1. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    On devising landmass(es)

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by RivingtonRiley, Jul 2, 2013.

    Hello, I am new to this site and I believe that this is a suitable place to gain some expert opinions :)

    I've decided to pursue some story ideas, and am thus currently developing the background details of such ideas.

    One particular aspect of the development I'm unsure of at the moment concerns the devising of the landmass(es) of the story's world. One idea I have had is basing the land on the ancient Earth supercontinent Pangaea.
    I would like my writing to be somewhat reflective of aspects of reality, and in my opinion having the world resemble our own (in a sense) ties in with this ideal. However, what's preventing me from using this idea is its lack of originality. I can't help but feel as if I might be better off devising lands from scratch.

    I'm not wholly averse to doing this either, and yet I also have misgivings here - the idea of the land(s) representing physically the reflective nature of the story still appeals to me, and in the back of my head I don't want what I might create from scratch to be generic - using Pangaea as a basis seems more of a USP to me (here I reveal my ignorance, I admit).

    I do understand that this is a completely subjective issue (and I'm expecting that responses, if any, will tell me that my problem matters not), but regardless I would love to here some opinions on what would make a better setting.

    Thank you for any replies I may get :) If I need to explain anything in more detail, please don't hesitate to ask.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I take it Pangaea is the land mass that thrived before it broke up into what we know as the 6 continents now right? So remind me, what is your story about?
     
  3. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    In all honesty, the story isn't particularly developed - it's more a collection of possible events/communities within a world. I was aiming to develop the universe and the world, and then plan the course of life developing (to an extent), in order for it to feel more realistic (to me, at least). If you need me to state some specific ideas/events in order to respond properly to my query then I'll be happy to do so to the best of my ability :)

    (Thanks for the rapid response, by the way)

    Edit: And yes, Pangaea was the hypothetical prehistoric landmass from which the modern-day continents derived :)
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well you must have a clearer idea than that. Maybe you can but I think it would be very difficult in the planning of a book to just have an idea for a setting and not much else. Do you have characters? Are they Neanderthal? Alien maybe? It can't be an Urban Fantasy with emo kids running around Pangaea with iPhones and skateboards under their arms...

    I'm sure your characters and their story will dictate the planet on which they dwell.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Communities would be mostly coastal. Pangean interior was known to be pretty much all desert. Imagine a super-mega Australia. ;)
     
  6. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    I'm sorry, I should have given more information in the OP. The population will be human (or at least this universe's equivalent to humans, if that makes sense), amongst animals resembling prehistoric creatures. What I am intending is that (at the time of the book's setting), in the world exists an amount of technological advancement equivalent to today, give or take:
    Since this universe is separate from ours (hypothetically), what exists on Earth would not necessarily exist on this planet. Nevertheless, I am aiming for this world to develop in a similar way to Earth's development, though I will guide things where I see fit - hence, there would exist a supercontinent similar to Pangaea, but containing a world of technology and modernism, unlike how things developed in reality.

    This is of course very much in the planning stages, and I have yet to decide what kinds of technology and aspects of civilisation will develop. At this moment I'm just devising the background, hence where my ideas for the setting arise.

    I hope I'm explaining my thought processes clearly :/
     
  7. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    Thanks for responding, Wreybies - to clarify, if I were to use Pangaea as a basis, I would only be using its shape, and not the environment/ecosystems - this I would customise myself.

    I do apologise for my lack of clarity :(
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The best setting is the one that fits the needs of your story. That's the reason for creating a setting in the first place. A setting can provide physical obstacles, and it can also establish a socio-political environment to order. On the other hand, a setting can isolate your characters from outside assistance.

    Anything else is just window-dressing, and not worth fretting over.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Understood, but Pangea's shape and position is what gave it its environment. It wasn't random. As a writer, these realities could be thought of as opportunities for storytelling, not necessarily as restrictions. ;)
     
  10. jmhoffer
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    jmhoffer Contributing Member

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    There is a particularly good article that I wish I could link to that deals with creating land masses.

    Google directions are as follows.

    Search: giant in the play ground
    Click first result.
    On sidebar, click 'GAMING'.
    Under 'The World' choose Part 6: Geography. Read that.
     
  11. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    In that case, this is where realism would come to a halt and I would disregard such facts in favour of my personal desire for a more modern existence of biomes :) But I definitely hear you in the arising of opportunities - I will be aiming for the geography to shape the course of events.
     
  12. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    Definitely noted, thank you Cogito :)
     
  13. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    Thanks very much, That article is both fascinating and insightful :) I may well refer to it with either course of planning I choose to take.
     
  14. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    If the story includes land-masses diverging from a super-continent, and you're looking for aspects of reality, you're not going to find it. (Others may disagree, obviously.) If you're looking to include a scientific reason for the diverging, I'd suggest create one yourself and make it your own. Perhaps your land-masses could float! Maybe your land-masses could part in completely opposite directions until they bump into each-other again, connecting on the opposite sides!
     
  15. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    What do you mean by this?
     
  16. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    What I mean is that there are a lot of scientific inaccuracies about the earth and it's origin. There are some aspects of 'religion' in science. Sometimes some people have to stretch their imaginations to believe a theory, just like any other faith or religion. Now obviously science has a lot of things right medically, technologically... and obviously others may disagree with my previous comment which is why I was trying to tread lightly in my previous post. I was only trying to get to the point that you're better off coming up with your own scientific reasons behind diverging land-masses for your story:)
     
  17. RivingtonRiley
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    RivingtonRiley New Member

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    Ah, I see :) I'm glad you said that, as I'm expecting to have to make some alterations to scientific theories and, well, logic, in order for me to create things the way I want them to be.
     
  18. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    I see no reason to tie your geography to that of earth. Also note the time scale over which the earth continents separated. Your story should be about characters, and no manageable set of characters would see the movement.

    Make the geography fit the story. If you want a large land mass with people living on the coasts, do it. If you want a world with lots of small continents do it. Use the earth for ideas about how people would live under those conditions. But if it isn't earth then there is no reason to have the same shapes.

    The only thing you should learn from earth continents is basic climatology, and you might want to do a little light reading on that subject. A large interior is more likely to be desert than near a coast. Mountains affect where rain falls. The tilt of the planet axis affects the summer-winter variation. Polar ice caps supply cold water to affect ocean currents. There was a great Nova program aired on US public television last week that explained a lot of this, titled something about studying the earth via satellites.
     

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