1. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Ok this question has been on my mind for a while now

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BillyxRansom, Sep 4, 2008.

    Point blank, my "world" is the actual real world, but it's set in the distant future -- technology isn't even a major player, society has almost torn itself down. My story is set in one county, a real county in NY. Here's the thing, my story takes place ONLY in this county, so far. The focus is basically Oneida County, NY. The story's name itself refers to the city of Rome, New York. My question is this, is it a good or bad idea to leave the rest of the world out of the story, when whatever is happening is effecting, essentially, the entire world? SHOULD I include like the other Americas, Europe, etc.? Would it feel like a hollow or implausible story if I ignored all other areas? I might mention other parts of the US at some point(s), we'll see. I might make my characters chase each other around the ruined United States hah.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you know how much other parts of the world touch upon life right now, and how they do so. If civilization has turned back, you may be looking more at a model of society from about 100 years ago.

    You have to assess the impact of transportation and communication in your story's period to know how much the outside world plays a part in your characters' daily lives.

    Is the NYS Thruway still an active travel and trucking route? Do the Great Lakes play a major role in commerce in the area? These too will affect how isolated the region is.
     
  3. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Well I'd imagine these things are still active, but they are heavily monitored because the government has gone corrupt, and that sort of thing. I just pictured that most of life has died out due to apathy and so they've kind of isolated themselves through their aforementioned apathy. Do those, the Thruway and Great Lakes, concern pretty much only NY and surrounding states/areas? I could possibly work with that.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Thruway is the major route for trucking in the area, and therefore most non-local goods travel on that road (and on the railroads). Most civilian travel through the area also uses the Thruway, so that will be the source of a lot of uncontrolled news and rumors. The Thruway is also part of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system, so it would be heavily used for government and miliktary traffic.

    The Great Lakes are a major transport route for items and materials too large or hazardous for trucks and railroads - ore shipments, steel, LNG, petroleum, etc. It's a major industrial connectin with the manufacturing centers in the midwest - Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago.
     
  5. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    If they're as apathetic as you say, I doubt they would care about the people around them, much less the whole world. Of course, this really depends on how you want to paint your MC. Is he/she trying to save the world or just trying to survive? If he's filling (or trying to fill) the role of savior, he's more likely to think on a greater scale and inspire the people around him to do the same. just ask yourself if your characters care about the rest of the world and does the rest of the world care about them. If the answer is no, you can leave it out.


    The one thing I say you absolutely have to do is make sure to mention how this county got to be this way. Don't let the reader mistakenly believe Oneida county is the only place that's messed-up. Other than that, the rest of the world may or may not be important at all.
     
  6. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    I'd say it is perhaps better to do things your way - focus on one small area of the world, and leave the reader wondering what has become of the rest. What a reader imagines for themselves is usually - if not always - better than what a writer can show them.

    It will also add to the atmosphere of the story. Assuming you are talking about almost a post-apocalyptic world, then the characters aren't exactly going to be taking trips around the world to see other cultures, and there probably wouldnt be world wide news coverage. So their picture of the world will be built upon rumours and fragments of information they recieve from whatever resources they have.

    I personally think it would be more interesting for your reader's picture of the world to be built upon this as well, rather than have in depth descriptions of how every country is doing, or have your characters go on epic journeys throughout the world and getting and giving the reader a quick, display of each place they visit. But thats just me.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think books like the one you're describing actually benefit from not knowing what is going on in the rest of the world. It's easier to make people involved fully rounded characters and we can spend more time on the individual struggle to deal with what is happening. When people write historical novels, they do that all the time. While the writer does need to know as much as possible, s/he only writes what the characters know and don't force the reader to worry about the complex details of the bigger conflict.
     
  8. mmorsepfd
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    mmorsepfd Member

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    One of my favorite books happened entirely in an afternoon inside a house Something like 1000 pages if I remember correctly. It a is a Stephen King novel, I can't remember the name but it made me realize how much can be written about seemingly so little.
     
  9. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    Billy, in my opinion it'd be fine to make a few brief references to the condition of the rest of the world and then stick to the area where your main characters are. If technology has faded away in your world, your characters probably wouldn't know a lot about what was going on in distant places anyway.
     
  10. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I didn't read what everyone else wrote, but this is what I thought. I think it depends on how much the rest of the world has to do with your story. When I read, I don't care much to know about what's going on elsewhere if it isn't necessary to the story.
     
  11. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    I would leave it out unless it comes into play.

    If it not important to me the reader, the plot, or to the characters I am reading about, then you are doing me no favors expounding on it or distracting me with in this story.
     
  12. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Was it Gerald's Game? Something about handcuffs. I'm wondering because I'm starting it right now.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    From what you have said about your story idea, what happened to the rest of the world is pretty closely tied in with your story. But perhaps a major component is that your characters don't know what conditions are beyond their own local area.

    I don't see how you can play that story without at least partially delving into what happened, or what theu know of what happened. Picking up hints here and there to answer those questions could be a major plot element that would keep the reader fascinated/ If you do that, however, you'll need to come up with enough of an answer to satisfy the reader by the end of the story.
     
  14. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Sure, sure, that makes sense. I was planning on figuring that out as I continue writing my story. I just was wondering, upon the reader knowing that the rest of the world was probably affected by whatever happened (since the world is ending, not just one city), if they would feel unsatisfied were the rest of the world not talked about, pretty much at all.
     
  15. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    It seems like your focus is solely centered on Rome, NY. I like the idea of putting a small slice of the world under the microscope, while extraordinary events take place.

    Regarding your dilemma, I once read a book (the name escapes me) in which a nuclear war breaks out around the world. The similarity to your plot is that the story takes place in a small, backwater town of survivors. As a reader you KNOW that this is not a localized event.

    The author gives you bits of information on the outside world without dwelling on the matter. For example, he reports that a HAM radio operator has not spoken to anybody north since the bombs went off. Subtly the reader now has confirmation of what they knew to be true.
     

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