1. pessim321
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    pessim321 New Member

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    The Society Overused?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by pessim321, Apr 24, 2012.

    I've been writing a dystopian setting based story for a while now. So far, I have the setting named as the Society. However, I've noticed that many dystopian stories refer to the setting the same way. Is the term overused? Is there any other way that I can describe the setting and still give the same vague ominous feeling that "the Society" typically gives? Thanks.

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  2. Winzett
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    Winzett Member

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    Yeah, "The Society" could sound a bit plain/corny to some people and it has probably been used a few times. Though personally, I would be fine with.

    Maybe use a synonym like "The Dominion" or give it a creative name.
  3. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause New Member

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    You could try an acronym. They always sound foreboding to me.
  4. Mell
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    Mell New Member

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    This. Just don't try to hard with it if you do, it's so silly when people make the acronym before they decide on what it stands for, just to make it a cool word or something.
  5. JHockey
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    JHockey New Member

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    What type of setting is the Society in your story? Is it controlled by entertainment industry, is it like big brother in 1984? Depending on this would determine words to use other than Society.
  6. pessim321
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    pessim321 New Member

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    Thanks winzett, mell, tctc. I will definitely try an acronym.
    JHockey, I'm thinking of more like a Matrix style setting where the "leader" is an AI that controls the Society by manipulating citizens and using force when necessary to prevent rebellion.
  7. JHockey
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    JHockey New Member

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    I see, then an acronym sounds like a good idea. I read a book with an AI leader controlling society, the legends of Dune trilogy, he/it was called Omnius. Maybe an idea to look at ancient greek terms also. You often see them used in sci-fi. Hyperion, Endymion by Dan Simmons. A power crazy robot/AI may choose to name himself based on a roman or greek god, so thats another possiblity. Anyway, something to think about, and good luck with is as it sounds like an interesting story.
  8. pessim321
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    pessim321 New Member

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    I agree with what you're saying, but I already have a name for my AI. His name is Yggdrasil. What I really need is a name for my "world".
  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt New Member

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    I've found that if I give something a name (often times something dumb or overused) that before I finish the book something better has come to mind or someone will suggest something. Most of the time I don't waste my effort looking for names because if I wait long enough, they come to me.
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  10. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless New Member

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    This. That's my suggestion, finish the story using whatever fill in you want 'the society.' A good name etc will come and can easily be edited in during the editing stage.

    I'm currently running with 'the tower' in one of mine. :)
  11. Kesteven
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    Kesteven New Member

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    I've been having to do this with character names. I've found going with something made-up and obscure can help because then I can use find & replace more easily, but that's just me being lazy :D
    Other than that I've found that the name can end up influencing the 'feel' of whatever the thing is in my mind, which can be a problem if I end up with a placeholder name dragging me off course. The balance I've decided on is to give some real thought initially to making the name appropriate, but to still remain very open to any name ideas that might occur while writing. The spares often get passed around anyway and sometimes even give me new ideas.

    I don't think 'The Society' works though; I'm one of the people Winzett mentioned. I can just about forgive Banks for 'The Culture', but that's where I draw the line.
  12. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt New Member

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    This is interesting. I bet it does influence things if you have a very dumb placeholder. Maybe I shouldn't use Dumbledore for an old wizard. hehe, kidding :)
  13. HorusEye
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    HorusEye New Member Contributor

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    Here's a free acronym: E.V.I.L. W.O.R.L.D.
  14. MissRis
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    MissRis New Member

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    Have you thought about trying different languages for words like "city," "world," "village," "town" and other various synonyms? Maybe look for Greek or Latin derivations that you can tweak from there.
  15. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Crimson Angel Contributor

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    Yeah just alittle bit. Another term like "The City" or something like that would work.
  16. aimeekath
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    aimeekath New Member

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    Yeah, I'm having a similar kind of problem. I just refer the 'bad' people as the 'enemy' or 'they' until I can think of something better to replace it with.

    The acronym thing seems like a good idea. Or you could play around with more interesting word choices that connote an ominous power.
  17. madhoca
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    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

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    In most dystopian settings, the horrible government/police/health inspectors etc have innocuous names like: the determiners/guardians/MM (Moral Maintainers)/the preservers...

    ... and then, of course, these names become filled with double meaning and come to instill fear. Sometimes a longer name is shortened, a bit like, e.g. the brutal Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or Stasi (East German secret police service). The name meant "ministry for state security" and their noble motto was "shield and sword of the Party".
  18. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Member

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    Why not call them something completely ominous like: "Them" ?
  19. pessim321
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    pessim321 New Member

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    Woah.
    I leave for a week and the responses reproduced.
    Been writing a lot lately, but I really do need to come back to the forum more
    Thanks for all your suggestions. I decided that I will take AmyHolt's suggestion and continue writing with the Society.
  20. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Member

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    I know it's been a few weeks since you posted but I wanted to point out that in Lost they referred to the mysterious people on the island as the Others. It was simple but it conveyed a great ominous tone (like the previous poster stated.) In the end you may have to use a placeholder until you find the right name. Also, I agree that you shouldn't force an acronym just because it sounds cool. You could also look into words in other languages (like Latin) that have a meaning close to what you're conveying.
  21. Danbershan
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    Danbershan New Member

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    By the sound of it, Dominion would work well. Or the Protectorate.

    If they'd been all controlled by the media, you could have called it the Fanbase :)
  22. marcuslam
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    marcuslam New Member

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    The only issue I might have is that the name is not specific enough. As in, when I read it, I might go, "which society"? But it beats trying too hard and coming up with a name that's hard to pronounce, etc.
  23. Exclusive
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    You should call them "the audience".
  24. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel New Member

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    I personally like 'The Society'. It's simple, and it works. Because I read comics I'm always irritated by overuse of acronyms, especially within Marvel universe because of how unclever and obviously planned out they are. S.H.I.E.L.D and S.W.O.R.D.? Come on. Something I haven't seen done before is numbers. It gives this sense of detachment and apathy. You could also call it something ironic, a word that would be comforting in any other setting but has this gut wrenching ominous feeling in this particular setting.

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