1. Totzlol
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    Totzlol Member

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    Timeline and Planet Role in Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Totzlol, Jun 29, 2011.

    I am working on a fantasy trilogy and while I have most of my three books laid out and some already written of the first book, I had a friend of mine read over what I have so far and she had some questions that I never even thought of while writing.

    First, some facts.

    There is no advanced technology like electricity, cars or anything of the like.

    The setting obviously places it in a medieval era.

    There is magical spells of all kinds taking place.

    There are many references made to the sun.

    Many spells involve the "earth".

    Humans do exist.

    A vampire-like race also exists.





    Given those few facts, my friend asked me if this takes place on Earth and what timeline is it in.

    Honestly, I thought the answer to those questions...moot. Simply because it is taking place in an entirely made up plane of existence so the name of the planet is hardly relevant and the timeline was, though not specific, generally self-explanatory.

    Am I wrong to assume that leaving those details out is hardly a vital aspect of the story?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You definitely don't need a set date, but you should have a name for the cities etc in your setting..but if the world itself doesn't have a name, I think that's fine.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also think it's fine to call your planet "Earth", and still let it be very different from our Earth.

    When you're basing a story on real-world mythology, the fantasy world is, in a sense, our Earth, while at the same time being very different from our Earth. For example, Tolkien's Middle-Earth.
     
  4. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't have to name the world, unless you want to. Cities and countries you should, just to help reference areas of your world. :)
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only name things when it is necessary to do so.
    I wrote a short story set in a warehouse once. I didn't say what city it was in or anything like that. It was just a warehouse. That was the world of my story, and it didn't need any further description than "warehouse".

    Similarly, if your character never leaves a small town or village, it may not be necessary to provide some infodump about the place. The name might even just be mentioned in passing. I said something similar to the following in a different thread: readers aren't idiots. You don't have to spoon feed them every detail.
     
  6. Possibly Awesome Writer
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    Possibly Awesome Writer Member

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    You don't need to name the world (unless there is more than one world in your story) but you should definitely name places in it, even if your plot never takes you anywhere near those places simply because it will add depth and realism to your story. However that only really applies to longer stories where the MC travels. On short stories in, say just one city, you don't need to specify places at all.

    For longer stories, even if you don't relish the idea of all that work I suggest you try it--you might find it surprisingly rewarding.
     
  7. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture Senior Member

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    It depends truly, if it takes place in one city or town, you only have to name that city, or mention a few other places. However if the story takes place over man location, you should name them. But you don't have to name the world, not a lot of medieval fantasy writers I know do that.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    If those places are never mentioned and nobody ever goes near them, how is that going to add depth?

    I reiterate my point: name things when necessary.
     
  9. Possibly Awesome Writer
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    Possibly Awesome Writer Member

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    Good point PastPresentNFuture (can I call you PPNF?), that is basically what I'm trying to say.
    However you could just drop in little pieces of information like rumours of war brewing with a troublesome neighboring country at a tavern, just to give the reader a sense that your world is a world and not just a big box with empty space outside the confines of the story. I find it helps me but at the bottom line it isn't necessary and will only help in some cases and should only be an extra, not something you really change the story to include.
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find that sort of thing to be awesome, too... in The Elder Scrolls and other similar video games.
    In prose, I find it annoying. It confuses the dialogue, which is what a reader will focus on. When you read that something is being said, a general assumption is that the writer wanted you to read it. I should hope they want me to read it because it's important. Not because they wanted to trick me into thinking they're deep.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you are writing a short story it is generally considered that you need to use more economy of words, and there is little room to mention things that are not important. In a novel, however, you have a lot more freedom in this regard and should feel free to explore it. You can pick up any number of fantasy novels and find people mentioning places that the characters never go near or that aren't immediately important to the story. They do it because the characters are people and people talk about such things. Concentrate on developing good characters and writing a good story. If a mention of distant places that no one ever sees flows from it, then so be it. Don't force it, of course. But the idea that in a novel-length fantasy you can't mention the name of any place the characters won't be traveling to is silly, as can be demonstrated by picking up any number of fantasy novels off the shelf at the bookstore.
     

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