1. Lazzamore
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    Lazzamore New Member

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    Trying to come up with a setting I love

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Lazzamore, Nov 25, 2015.

    I made a high-fantasy setting, but have a problem. I have boiled my problem down to this: I want to create a setting as deep as Tolkien's, since world-building is one of my favorite parts of writing, and to do this I'm gonna use the same setting in multiple applications. The issue I'm having is that I don't know that I love the setting I made up currently enough to do that. Don't get me wrong, I want to use many parts of it, so I have been constantly re-writing it. After many re-writes I guess I still can't bring myself to 'love' it enough to use it almost exclusively. What am I missing? What can I do to make a setting to capture my interests?
     
  2. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    How detailed and how big is the setting? How long is the world's history? What movements in art and dress exist? What is daily life like and how are people treated?

    My setting is something I experience and the wonder only increases with time as I get to explore more and more of the cultures. Every single character in the story has their lineage traceable back to living deities and while much takes place in small communities - it is probably the art and architecture works that comprise about 30% of the entire text.

    Furnishings, clothing, crafts, toys... some of the characters will spend thousands of words struggling with their craft and hone their skills. Art is extremely valued in two of the societies to the point that the pursuit of beauty in form has impacted the language to such an extent that "gardening" has six different branches of major crafts that Huan work with. The highest form is Koutensequoten which sort of translates to the "craft of manipulating grafted trees for wood masterworks" which is getting entire pieces of ornate furnishings to have several different species of trees physically produced from a single source. This can be seen as the highest art in fishing poles which alternate wood types for maximum strength and flexibility or causing single piece spiral chairs for Tein that are admired for warped grains.

    A lot of these arts are why I keep uncovering more and more that I like about the setting even while it does not get a huge amount of text-time, it is often referred to as a sign of status and prosperity. Many sacred items are produced from the Namadi tree and the Uial is one of them which is a type of masterwork which gets a lot of use. It is more important than the "fine china" because it is traditional for ceremonial and high-level diplomatic talks.
     
  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it tricky to innately answer since it sounds like you are asking what you love. I don't know since I don't know you.

    But my work is doing what you want to do, except mine is urban fantasy but i think that is a pretty minor difference. I counted up about ten book ideas I have ready. 3 Which have full drafts and 4 that I could start tomorrow if I wanted. Only reason not to is because I am fixing the three I have.

    If you want. We could try strike a dialogue. Maybe bounce ideas about why it is and isn't working.
     
  4. Lazzamore
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    Lazzamore New Member

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    I see. Thank you for your responses, and sorry I haven't replied sooner, but the holidays kept me a bit busy.

    Anyways Wynn, yes that sounds good. I think that ultimately I'm looking for a certain 'vibe' from my setting that I'm having a little bit of trouble getting out of it. I dunno, what do you think I should do?
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    No worries. Holidays are usually busy.

    Vibe is tricky. I can't really say what it is you will or won't like or what you need.

    I can share some of mine own thoughts on the subject though.

    See, I didn't plan for it to be that way. The way it sort of turned into that was from one question really. "Why?" or more exact. "Why is that character that way?"

    In my experience, in some way or another, most stories dial up the direness of a situation. Yet, I think fantasy has the easiest time with this. Which I think can be a mistake. If you want it to be a world for of mystery and wonder, sometimes the direness of a situation needs to be turned down.

    Let me give an example.

    My main story is pretty much about a sleeping god wakin up. The journey of becoming who she was meant to be. Which as you can probably guess, has the dire situation concept played to its max. The characters planet as well as the entire univere hang in the balance between the old god not wanting to give up the thrown and the new god trying to take it.

    A character in that world, Jackie, meets this god in the making. She fights against her. She was in a sense one of the earlier challenges the god in the making had to face. Jackie was strong and damn near won too. Thing is. How of that entire story. Jackie only really gets this one scene.

    So I wrote a book based on her. Because the god won and the universe was safe. Well, life kept happening for Jackie. So I refocused the camera to her. No longer is the story about gods and world deciding odds. Now the scale has been downsided to this one girl and her family.

    The important part is it doesn't make the story any less interesting. Also you don't need either to know the other but they compliement each other.

    If you ready Jackie first, you would recongize her and that would be cool. Not only that, Jackie is said to have been crazier when younger. So reading her first you would see her semi crazy mentioning how she has calmed down, and then get a gimpse of her crazy side in the other story.

    In the same way the reverse order works too. Because instantly remember how crazy she as when she mentions it and you can see the difference.

    Also in that same way it is the same universe with the same rules. Which is nice in the sense that each time you can learn a little more, but at the same time by not needing a full explanation you can sort of breathe the concepts more I think. Snce something that will be explained you might get from the begging. Then again it being explained shouldn't detract to those that know since it might add a layer you didn't.


    At its core, my advice or question is this.

    Can you refocus the camera to a minor character, giving us a story about them, how they reached this point of what they did next that does not relay on the main story at all? Would it be interesting?

    If yes. I think you are doing fine.

    As for world building. Not much to say. I would say flexible. Make it known in the main story that magic is not rigid. That way when you get new ideas and bend magic a bit later on, it doesn't destroy old material, or you aren't bound by old material. The other tip is be general. You want the world to support other ideas. So you need for there to be more than one good way to do things. That way when you refocus on other characters you can refocus on other aspects of the world. If that makes sense?
     
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  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, one point I forgot. Since your fantasy. Not a ultra important point but one that ruins a story's illusion for me.

    Hard for me to say it easy. So let me quote a recent source that made the mistake.

    In the show Legend of Korra, an expansion of Avatar the Last Airbender, they give details of how the avatar was created. Which is actually really cool, but the material sort of didn't realize something. They introduced a character in the lore here. Which was never mentioned in the original series. Which is fine. The problem is that after they mentioned it, characters all start talking about it.

    The issue is that from the original series it seems that no one knew about this guy, but then they suddenly do. What I would say, is that create a standard of what people in your world know. And if you decide to expand on something, from before the timeline make sure not to add people that know. Because if the characters don't know, than we should learn with them. Don't add a random character to give exposition. At least I wouldn't.


    Good luck! :D
     

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