1. Elias Randén
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    Elias Randén New Member

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    The future I'm building and how I can expand it

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Elias Randén, Feb 29, 2016.

    Hello! I've recently gotten very invested in this story I came up with a few week ago and I'm trying to expand on the world it's set in.

    So here is a summery of what I have so far.

    In 2026 the first alien contact was made when a distress beacon outside of Mars was discovered. The origin of the distress signal was a small ship with a painting depicting some sort of insect like head on it. Upon entering the ship it seemed abandoned until a single seemingly harmless 1 meter tall gray humanoid alien was discovered. When the crew tried to communicate with it they were killed within seconds as it tore them apart. It was a parasite commonly known as a "chameleon parasite", it changes it host genetically and turns them extremely hostile. (This part may seem random but I felt like I should add this since it's kind of the start of everything.)

    From that point onwards more and more intelligent alien species made contact with earth, and it wasn't long before more than 30 species of alien life forms found themselves on Earth. Most of them didn't come individually but instead in one large network that came looking for species intelligent enough to be included in their search. A large council consisting out of many leaders who were powerful at the time was created with the purpose of deciding if they should join this alien association or not. They started seeing everything as a bigger picture and see Earth as one united nation. This is how the GAC (Guardian angel council) was created, they were the supreme power that ruled over the entire Earth.

    The GAC generally did a good job ruling and were liked, until they were faced with the problem of over population. There were still a large number of aliens left on Earth, which as the GAC had decided weren't as important as the ones who originated from Earth. In 2037 a large invisible force shield was built around the Earth, it's being upheld by thousands of mechanical joints. It keeps anything from entering and exiting. When the shield was done they sent out thousands of soldiers to eradicate any aliens they could find, all of the soldiers were dressed in white armor and thus the term "white reaper" was born. This is when the ECC was born, also known as the Electric Cobra clan. It mostly consisted out of aliens set on rebelling against the GAC in the beginning, but it didn't take long until large amount of humans joined. With more and more joining the ECC they were really starting to make a difference. After three years of fighting the GAC was brought down from power when their main base of operations was stormed and the council was executed. Even though this was seen as a victory 80% of all the aliens on Earth were dead and it was still on permanent lock down. The only survivor with any sort of influence was the daughter of Edward Von Hale (A council member), Tiara Rosalina Von Hale. The last of the GAC forces and scientists escaped underground under Tiaras command.

    On the surface the ECC keep growing and now rule over Asia, Europe and Africa. South america was basically abandoned after the GAC bombed it due to the amount of aliens that lived there. Oceania is pirate territory that is mostly avoided, and North americaI'm still figuring out. As you see it's kinda vague what exactly I'm doing with the world after this (Flawed, I know) backstory. So, If this is where my question comes in, what can I do with places like north America? Where do I start developing cultures and such? I'm new to this I just don't know where to start, how to start and where to stop. I don't even know if what I already have is acceptable or not. But do remember that the text here is more of a summary and I skipped the all the details like dates and species. Anyway, I hope someone can help me with this.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, I'm going to try to keep this brief, but may fail.

    Point 1: Where is your main character in all of this?

    Here's the thing about worldbuilding for stories - the closer you get to the main action, the more detail you have to have. Your main character is the eyes we see the world through, and the things he/she sees are the things you need to know the most about.

    Yeah, it helps to know the high politics and general order of the world generally, but not always in detail. Let's say, for instance, that your story is set in the future London - heck I'll pick a neighborhood and say Bethnal Green (I'm American and haven't been to London so that's a random pick from my British media consumption). In that case, you really, really need to know what the streets of Bethnal Green look like in the future. What does it smell like? Are there computer monitors everywhere? Have the demographics changed? Has the social status of the neighborhood changed for better or worse? Are the streets dirty? How do they collect the trash? What restaurants are available? This stuff is all up in your character's face, and you need to KNOW.

    You probably also need to know roughly how London and Britain work. If you're in Bethnal Green, that's in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, so you probably need to know whats going on in the rest of Tower Hamlets, maybe how it interacts with neighboring boroughs like Hackney and the City of London proper. And you'll need to know roughly what London overall looks like, where the good and bad neighborhood are. Who the mayor is, what makes the city tick politically, is there organized crime etc. But you probably don't need to know a ton about the borough of Barking and Dagenham unless you're going to be there often.

    It's probably helpful to know the larger picture in the UK, who the Prime Minister is (if there's a Prime Minister), h0w big is the military, is the government corrupt, how rick or poor is Britain relative to the rest of the world, etc. That said, unless you're going there or going to use it for an off-hand detail, it's not all that important for you to know what's going on in Liverpool or Glasgow - like at all. If you want to, great, but that's just for personal enrichment and you don't NEED it.

    Once you get to America...well...you'd probably need to know who controls it and roughly how it fits into the world order. Maybe whether or not it exerts any cultural pull that echoes down to your hypothetical main character back in Bethnal Green. But that's it. It's probably not going to make the book, so don't waste a ton of time.

    So, if you look at how I did that, the worldbuilding got progressively less detailed the farther away I got from my main character. That's how books work - there's no way you can build an ENTIRE realistic world, even if you tried. You're building the ILLUSION of a real world, and illusions depend heavily on knowing which angle the audience is viewing from. So, while getting your basic maps done is a good thing, I would encourage you to focus far more on depth than breadth of worldbuilding. Get right up close to your main character and figure out what their specific, day to day world looks like - I will learn more about the world based on what that person eats for breakfast and why than I will from political details on a map.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  3. Elias Randén
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    Elias Randén New Member

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    Is this a question you want me to answer, think about or is the rest of the text meant as the answer?

    Anyway, wow, thanks. I have never been to where my story is going to be set (Tokyo) to begin with, so I guess I'll look into that a bit more.
     
  4. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    If I'm reading this correctly, it looks like they decided to deal with overpopulation by locking the doors and massacring huge swathes of the population? Why would they do that...? Would it not be easier to encourage the population to go to/start colonies, etc? They presumably have access to some interstellar engine technology, no?

    Also, it kinda looks like you've put into place a global government and taken them from benevolent to tyrannical in the course of a decade. You might want to have another look at the timeline for that - aside from anything else, it's far more likely that there would be some reform of the UN (since it has an existing infrastructure) than an entirely new global body being set up. Hell, look at the UN's history here; for the first ten years it didn't even have a peacekeeping force, let alone the kind of all-encompassing powers that you're envisioning here.

    Imagine aliens turned up tomorrow - do you think every government in the world would be happy to just disband, simply because some aliens asked nicely? It doesn't seem at all likely to me. Nor, I imagine, would the general population of the planet just readily accept some new all-powerful government that seemingly sprang up overnight with no democratic accountability?

    Not to say this couldn't happen eventually - but not within the decade or so you seem to be going with. A century or two, perhaps, but even then there'd probably be big pockets of resistance.

    Beyond that - I agree with @Commandante Lemming; Think about what you do in the course of an average day, and apply that to your character. Where do you live? What do you eat for breakfast? How do you get to work? What do you do? What do you do for entertainment? etc. etc.
     
  5. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    You definitely have some issues of realism in this story but nothing that can't be adjusted. Your time frame begins only 10 years from now, so essentially it's the same society we're living in (unless the whole story is alternate universe). Can you really imagine people finding out right now about a single living alien species? and that close to Earth? I don't envision a time of global peace with a joining together of all lands. I see a whole lot a freaked out people, the religious implications alone could cause wars. Then a few years later 30 more species show up and start living on Earth? Where? You inviting them to your neighborhood? There are plenty of parts of the world where people die because they moved into the area with the crime of having the wrong color skin.

    Like I said, your world can be worked but I think in order to add realism you need to start further away in time from our world so the reader can imagine the changes. Add in a much longer and slower progression of aliens showing up to live here & it might be alright.
    On a side note, why would a group composed predominately of aliens name themselves ECC? The cobra is an Earth animal, why would they use that designation? If you do have a logical reason then great, explain it to the reader if not maybe a different name.

    Good luck
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was a rhetorical question. Basically a good tool to determine where to start and stop worldbuilding is to use your character as a lens and think about what they see from a worm's eye view rather than what you as the author know about the overarching reality.
     

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