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  1. ciinddyyy

    ciinddyyy New Member

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    How do you imagine the afterworld?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ciinddyyy, Sep 18, 2019.

    I'm trying my hand at a short story in which the main character can travel between our world and the afterworld. He can talk to the dead (who live in the afterworld), and he eventually will meet the devil. But I am having trouble creating the afterworld. In my head, the afterworld mirrors the real world, only it is crumbled and destroyed and the dead just aimlessly walk around. But I feel like this is somewhat overdone. I can also see the afterworld as exactly the same, the dead go about their business (whatever that may be for dead people), but everything is dark, there is no sun, its constantly thundering and the dead look basically like zombies. I just want to know what you guys think, and if you have any advice.
     
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  2. Mish

    Mish Senior Member

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    I really think it is up to you. Your own imagination should create a setting most fitting for your story. I imagine afterword differently depending on the kind of story I am writing. For example, the comedy set in the afterword will depict it in a much different light than a horror story. The horror story will focus on the myriad torture devices that make it the eternal damnation, where as a comedy will probably describe it as some kind of a dysfunctional workplace, where demons go on strike due to bad working conditions.

    If you are really interested in the classic details then I recommend reading Dante Alighieri's "Divine comedy" (it goes to great lengths to describe the different circles of hell, their function and their look, there are no dead aimlessly walking around here, but rather various souls tortured endlessly via different torture devices) and John Milton's "Paradise Lost".
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I said I write, didn't say good. :P Supporter Contributor

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    Well I think it is based on your belief on the afterlife.
    Of if you don't, then you can make it all up the way
    you want it to be. There are no wrong or right answers
    to something that may or may not exist. :)
     
  4. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    My beliefs about the afterlife don't make for compelling literature so I usually base it all roughly around Christian dogma. A lot of references to Paradise Lost and Greek mythology for people to nerd over.
     
  5. LazyBear

    LazyBear Senior Member

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    Maybe the ancient Mayans were right and you're given the chance to escape death by playing the ball game, then fight with twin heroes to save the maise people (humans) against returning sea monsters. Less overdone than christianity and their creation myth is slightly closer to science because life started in the ocean, early humans exterminated many large predators (twin heroes) and they mentioned the missing links as mud and wood people.
     
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  6. SpokenSilence

    SpokenSilence Member

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    I'm an Atheist but since you've brought the topic I had some thoughts of it.
    Now whilst I honsetly don't believe there is an afterlife (you may believe whatever you like) I think it's interesting that the afterlife is nowadays usually seen as something bad. The first ideas of afterlife that came to my mind was Valhalla and the feast of Odin.
    (Edited in: and the little ideas of the more spiritual believe of Native American Culture that I know of)
    Does the afterlive automatically have to be "bad" in a story (generally speaking)?
     
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  7. meisenimverbis

    meisenimverbis Member

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    The ancient (Greek, Roman) thought it as some..(where/thing) place under the earth where people were (as I read it) piled together to be there stored for eternity. Some people went up to the heavens, where the nicer gods are. Apparently to the Romans (to Greeks I don't know) to have some sort of apotheosis you'd have to have a shrine and people to take care of it and the cult in this world. Actually, even the common dead people could come bother you if you woudn't take care of the fire of the house and the domestic sanctuaries of the ancestors...

    I'm not an atheist, I have been. Back then, I would write about death and stuff and use fantasy, and I wrote usually dark (not necessarily bad though) places, like twilight or night, with floating castles, winding stairs, some sort of passages to other (shiny, maybe "real"/material) places. Then I became a (sort of a) Christian, and deleted all that. Now I don't quite know what to imagine. I've been recently trying to figure something out for my literature, so as to deal with the matter of different gods and their interaction among themselves. I haven't as yet thought through where humans (souls/"breaths", so to speak (Latin spiritus, 'breath')) are supposed to be. According to the new testment parable it isn't much different than what the Romans and Greeks thought, places where people are stored, the difference is that now some people are in that dark place, and now it's a place of suffering, while others are justified in their lives and are somewhere else (not said whether dark or light, though I guess people tend to think it's a light place--as for me, I don't know), and this is a place without suffering, and that in both cases the waiting is not eternal, but until the day that this world as it is will come to an end, with the return of the anointed son of the god.

    I have no idea what sort of storage this is, but it seems a common idea both to Greeks/Romans and to Hebrews.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  8. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Active Member

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    Why does the afterlife have to be dark and depressing? You make it sound like Seattle! Is there suicide in your afterlife? I'm thinking people in the afterlife are hoping there is an AFTER, afterlife!

    Seriously, you should follow your instincts on this. It's been my experience that if people hate what you've written, they won't be shy about saying so. So please yourself first.
     
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  9. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Creature of Quarantine Contributor

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    I've written multiple short stories about the afterworld.
    In one of them, the "afterworld" is just a place where people just wander around and wait to be judged. there is a long line, and to pass the time, you can volunteer to be the spirits that guide the dead to the "waiting room".

    In another one, a guy dies. as soon as he closes his eyes in death, he opens them in another life.

    in yet another one of mine, the "afterlife" is just like how it is now, except, no one can see you.

    when I was younger and wrote "dark" poetry, there was no afterlife... just darkness.

    I find it interesting how my interpretations have evolved over time. I'm not a religious person, but I've been to catholic schools, and I like reading about different religions, so I think my interpretations were based on the things I've read. The poetry about the afterlife being dark and full of nothingness was before I was enrolled in catholic school and when I wasnt as open to learning about religion (or had teachers open to answering questions I had about religion)
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Active Member

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    You should try to find a 60's movie called Carnival of Souls. Low budget but very well made. I have it on a double disc with Night of the Living Dead on the other side, and I think it might be on netflix, not sure. One of my favorites.
     
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  11. Storysmith

    Storysmith Active Member

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    So make a different afterworld that hasn't been seen before. Maybe in the new one, everybody lives in the same households as when they lived, but are unable to leave their homes because they are bound there. So instead they spend their time surfing the net and watching Netflix. Maybe they don't even realise that they're dead yet, making up a story about a virus to justify why they never go out.
     
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  12. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    This is where imagination comes into it. Is the Afterlife all one world or is it split. A place for the bad guys and a place for the good guys. I like the idea of it mirroring ours with a comforting feel to it and a peacefulness. The spirits there did their time right? So it should feel a but Utopian and familiar and comforting. Like a fake mirroring with birds and streams and animals. I think if souls exist, why would only humans have them? We are animals as well or came from them. So just brain storm. Maybe look at imagines on Google. Read other books where this was done. Do spirits shares this world and interact or does everyone get their own personal afterlife to suit their ideal world? Maybe there's a place spirits can go to watched loved ones who are still alive.
     
  13. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Senior Member

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    One of the best fictional afterlife settings I've ever read was in the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. There are several levels of death and each one has a significance and a certain layer of "can I bring you back from here?" The way death worked in that realm is beautiful.

    Another good example is from the book Dead Boys by.... Someone who's name escapes me at the moment but his version of the afterlife is a giant trash heap and all corpses are trying to do is maintain their bodies by using the trash. It goes deeper than that, but the idea is there.

    My personal hope for an afterlife would ideally be where I can see those I love again, but if not that, then I'd really like to be able to walk on a beach at sunset forever. Not in a "likes long walks on the beach" type of way, but more a "this is where it all comes to in the end" type of way.
     
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  14. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Senior Member

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    My longtime fantasy of the beyond is a wide, sunny meadow. A line of trees in the middle-distance; maybe a brook with stepping-stones to cross. Pastoral.
    When I step outside, all my dogs come to meet me: they've formed a pack, initiating each new one as he or she died. The cats are probably up in the trees, and the people I'd like to see again are somewhere farther down the path. At first, it's just me and the happy dogs, romping in the grass.

    There was a very good heaven in a novel I loved - and forgot both author and title; don't you just hate that?? - where everybody got to live the afterlife they fashioned for themselves.
     
  15. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    That's so pretty @Oxymaroon - you made my heart skip.

    ...
     
  16. Viserion

    Viserion Active Member

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    Perhaps like the normal world, but grey and misty. People look like their inner self: if bad, then they are corrupted and ill-looking, but if good then they are youthful and heathy.
     
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  17. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Senior Member

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    Can they do something to change this, or is it forever the same?
     
  18. Viserion

    Viserion Active Member

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    If they really repent, and genuinely try to improve, yeah.
     
  19. Xoic

    Xoic Active Member

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    ^ That would depend on if the afterworld is a punishment/reward system or a chance at redemption.
     
  20. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    How would I picture it?

    As a Rothko. Infrasonic throb hums through my bones or whatever I have as analogue at that time. Indistinct, hazy, distant, hissing of water through sand.

    It's a remnant of what I knew in life, an echo of what used to make sense, though clearly I'm the one holding on to memory.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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  21. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Senior Member

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    That's just what I was wondering. If a situation like that is permanent, one's afterlife appearance would be a shaming or a luarel wreath upon arrival. But after a century or so, it's just a bore.
     
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  22. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Contributor

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    A couple ideas I like that may be of use:
    • Everyone gets the afterlife that they expect. If you expect the lake of fire, better bring a swimsuit. If you expect to be reincarnated, get ready, you're in for a ride.
    • The souls that wander this plain are just an echo of what once was. Whether this is truly the place we go when we die, or just some bizarre reflection -- we do not know.
     
  23. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have no 'belief' in the afterlife; I'm content to wait and see. We can speculate, but we can't know. And trying to 'know' beforehand wastes a lot of our actual life, I reckon.

    Being an essentially pragmatic person, I struggle with the 'reality' of afterlife, as it is so often portrayed. I mean, you go to heaven to be with the ones you love, for eternity, right? So who gets to decide who you're with? You're a lady who has had three husbands, all dearly loved? So who do you end up with? All three? That would be weird. Or maybe somebody loved you to distraction, but you didn't actually feel the same about them. So who gets the prize? You or him?

    Yeah, the practicalities get in the way for me. And if everything is on a higher, more rapturous plane and nobody resembles what they were before ...then what's the point? Small comfort, if the people you love will no longer be recognisably so.

    Nope. I'll just wait. And I won't count my chickens. Here and now is all we've reliably got.
     
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  24. martonHUN

    martonHUN New Member

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    I think it would be a space of bliss and serenity.
     
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  25. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In my story's Heaven, souls with minor sins have had them washed away and what's left is the best part of them.

    Sin is described as something like tooth decay, so souls with more serious corruption go to Hell, but what they endure is not punishment but a cleansing like a root canal.

    But there is no spiritual anesthetic, so it hurts. After that though, the good part of them is sent up to Heaven.

    The irredeemably evil still have some good left to them, but once the evil has been burned away there's little or nothing left of their personal souls. There is a beam of Glory shooting straight up from the bottom of Hell which is made of the remnants of what was still Good in the souls of the worst.

    The Throne of God is made from the purified remnants of the souls of the Damned.
     

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