Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Grim Reaper, Apr 26, 2010.
What are some elements that I should use in describing a planet for a novel?
Depends, is it a utopia novel?
it should include:
- live forms, animal-type creatures? How do they look?
- environment (plants, is there water? if not, how can the living creatures survive?)
- culture (very important )
- is there food, light, water and air present in order to survive?
It's hard to describe an entire new environment, because if the lead character is someone from that planet he has no obvious reason to look around him and be amazed because he sees this every day. If you make an MC thats human it's only natural he's amazed by everything around him.
This might sound lame, but you could look at AVATAR and write down all the things you notice are different, then you fill it in for yourself..
lush environment, glowing plants, tall blue people
and you create your own world: rocky, charred environment, hardly any plants, thin red-skinned people.
This is just a way to help you get started, but if you have an idea you should just close your eyes and imagine you're in your world. What do you see? what do you smell?
I hope this helped you out a bit
Look at it through the eyes of your characters, given that that's how you'd be describing it when writing. Notice what they would notice, comment on what they would comment on.
Maybe you could write a short fictional piece in the vein of a travel writer, just focussing on whats happening on the planet, with all thoughts of your other story on the back burner. A few pages would give you plenty of material you could harvest later for your story, and might help you as an exercise to help your imagination get going too
I agree with all three above including radish (Lola). You should involve the basic 6 H's which are Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Also, I'm a man who thinks experimentation is key as well. Why not do what they do in the books. First open your mind to everything new, and go to a place where you never went before. Close your eyes, and as soon as you open it, mark everything you notice in your mind. Do you notice the where the shadows are or the tree's and/or so on...
And now getting back to the 6 W's or H's (I like H's) Who (what lives in the planet, are they green aliens or do they look similar to humans), What (What can be anything ranging from what got you there, and what makes this planet interesting), Where (where in the galaxy is it, Like It's between two moons or between Jupiter and Earth just isolated) When (When, like what can be anything like when will you land, or when was the planet created), Why (Why are you there, why are they there, this can go on forever) and How (How will you be landing there, are there landing docks, will you crash)
Physical things can be anything, let imagination roam.
My god. Read some Issac Asimov. I haven't any particular works to point out, but I know he's a particularly imaginative character when it comes to naming planets. I mean, I don't know if you've already read, but there you go.
Anyway, my idea would be to break down a language and use it's parts to construct a new word. The planet's style will depend on the language employed. Of course Asimov farts in my face by simply naming a clouded planet "There it is" or something like that. So I guess the lesson here is to name a planet how your group of characters would name a planet. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the people who created its name. And remember, like Satan, planets have many names.
Lifeforms are environmentally dependent, so, for example, on the moon a creature the size and weight of a man can fly using short wings. I've always been fascinated by that, men flying under their own power. Would be possible in that gravity. Other considerations are the thickness of the atmosphere. It's solar cycle, and whether it's a binary or trinity cluster. Space junk, other planets. I remember vividly a short story from the Homeworld computer game. It was very unique in describing the people of the planet. A religious uprising started after tensions from war. They built rockets for the very first time and wanted to go into space. A zealot actually burned himself under the first rocket. Can't stop progress. Anyway a satellite is knocked off course and starts taking images of this particular planet, and they find some huge metal carcass of something in what was their version of ancient Mesopotamia. It's a space ship. Surprise. Cool story bro.
I've been fascinated for some time by Lexx's interpretation of the planets Fire and Water. They orbit so close you can ride a balloon into the other planet. One is burned by the sun while the other is shaded and full of life. They go even deeper than that. Watch the episode if you want, it's got the creepy actor with the white spikey hair and the Hannibal Lecter voice, but it's not the guy who plays Hannibal Lecter, just the voice, really. Ok?
Final instruction: Think outside the box.
What about a planet that phases through time and only exists as visible energy?
What about a planet where birds can glide without flapping, and are propelled through the thick air like squids?
What about a planet where dogs flew spaceships, Aztecs invented the vacation, and their forefathers took drugs?
Describing a new planet(world) can be difficult, as each aspect of it must have some sort of purpose for being there. I'm not saying oh well the tree is this color for this reason. Actually what I mean os when you look at our own planet. We have trees and life because of the sun, therefore, is there a sun near the planet that would give it life? Or is it distant from the sun(or any sort of light source) that would make it a bare and desolant?
The best way to figure out what you want on your planet is to also look at our own, for they could give you a lot of insight about what to put on your own. However, that does not mean you have to think inside the box and stick to the more logical side of things. Be adventurous with it. If you want little green dudes running around using glowing bugs for lamps then by all means do so.
My only question is...
When you are creating the story, what parts of describing the planet matter and add to the story?
I am not sure I would spend too much time on the characteristics of your new planet. The planet, itself, is probably not the main character. Somebody or some thing is. The planet may facilitate the "thing" but I bet the characteristis will ,in the end, be secondary to what you write. Once you have your things doing things then you can fill in the gaps with what you need your planet to do. Stories, here on Earth, seldom have to do with the Earth. They have to do with the people, animals, or plants but not so much the Earth.
On the other hand if the planet, itself, is alive and eating other planets and having babies to eat more planets, that's a different matter altogether.
WOAH thx for the posts guys helped me alot
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