1. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Unknown Regions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fullmetal Xeno, Jul 26, 2011.

    Do you think it would be cool if i had an "Unknown Regions" section of my fantasy world? Cause since it's pretty big, i figured only 10% of my world has been conquered and explored. But for being 10% , it's pretty big. The other 90% would be the Unknown Regions. But the Unknown Regions would have lot of scary creatures and secrets along the way. It would also have a couple races that are main races the the others have never contacted. Would this make the world interesting?
     
  2. JSLCampbell
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    JSLCampbell Member

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    Sure it would make the world interesting. It's leaving question marks and that can get the reader's mind going about what Unknown Regions might hold. However, it would force technology back obviously. Transport would plausibly lead to regions being mapped. Usually islands can maintain the "here be dragons" status more easily in a fantasy setting because it requires more complicated sea travel. Readers would expect that any unknown regions on the main continent would be explored by a fantasy empire by scouts and explorers on horseback.

    Alternatively, there could be some more complicated reason why the regions are unknown. Maybe people fall ill when they try to traverse the unknown regions.

    I don't know how clique any of this is though. It might be pretty commonplace in Fantasy literature.
     
  3. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not that long since much of the Earth was terra incognita or mare incognitum, so it's not unreasonable in a fantasy setting. Even if scouts and explorers have made the journey to distant lands, they may not have fully explored them, and even if people from those lands have been contacted the accounts of those contacts may be biased and garbled. Europeans knew vey little of China in medieval times, even though they are connected by land. You don't need any more obstacle than distance. It has certainly been done in fantasy -- Elric of Melniboné wandered into populated but unknown lands from time to time. Unknown to the Melnibonéans, that is; the locals knew about them.
     
  4. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    The unknown can have an enourmous impact on a story-- good or bad. If you make it a point in your story to mention that there are parts unknown, then you need to have a good reason to do so. If you mention it just for the sake of mentioning it cause it sounds good, then it becomes pointless.

    In other words-- if you're characters venture into these uncharted territories, they need to do so for a specific reason relevant to your story. Perhaps hints lead them there for some artifact of importance, or they then need to hunt something/someone who fled the mainlands, or whatever. Just make sure it makes sense for the story if you choose to include it.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    As said before, we failed at mapping the Earth properly for a very long time. If aliens exist and are watching our progress, they were falling about laughing at that. :p "But it's a tiny little rock! Why haven't you crawled all over it yet on your stupid little human feet?!"

    In any case, that 10% might be more interestingly played as 10% explored to ONE people or race (who tell the story). I started one novel where the narrator grew up in a walled city, and literally had no idea anything existed outside it, kinda... like that terrible movie M Night Shamaylan made about that village where everyone was backwards and it was the modern world, except in mine it wasn't directed by him so it was better and the technology levels were the other way around :p After two chapters I said goodbye to the city and sent my poor dumb narrator off to explore and it was jolly good fun.

    Anyway, I'm hoping you don't have my ideas for the whole thing and so I'll run the concept by you. :D I'm re-writing it different anways. :p

    Point is (sorry for the rambling), your people wander out and after some monsters and stuff discover the world is pretty much well-explored and travelled and they see trade and long-distant transport and so on for the first time.

    The trouble with unknown lands is you have to make ties for your characters all the way through. If they're literally unknown there's no point going except for the good old human reason of "because it's there", which, while true enough, isn't great plot motivation. :p Maybe a rumour of something lying beyond they really need like medicine or a lost city their father vanished trying to find, or something happens, they get trapped and one of their member is captured or something and so there's a reason to press on. I peppered my "Outside" with agents from the city who had infiltrated the other places and made my main character's travel really difficult and gave political motivation to go one place to the other.
     
  6. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Actually my idea wasn't even close when it came to lost cities. It's supposed to be defended by a race that has scared the wanderers of my fantasy world. I was planning to have a race explore it before my book trilogy's timeline but they don't tell anybody about it. and there's supposed to be things that have never been discovered. My fantasy world is pretty big. It's only 10% and there are alot of countries bordering each other and most are decently sized. But everything will be reasonable. And my fantasy world is a medieval setting, so it's harder to explore quicker.
     
  7. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    I like that idea. For a long time the center of Africa was inaccessible to European colonization because of malaria; until quinine, the region was pretty unknown. And most fantasy settings don't have tech surpassing the British at the time when quinine pills came around.
     
  8. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Yeah it took awhile for the explorers to fully explore all the countries in the world. Heck, in 2005 another country was made.
     
  9. colorthemap
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    It all reminds me of A song of ice and fire by George R. R. Martin.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My own story has unknown regions as well, but the people there call them "outlying lands" or "outer darkness." They're scary and inhabited by human-eating creatures, as least the small part that my characters travel through.
     
  11. Aeschylus
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    Yep, and then in 2011 another was made ;) but new countries forming isn't really th same as exploring new regions. Then again look at all the natural resources (and land) in northern Canada and Russia that is largely untouched, for reasons such as environmental interests and the fact that it's not easy to renovate these regions into places for mass habitation and industry. Frankly the Lewis and Clarke expedition was a venture into an unknown region. There are examples everywhere
     
  12. YoungCreature
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    Unknown is good. I love the unknown. I care much less for the known.

    When Unknown is first presented, you find it intriguing. You want to know more. Your interest is peaked. But the more you learn about Unknown, the less interesting it becomes. It becomes Known.

    The key is to balance on the little fence between Unknown and Known. If you have to fully reveal the Unknown, then create another Unknown to keep the readers interested.

    The stupid show Lost comes to mind. The first dreadful day I watched that show I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. Why were they on the island? Who were the others? What were the monsters? Why was there a polar bear? There were so many Unknowns. Then, as the show went on, the unknowns would slowly be revealed but that would always create new unknowns. Disregard the fact that Lost is the worst thing to happen to our society since Meth was invented.
     
  13. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I think this definitely creates interest in your story. You don't even have to expand on it you want. My current WIP has a large section of unexplored land separated by a nigh-impassible mountain range.
     

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