1. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    How not to be philosopher

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ObsidianVale, Sep 30, 2009.

    Ok so im writng a fantasy only thing is when you are writing a fantasy often you have to rewrite the laws of the world. ( and i don't mean like political laws) i mean like universal laws, or cosmic laws.(my fantasy does deal with gods and goddess and magic and such) And im finding that it's giving me a head ache even thinking about it. mostly because when i try i get very philosophical about things and start to contemplate stuff that have no answer.

    so basically if anyone has any advice i would be very greatful.
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    make a list
    or an outline
    maybe just freewrite until you come to some possible solutions..
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Know exactly what you need to come up with first. World building, fun as it may be, is a complete waste of time if it doesn't translate to actual writing. So there's little point troubling yourself with big questions if they're not actually needed in the writing.

    So my advice would just be to write the story as per usual, and when you come across something that calls for some deeper thought, deal with it then. That will also help you avoid dumping info on the reader when they don't need it - if a situation makes you as the writer pause to think of a solution, chances are it will make a reader pause too and that's when you provide them with the necessary information.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to be a good writer, you must take and maintain control... control over your story, your characters, your words--and your self!...

    there are no magic pills you can take to stop yourself from mentally digressing, when that hampers your writing...

    and no workable one-size-fits-all tip on how to do it, either, since it's something you have to figure out on your own, all of us being different, and so what works for one won't necessarily work for another...

    learn to FOCUS... make yourself stop musing, and keep writing...
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need simple 'rules' of how things work with a basic understanding of why. This will assist you, as the writer, to understand the implications to the changes from the regular laws (of this world).

    All the differences and 'rules' (the 'rules' make sure the laws are consistent throughout the novel--unless you're writing where 'chaos' of some sort plays a major role, and even then some consistency in inconsistency would be required) will not be explained or listed for the reader. The necessary information will seep into the prose as you write the story. Much of the underpinnings may never be known by the reader, but having a basic understanding of them will allow you as the writer to remain consistent.

    But as has been indicated by Mammamaia, don't get bogged down on those details. The basic framework is enough to get started. Expand when and where it is necessary, but focus on writing more than constant world building and rebuilding.

    Good luck,

    Terry
     
  6. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    I have one of those small composition pad notebooks that I put down all my world building in. I give each part a page, and write down every single little aspect that I think of. It's alot easier for me to render more complicated ideas in my head when I don't have to simultaneously think about all of the fantasy physics and details. It also allows me to clearly change multiple aspects of my story easily to accommodate a new idea or twist. Most importantly, it also allows me to remember all of those ideas that just come to me at random.
     
  7. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    My two cents:

    1) What's helped me with my world building is making a rough outline of how stuff works, who the major players are, etc. I want to stress that it's a rough outline, meaning that I made no attempt to flesh everything out in it. As others have been saying, save that for when it becomes necessary for your story, otherwise you'll be dragging yourself down, probably over details that may prove to be unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

    2) That being said, muse all you need. Writing is not an industrial endeavor; it is an art form. Don't rush it! Don't spend too much time musing over things that aren't immediately important, but for those things that are, don't write too much before you have a clear idea of what it is, how it works, etc. Nothing reeks worse in a fantasy or sci-fi story than a mechanism that feels contrived, or a concept that has glaring holes in it. Assume the role of the most difficult critic you can imagine and attack your own work, then do your best to address every criticism you come up with. I also recommend sharing your story with someone who is not well-versed in the genre, as they're likely to raise questions that you didn't even realize needed addressing.
     
  8. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dont understand your reference to philosophy, as far as I can tell, the rules that you are describing are what we would call in modern science "natural" or "observed phenomenon" or "universal constants"

    I dont think that you necessarily have to rewrite the laws of the universe in fantasy, but in fantasy you can get away with a great deal by writing off miraculous events as "magic" whereas in any other genre it would be inexplicable.

    The most important thing about your "rules" or "laws", which should be universal in all universes from this one to Xanadu are that they are consistent, explain what they describe, and do not violate their own existence.

    The law of gravity is a constant and cannot be broken in a rational universe

    The law of conservation of matter and energy does not violate iteself

    The first, second, and third laws of motion are observable and never contradict themselves


    This does not mean that you need to have scientific laws in your universe however.

    One of the most charming stories I ever heard was in the special features of Guillermo Del Torro's "Pan's Labyrinth"

    If you didnt know he's a big fan of fairy tales. One of the things that he (and I) love about them is that they supply their own rationale in the background and context of the story. He gave an example: there is a tale in which it says that if you can pluck three hairs from the head of the devil while he is asleep you can make a wish. Why? Because: if you can pluck three hairs from the head of the devil...and so on, no logic or reason is necessary when it comes to these tales, they are older than science and are consistent within themselves.

    Ever wonder why none of the wicked spells cast by the bad witch in "Sleeping Beauty" cant be undone by a good witch? Of course not, once a spell is cast it cant be un done! Whats done is done, in many cultures the ability to name a foe or trick it into revealing its own nature is a way of tricking it into cursing itself (Rumpelstiltskin and the changelings of Irish folklore)

    Many enchanted creatures like fairies are said to love word games and/or be allergic to iron or other kinds of metals.

    Did you know that if you make three small cuts in the forehead of a werewolf in werewolf form it instantly turns back into a human and is free of its curse? Or that if you fall asleep with the light of a full moon shining on your head you will become a werewolf? Or that if a baby is born with a full set of teeth it is a vampire? Or that the seventh son of a seventh son has magical powers?

    These things are not claimed, they are known. Why? Because somebody said so, and we have culturally inherited myths that become truths in our society. People cling to myths becase they often have predictive powers and explainitive (if thats even a word) powers that we in our modern age have forgotten but respect perhaps out of tradition.

    Even today we have urban myths, ever heard about the babysitter who got chilling phone calls or the lady who had a trucker following her for miles with his high beams on?:eek: Ever heard that if you stare in a mirror and say the name of Bloody Mary three or five times that she will come for you? hmm? Even though no two people can even agree on who she even was or how she got the name bloody mary in the first place???

    The point Im getting at is that humanity has a very long and rich tradition of inventing laws and formulating detailed worlds that we can (and often do) tap into and draw inspiration from.


    Terry Pratchett (a SF writer) has a series that takes place on a flat Earth supported on the back of a giant turtle. And as silly as that sounds, once upon a time, common poeple actually believed that, because someone told them to.:D
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very true. Fairy tales are riddled with rules that are, simply because they are. If you tried to explain them, make them logical and support them all with scientific evidence, the fairy tale would fall apart and all magic would be lost. A fairy tale is meant to be read and understood with the heart, not the brain. Things that make sense without logical reasoning will seem to hold some kind of magical power. Just make sure you don't break your own rules during the story.
     
  10. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    That was really interesting to read, by the way :) Did you research all that stuff?

    And ObsidianVale, I just keep a notebook and write whatever comes into my head, like rough ideas, before choosing what works the best and what doesn't contradict each other and then fleshing them out :)
     
  11. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    wow! thank you all soooo much for responding! i've found all your reply's reeeeally helpful!


    and i think writing will be a little less stressful from now on. i don't know why but i've always felt a really big compultion to know: why! like if a character of mine can make fire with a snap of her fingers. somewhere in my brain a little voice starts chattering and saying things like well... the friction is the emplified by her psychich ability and the molecules blah, blah, blah... you know? and then i just give me self a head ache.

    so anyway ya i'm going to start being more relaxed about my writing and just let things be, simple because there meant to be.

    thanx again :)
     

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