1. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    Our world or fantasy world setting?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Daydream, Jul 18, 2012.

    Always wondered, but what setting do people prefer reading about? I'm planning on writing another sci-fi story, which I planned to be set in our world, but have no been questioning wether it would be better to make up my own. There are disadvantages and advantages to both...i've gone through them a hundred times. So its come down to me asking what people prefer to read about? Do you like reading about an entirely new world or prefer to read about what kind of future could befall in our world?

    Personally I prefer a fantasy world.

    So thoughts? :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Everyone's different. I've seen on this board both opinions expressed.
    So....
    Since you asked, I'll give you mine. I vastly prefer the real world. I like my sci fi grounded in reality -- I like a lot of plausibility and the ability to learn things. That said, I don't read a lot of sci fi and almost no fantasy. I'm probably not your target reader.

    You should do whichever you prefer and enables you to write the best story.
     
  3. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I agree with this statement. Everyone has their own preference. For me, I enjoy books based on reality. Not 100% reality though. One of my favourite series is in 2060s and the technology is amazing. Some significant changes in the world can be written about. It's all up to you. You can always try writing it in the real world, but your heart may want you to create your own fantasy world.
     
  4. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Everyone has different preferences and plus, this is your story, your idea so it's entirely up to you. You could look at your idea and have it tell you that its for our reality or it could say its better suited to another world. You may look at your idea and find it could work either way. It's your story and if you don't write it how you want to, you're not going to be 100% pleased with it by the end.

    Anyways, to your actually question now I put my two cents in - I don't care either way. The story can be on a fictional planet or it could be set in reality; if I don't like what the story is about, I won't read and if I don't like it or can't follow it when I do start reading, I go away. Of course, I also have to be in the mood to read, but who doesn't?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whatever setting is required by, or best supports, the story.
     
  6. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    I can believe either setting, but I find it easier to believe in the story if it is set in our world, with just a few things fantastic going on. It is harder for me to become truly enthralled by a fantasy world. If they can set up a world naturally, without a crap ton of boring exposition, I'm ALL for it!
     
  7. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    First of all, you're writing a Science Fiction story. "Fantasy" has meaningful connotations all its own.

    The choice between "Earth" and "someplace else" isn't a difficult one to make. Is there any reason to choose one above the other as far as the story/plot is concerned? If not, it doesn't matter and you're thinking far too much about this. :D But, when you do choose which it will be, you must make it matter. In other words, your setting is part of your story and if you want your reader to be interested in it, it has to be relevant to the story, else what's the point of going to all that trouble to begin with?

    So, if it's Earth, then create a reason why and make sure it's in the story. If it's an alien world, then do the same thing. Work with it, develop it, reward the reader by including it as a meaningful part of the story. If you do these things, then all the worry about whether or not you have chosen the "most popular" Science Fiction setting will be unnecessary - You reader will be entertained, regardless of your choice of setting.
     
  8. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    I prefer Sci-Fi based on our own planet, or what we know of our own Galaxy. It's interesting to see how a writer sees into the future of humanity. But I also like being enthralled in a world designed entirely by the authors imagination. That is, if the author does it well. Sparks my imagination and makes me really wonder about the land that he or she has designed.
     
  9. DeepBlue10055
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    DeepBlue10055 Member

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    Same. My current project takes place in the Orion Arm of the Milk Way, which is where earth is located.
     
  10. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    I started a story set several thousand years into the future of our own planet.
    Some nations were toppled, some nations remained roughly unchanged, some nations were vastly different.
    I couldn't continue the story though. It was too difficult for me at the time to seriously imagine and it interfered with my writing.
     
  11. Benjamin Harris
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    Benjamin Harris Member

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    For most sci-fi and fantasy novels, a reader wants something recognizable. Some authors do this by setting it on Earth or by using humanoid characters or something that a reader can grasp. Having a story that is completely detached from the real world rarely works successfully.
     
  12. BrandonCHFG
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    BrandonCHFG New Member

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    I'll take a great story regardless of the setting. However, for stories not on Earth, sometimes you have to build the world out with a greater amount of detail for the reader to immerse themselves in.
     
  13. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    For me, personally, I think I prefer the real world. I like being able to have that connection between the story and my life and thinking to myself "Wow, this is what's going to happen!" It can give a lot of depth to the story and just throw me that much further into it. With things like Fantasy and Sci-Fi, it's easy to feel disconnected from the world if it isn't portrayed the proper way. So having it set in the world that we KNOW, you add that much more of a connection between the readers and the story itself.
     
  14. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    It doesn't matter to me which setting takes place for as long as the story is interesting. I like to see different realities, even if it takes place in our reality.
     
  15. Prolix Plotbunny
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    Prolix Plotbunny New Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think most readers have a strong preference over either setting.

    A personal experience of mine revolved around this issue, however. Many years ago, I began world-building my main setting (for my main project) as a futuristic fictional world. Like Earth, obviously, unless otherwise noted, in a fictional galaxy. However, the more I built and the more I learned, the more I realized I wanted to incorporate an almost mirror-like version of our Earth's history into my world. So after a long and arduous mental debate, I took the painstaking decision of setting my main setting in the future --- from several decades to a few centuries in the future, I'm undecided still.

    This made me realize that after some time, while stories set on Earth are called "realistic", that isn't necessarily true. A science fiction story set on a fictional world can easily be more plausible and represent the fears of the zeitgeist more accurately than an urban fantasy could, for example.

    In short: In time, all stories set on Earth will eventually become outdated and inaccurate as the future becomes the present. So couldn't one think of those settings as being set on a fictional, parallel Earth where things progressed much more differently?

    As for settings that are truly realistic: Not too many science fiction works end up being totally accurate, but I still think any science fiction masterpiece ought to include a great degree of futurist precognition, if it is to remain accurate, relevant, timeless.

    EDIT: Like those authors who predicted the Internet.
     
  16. Audiomeleska
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    Audiomeleska New Member

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    You can follow H.P. Lovecraft's example and use the real world, but with a fictitious location as he did with Arkham, Massachusetts.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that one danger of fictional worlds is the tendency to over-focus on the "ooh, cool!" aspects of the world, at the expense of story, plot, and characters. That's probably why I tend to prefer real-world stories. But as long as you avoid that error, I don't think that either choice is inherently better.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One of the great attractions of a fictional world, for the author, is that there is none of the pesky in-person research. If you play your cards right, you don't have to even bone up on climatology, ecology, history, or simple physics.

    Personally, I think this is also why fantasy is so popular among younger novice writers, who lack somewhat in real-world experience and may find the topic of research intimidating.
     
  19. Padfoot
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    Padfoot Member

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    I like fiction that makes sense. Even if it can't happen, as long as it has rules and boundaries. Otherwise I have a hard time getting into the story. I also like having it as Earth. But sci-fi isn't really my genre. I'm not sure if I really answered this, I hope so. It's a good question....
     
  20. MikeJoeShmoe
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    MikeJoeShmoe New Member

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    Historical fiction is a really interesting genre because you have to research the topic not only to understand it, but to understand all the 'what if's?' Personally, I love realistic fantasy worlds. :)
     
  21. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sums it all up. Setting matches character arc, and plot (which run hand in hand).
     
  22. Hurin
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    Hurin Member

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    I think I prefer fantasy worlds. I love the idea of complete escapism. The book transports you to another world, with a history and culture, and you are there with them, until you put the book down. The world Tolkien created is an absolute work of genius, so much so I get goosebumps all the way through he Lord of the Rings books. George RR Martin is also good at this, for a more modern take on it.
     
  23. Anthrax
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    Anthrax Member

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    My reading habits have changed over the years. When I was younger I preferred reading books based on fantasy (after my horror story phase). This lasted long into my navy career, but eventually change. Though I still like the occasional fantasy, sci-fi is my preferred story to the point that my first book (in the process of rewritings) is sci-fi. It's funny, I actually tried a mash-up a sci-fi/fantasy book but it didn't work out. I don't think its really mattered to me if it was a new world or a future earth. However, when I read Apocalypse based books I like ones that build up, describe the disaster then talk about surviving it.
     

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