1. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    When is a completely fictional world better?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Acglaphotis, Sep 23, 2008.

    At what point do you set the mark for something occurring in the real world? Have you ever read something and thought "This would totally be better in a fictional setting." or the opposite?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If my story needs a political structure, or an environment/setting that is not found in our world, then I crate a world with the features the story needs.

    That's the attraction of speculative fiction to me. I favor science fiction over fantasy, but it's all about being able to tell stories that don't "fit" in this world.
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I just write what I want to write. If it features something from the real world, then it does. If it doesn't, then that's fine by me. Everything I write is fiction, even if it features factual elements, so there's no moment when I draw some sort of clear line between the two since I'm already blending them. *shrug*
     
  4. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    It depends on what you mean by a "fictional world." I've seen quite a few stories in various formats which ostensibly show the modern "real" world, but with important differences, such as the reality of werewolves, or the existence of an elite special forces team which takes on the really tough jobs.

    Generally, I find it to be rather trying when a story has to bend itself into loops to explain why the incredible events it's describing aren't common knowledge in the "real" world. If we're just in an alternate timeline and assuming "everything's the same except magic is real," then I'm okay with it, especially if they've got good reasons why things turned out mostly the same. I'm less okay with things like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, which insists that it's the "real world" and it's just that "nobody knows the truth." Given some of the crap the characters in that series have pulled, I have a very hard time maintaining a suspension of disbelief that "no one knows" about the supernatural. That's one instance where I'd have preferred a "fictional" world to a story supposedly set in the real world.
     
  5. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I avoid reality because I don't like to research. I have a paranoid delusion that every one of my readers (all 5? of them) are geniuses who know everything about everything and will pick apart each and every detail. So I just make things up as I go. Fictional characters, doing fictional things, in a fictional country, on a fictional planet, in a universe you've never heard of, but I promise you is out there somewhere. Yet somehow it all seems oddly familiar...
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Chuckle - and if you throw in magic, you don't need to be concerned with the laws of physics :D

    Maybe that's why fantasy fiction is so popular!
     
  7. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    I dunno. I always freak out because of how little I know about medieval life, how swords and armor work, what the social structure was like, etc. Even if it's an imaginary world, I get concerned about realism.
     
  8. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but there's always an escape clause. Your knight doesn't have to put on his armor the way traditional medieval knights did, because he's not a traditional medieval knight. He can hold his sword how he wants and ride his dragon however he pleases. It's medieval without being medieval. That's what I was hinting at when I said fictional, yet oddly familiar.

    But I do share your concern about this sort of stuff. For me, it's an irrational paranoia. No amount of knowledge can cure it, so I don't even bother trying. I just learn the basics and start writing off the top of my head; my world, my rules.
     
  9. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Eh, still feels all cheatyface to me. If I get irritated reading about all these liberated feminists in peasant skirts, then I feel obligated to try and be realistic myself.

    I only don't sweat it if I'm writing something wholly fictional, i.e. no real correlation to any actual historical period.
     
  10. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    Hey, you can always go with the old "Super advanced technology will be indistiguishable from magic," chestnut! Anything "nano" works too.
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    For me I think either is fine. I tend to have read a lot of novels that seem at first to be the normal world, and it is the normal world, but very strange things happen in that real world. Like vampires in San Fransico. Anne Rice: Queen of the Damned. Not the best in the series, but good. The best was Memnoch the Devil, and Tail of a Body Theif, IMO.

    Okay got side tracked again, ADD. I suppose I could erase the last part, but nah. Stephen King: Salem's Lot, takes place in Maine. Dean Koontz: Fear Nothing, takes place in a small beach town, but soon you find out there are intelligent killing monkeys on the loose.

    I think this works because we know the real world, and it helps us get drawn in.

    Even Harry Potter is built around London. But a completely fictionary universe works well too, although I don't think those types of novels sell as well.
     
  12. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I guess I prefer to use the real world. I just like how everything is already structured. Plus a lot of my fiction, magic or otherwise, deals with problems in our world.

    To me it would not make sense to put modern world issues into the story. Our world has all the moral dilema and character flaws I need. I throw in magic or sci-fi and poof we are good.

    I think you create a world when tou want to deal with moral issues that can not be dealt with in todays world. Or where a character will not develop as expected because our world would restrict him.

    The ideas put forth From stories of Narnia or Middle earth would not be the same if done in the modern world. Even game worlds like Faerun would not work and Perrin would not work as well. If you told me that the greek gods had come back and were being mischievious like they are in those worlds I would have trouble believing.

    So i believe that your character and what you want to happen determines if you need to build your own world.
     
  13. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    This is what I do. But I am starting to wonder if I should really be trying to convey that this is OUR world; there absolutely are elements in the plot that require this to be set in the real world. But there are a lot of things that make me feel like "This would never happen in the real world." It's kind of a paradoxical thing.
     

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