?

Move to the new universe or keep it in the US?

  1. Move

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. Stay

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. York
    Offline

    York New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1

    Post-apocalyptic stories not on earth?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by York, Sep 27, 2015.

    Evening all, least it's evening here.

    So, I've basically come onto this forum with a single question in mind: What would it require for a post-apocalyptic story to take place on a place besides Earth and still have it work?

    A little bit of background. One of the things I've been writing since I was about, mmph, eleven or twleve years old was basically a Sci-Fantasy post-apocalyptic-ish story that's changed settings and stories plenty of times as my writing has improved and my interests changed. The latest version of my story-- or, rather, setting really, I tend to over-focus on world building-- takes place in a near-futuristic, semi-Post-Apocalyptic US. Standard enough setting, but I say 'semi' as the US as an entity is still up and running. There's still some semblance of infrastructure in some places and order in others. A few spats of anime-ish logic sprinkled here and there. But less than you'd think.

    The issue I had with this story for the longest time was designing a good antagonist, which stumped me for a long time. It was around this point that my more-writing-savvy fiancee (and notably much more character-focused than setting-focused as in my case) suggested that I set this story in a different universe so that I could have more liberty with it and create a bit more as I see fit.



    So the bottom line is, how would something like this be created? In my understanding, post-apocalypstic settings are generally attractive as they draw charm from a 'what if' scenario. As in, they draw attention by taking something that is familiar and commonly recognized and twisting it into a dystopic version of itself for the characters to explore.

    That kind of thing I can't see happening in a world where nothing is familiar and everything will have to be introduced, but I'm certain that there has to be some way to do it.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    Personally. I think these are seperate issues.

    A good antagonist is indeed tricky. So don't feel bad for having trouble. The thing is, why are you having trouble with that?(More tossing the question out there than actually asking.)

    A lot of people have trouble because they have too many liberties. I have heard this called "Analysis paralysis." Being that you are so unsure which direction to go that you just stand there. So adding even more liberties isn't going to help you fix that. It is going to make it worse.

    Before I continue. To answer your other question. Yes I think you can do a post-apocalyptic world on another planet. While the "what if" aspect may be a big part of it. The real essense of it is the desperation. The struggle. You can show a struggle on another world. You can even have them talk about the past. When the world was beautiful and easy. You can even do a what if and say they did something we do and that caused it. Like they used nuclear power for all needs and a chain reaction meltdown destroyed civilation. I am not against nuclear power. Just an example.

    Now. Since the issue was the character. I have an alternate suggestion. Which is to counter the struggle of two many liberties. Which is this. List some idea you like in an antognist. They can be anything. Maybe "Good hearted." Or "Egotistical" maybe "Revenge driven". Anything that is a trait that can exist in an antagonist. Pick one. Then ask yourself questions. Like;

    "Why is he this way?"

    "If he is this way in these regards what else might I see in him?"

    I can't think of more general questions. The idea is by picking one trait you limit the options he can have. Then by asking questions to yourself about him. You further elimate questions. which gives you more a general outline of him. Once you have that, you can decide if you like it. If you do. YAY! If not, you can pick another item from the list and try again.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  3. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Hi, welcome to the forum. First, some terminology so we are on the same page.

    Earth is in the solar system. The solar system is in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way along with trillions of other galaxies is in the Universe. The Universe is everything though some theoretical physicists speculate there may be multiverses, aka multiple universes. Branes have been hypothesized as well, where universes bump up against other universes but that hypothesis may have gone out of favor.

    So take your pick: another planet, another solar system, another galaxy, or another universe. It's fiction, author's choice. :)
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  4. York
    Offline

    York New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    @Wynn

    Oh yes, theses are separate issues. My main thing is whether or not to leave Earth/Alternate History behind and go on to form a separate universe that I can shape as much as I like. I completely understand the freedom overload, though.

    Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why I had difficulty assigning an antagonist. I've had some stand-in ideas that I tossed around, but many of them I had just couldn't quite fit the setting. That I'd like to leave for a different topic, though. I'm actually kind of open to the idea of having this take place in a different, lesser-done setting and so wanna test the feasibility of that switch.

    @Ginger

    Oh, I understand that. By 'universe' I mean whether the setting is in a modified version of a real life setting (like most post-apocalyptic stories) or be in a totally new reality of its own. Like, you know, saying the "Harry Potter Universe" or the "Nasuverse".
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  5. Sifunkle
    Offline

    Sifunkle Dis Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    570
    So, you're deciding between A) setting it in a fictional 'real US on real Earth', and B) setting it in a fictional 'imaginary US-analogue on imaginary Earth-analogue'? Both will clearly be fictional, so I don't think it makes a huge deal of difference.

    Perhaps think about the impact you want to make - you could reach out on a personal level more by having it in a 'real' setting. Think of the Statue of Liberty revelation at the end of Planet of the Apes - 'Oh my, it was Earth all along! I suddenly feel more conflicted!'. Mileage may vary as to whether that engagement pleases them or makes them uncomfortable (it may depend on your plot and what happens). If it's a novel universe, there will be less of a personal link, but if you're depicting horrible things, the reader may appreciate the extra distance from the story.

    The other consideration is the necessary detail. The argument would probably be that developing a new world would require more imagination, but coming up with a post-apocalyptic future or alternative history for the real world probably approaches the same level, so I think that's fairly moot. However, if you choose the real world, you have to get the details right, otherwise readers will quibble (e.g. I dunno... the badges on a uniform for a particular US army rank?). In an imaginary world that's all up to you, so no quibbles, as long as you maintain internal consistency.

    If you're a setting-focused writer thinking of 'anime-ish logic', etc, maybe option B is for you. You can still drop anvil-sized clues so your readers will compare imaginary elements to real-world things (e.g. the United Territories of Armyrica).

    Hopefully that helps your thought process :) Good luck, and welcome to the forum!
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  6. TheApprentice
    Offline

    TheApprentice Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,198
    Likes Received:
    154
    Lol, Borderlands
     
  7. York
    Offline

    York New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    @Sifunkle

    Hum, you know, you have a point. Thank you, I'll consider those.
     
  8. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,736
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    The thing that sounds hard for me about this is that a Post-Apocalyptic story fundamentally presumes that there was also a Pre-Apocalyptic world before the story. The less we know about the Pre-Apocalpytic world, the less the Apocalyptic changes to the world mean because we don't know what the world was changed from.
     
  9. York
    Offline

    York New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    @Simpson

    That was indeed my dilemma before, but a few people here seem to have some ideas on how to do it well enough.
     

Share This Page