1. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    How do you describe a 9th century village or camp?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Jared-Johannson, Mar 22, 2018.

    The main protagonist has been kidnapped and put unto a Viking Longship and is being taken to his main camp, how would I describe it? The people, homes, farms.
     
  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Try three sentences of description with sparse adjectives that say something about the style and technology, then a sentence of exposition and feeling, then a placement of the character, followed by a final line of description.

    ;)
     
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  3. awkwarddragon

    awkwarddragon Member

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    Have you done research regarding this topic? I find it helps to learn - especially a historical subject - beforehand. That way, it isn't difficult to describe to one's audience in how the village looks, works, etc. As @John Calligan stated, flavor the research with sparse adjectives but ensure the reader feels like they're there in the village with the character. My two cents.
     
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  4. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    Thank you, could you create an example?
     
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  5. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I’d recommend grabbing a published adventure book and look for a paragraph of scene setting. You don’t want my unpublished rubbish.
     
  6. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    Any help would be amazing, I wouldn't call you're stuff rubish XD
     
  7. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    Okay, :)
     
  8. Indigo Abbie

    Indigo Abbie Member

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    I found that if I need inspiration, I can search for historically accurate pictures or drawings of whatever I'm basing my town's architecture from. For instance, I found that there are a ton of Colonial building styles that depended upon the colonist's nationality or time period. Each had things I liked and gave me ideas to help build my world. Pictures help me better visualize or create a certain mood for me to really envision things I need to describe. I know nothing about the subject, but I'm sure you can find historically accurate representations of Viking Longships. Maybe I'll search for one just to see if I can get enough of an idea from it to write a three sentence description myself.

    Another thing is reading. Even without pictures, reading about the culture and history of a topic can be eye opening.
     
  9. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    What POV are you using?

    The general rule for close POV (first or close third) is to describe what your POV character would be noticing. If your POV character is a Viking himself, he probably wouldn't pay too much attention to the familiar details but would focus on whatever was strange. If he's not a Viking, again, he'd notice the things that were different from what he's used to, ignore the things that are the same.

    If you're writing from a more distant POV, I'd suggest picking a few details that will give the flavour of the scene but not letting yourself get bogged down in the minutiae. You need to keep the momentum of the story going, and taking a break to describe every detail of a scene is unlikely to help you with that.
     
  10. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    I would also say it has a lot to do with the tone of the book and also the particular scene.

    I assume that if he was taken captive then he'd probably be quite fearful especially given the reputation the "Northmen" had at that time.

    For example

    Dave was immediately hit by the stench of gottsgardt. It smelt like despair, with slight undertones of shit and piss. He was not going to leave this place -- alive.
     
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  11. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I'm assuming you've done your research on what a 9th century Viking village would look like. (Plenty of these kinds of things online.) If you have, then I'd follow the advice given by @BayView just above. You're in a character's head. Portray the scenery as he would experience it. And include things like weather ...is it raining, snowing? Is he plodding through mud? What are the sounds of the village like? Are the voices speaking a language he understands, or is it all just babble to him? If so, how does the babble strike him? Is somebody screaming or shouting? Somebody speaking softly, but with a menacing expression? Or somebody speaking softly but maybe is trying to be kind? What state of mind is your POV character experiencing? Fear? Terror? Interest? Pain? Grief? Resignation? All these things will influence what he notices and how the setting affects him.

    Standing apart from the action and describing a scene as if it's a map or photo is not really the best way to convey atmosphere. It's atmosphere that will grab a reader's attention and hold it for the duration of the scene.
     
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  12. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    John Calligan said:
    Try three sentences of description with sparse adjectives that say something about the style and technology, then a sentence of exposition and feeling, then a placement of the character, followed by a final line of description.

    ;)
    I'll do your homework @Jared, you are very naughty.

    There was a longhouse with a thatched roof. Swords were piled against the end of the longhouse. Also a table with a jug on top of it was outside the longhouse. I felt thirsty, next to the longhouse, and would look great with a sword in my hand.
     
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  13. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    :)

    Thanks. I'm on chapter three now so yeet.
     
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  14. Jared-Johannson

    Jared-Johannson New Member

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    Thank you! This helps a lot, I have done research on the 9th century, so I know what type of buildings are in the village but this helps with the other stuff.
     
  15. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    It also helps to become familiar with the geography. Google earth is a good place to begin. Choose the location, then follow your character's journey. Look around. Refer - briefly, confidently, as if this were your actual surroundings - to some colour or vegetation or type of terrain you see.
     
  16. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    It vas Enrika Fjotd and de rock sparkle wig de snow. Later ve visitate Thor valllee, today know as Kiruna throughout worlds, the snow vas so white here as vell.
     
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