of the novel, its never going to be as important as a good story and good characters (and good writing, but that goes without saying).
     
  3. Browncoat
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    Browncoat New Member

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    Thanks for the input, and what you've said reinforces a core belief that I have.

    I think at some point, we've all said, "Yeah...that was a good movie, but the book was better."

    That's because with a book, we are free to let our imaginations fill in the blanks. Good writers give us enough detail about a character or setting, and we do the rest ourselves. I want to achieve that balance, and yes, it's probably easier said than done.
     

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