1. Meteor

    Meteor Active Member

    Aug 6, 2012
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    Description, detail and architecture help

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Meteor, Feb 8, 2013.

    Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to read this thread and thank you again to all those who post helpful comments. I apologize in advance if I've posted this in the wrong place as well. Please let me know if I have and I'll move it to the appropriate location.

    Its been awhile since I've been on and now I'm getting back into the swing of things, but I'm sort of in a tight spot. My recent science fiction story really isn't coming together like I thought it would. My biggest problem is describing the setting itself, particularly cities. Its a semi-post apocalyptic world, but the cities are more like colonies now. It also takes place well in the future and none of them are exactly lacking technology except a certain few. I've tried to use visual images for a foundation of what I'm trying to describe, but it just isn't coming together. I feel like I'm going to into the detail of the buildings or not enough, let alone describing the actions going on around the cities when I start off the scene. Anyone have any advice? I'm willing to post a sample if that helps.

    Thanks again for your time and posts.
  2. Jonathan Wiley

    Jonathan Wiley New Member

    Feb 8, 2013
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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I think posting a sample would help greatly!

    Some basic rules to keep in mind when describing physical locations. Remember to show and not tell. While the occasional "info dump" may be necessary, its always better to show it through your characters.

    For instance, you could say:

    "At the center of the colony stood the Pinnacle. It was the headquarters for the city police, and it had a single bright light atop the tower that was activated whenever large sections of the city started to riot. It reminded citizens that Pinnacle could see you at all times."

    This is very tellish, and can start to bog down the reader.

    "Jarack awoke, the sun bleeding through his eyelids. He rolled over, his limbs heavy from exhaustion. Had the night come and gone so quickly? He kicked off his blankets, expecting to feel the warmth of the sun on his skin. It was cold. He cracked an eye, a blurry image of his window forming. So the Pinnacle had activated its terrorism light. He hated that light. Bright enough to wake him from his sleep, but it felt cold and oppressive. A shiver went down his spine, and he couldn't tell if it was temperature, or the uneasy feeling created knowing you were always watched."

    You can describe the city, and your character at the same time through your characters senses. Touch, smell, taste, sight.

    Also remember that you dont need to describe as much as you think you do. Only focus on whats relevant to the story, things you need to foreshadow, and what your character needs to interact with.

    Cheers, hope this helped a bit
  3. Xatron

    Xatron New Member

    Jan 30, 2013
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    Posting a sample would indeed be ideal if you want us to help you more accurately. One of the stories i am currently writing has a very similar setting (even has a building named pinnacle if you can believe it, although it is a research center) and what i did to solidify the setting in my head was collect images of buildings i thought resembled the ones i would need for my background and then print them and pin them on my wall very closely. That way whenever i looked up i would see glimpses of my city until they were burned in my mind and i could mold them however i wanted.

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