1. PlaidCat27

    PlaidCat27 New Member

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    I feel like my world is more interesting than its story?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by PlaidCat27, Jul 23, 2018.

    I was building a world for an already-established story line that I had in my head, and now that world is almost done. The problem is, at this point, I feel like my world is more interesting than the story for which it was built. The story is supposed to be king of slow-moving and character-driven - about the building of relationships between characters and each character’s internal arc. It’s a good plot, but it’s just overpowered by its original sci-fi backdrop. I could, in theory, set the story in a different world, but the genre does need to be at least a little bit sci-fi for it to work. Does anyone have ideas on how to either water down the world or make the story fit into it?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    What is it that makes the world too exciting?
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Need more details. This seems a strange problem, to me.
     
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  4. PlaidCat27

    PlaidCat27 New Member

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    There’s a backstory on one of the communities/factions that is needed to explain why it’s there, but it generally hints at a past conflict between two species that, at least to me, is more interesting than the character-driven story line. Does that make sense?

    The backstory just opens up a lot of questions and doors. It needs to be there for exposition’s sake, but I’m worried that it distracts from the main point.
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    So you sort of have a Chekov's gun that will never be fired?
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I can see a reader feeling cheated if you set something up but don't deliver on it. If the backstory is important to the plot, then I think it can still be used to generate interest in the story--character, conflict, or what have you.

    I wonder, though, whether you're writing the right story. I think the story you have planned could certainly be done well, but if you as the writer find your interest in it waning in favor of a story focused on the background or history of the world, your lack of enthusiasm might come across in the story and leave the reader wishing for the same thing.
     
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  7. PlaidCat27

    PlaidCat27 New Member

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    I see that. I have fleshed-out characters who could easily make sense in the context of this “chekov’s gun”, so to speak. I’m used to writing more emotionally-charged, character-driven works, so the prospect of following up on this backstory and writing a more plot-driven, action-packed story is kind of a daunting task for me - but I’m willing to play around with it. I suppose that I just need to mess around with different ideas, maybe try incorporating both general concepts into one story. It could be done, I just need time.

    Thank you both for your help. I’ll return to this thread or post a new one if something comes up, but for now, I think the only thing I can really do is work with my world and with my characters. Thanks again!
     
  8. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I get this. I've been building a sci-fi 'verse for ... lord, over a decade now, actually, and there's a lot of detail I've put into it that isn't really relevant to what was originally the main plot. I dealt with this by finding other stories to set in the universe, and explore the parts of it that I was interested in fleshing out beyond their impact on the original story. That way no one plot gets bogged down by background stuff that really only needs to be briefly explained for it to make sense.
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I presume, if your story is character-driven, the characters are at least human or fairly human? If so ...then I agree with @Steerpike 's suggestion that you might not be writing the right story for the sumptuous world you've created.

    Why not think of an exciting storyline that could take place in OUR world here and now? Use all the story-building tools you can think of ...play what if games, swap genders, build characters around people you know.

    Throw people who don't like each other into a mutual situation that forces them to work together ...either building a better relationship at the end, or creating resentment and dislike that will never go away.

    Do all the things you can to build conflict into a story that matters. Both on a personal level and also on a wider scale. Somebody is fighting against something that is bound to wreck lives if they don't succeed? Something like that. Make the stakes high.

    Make the story's resolution difficult and unpredictible. Give your characters problems they can't actually solve, but must learn to cope with in order to grow. Give them personality issues to deal with, both in themselves and in their relationships with others.

    Family can be a source of great power (personal and political) and public influence. It can mean love—unconditional love and support, which makes any loss of a family member nearly unbearable. Family can also mean indifference or active opposition from key family members (parents, children, siblings) ...made more intense by the fact that 'family' isn't supposed to be like that. And etc. Push your characters. Resist the urge to make anything too easy for them.

    Then. Transfer that basic storyline to your new world, and work it in?

    I suspect that's what makes the best Fantasies work. We already recognise these character types and situations. An exotic setting doesn't change the basic nature of the situation, which is an essentially human story played out someplace that's not earth as we know it. The exotic setting doesn't change the progression of the story, but it does add a lot of novelty and interest for the reader.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  10. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    I don't think too much world-building can be bad. Maybe if there is an actual active conflict happening in the background, but if it's just tension it could just make it seem more realistic. If you look into any novels and/or movies with major fan bases (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), you'll find tons of a built world that is never even mentioned in the story.
     
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  11. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Active Member

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    I recognize this problem. I know that solution for me was to stop sinking to much time into world developing outside of what the story needed. It felt rotten to begin with but I felt that I started to focus on my story and characters as opposed to their setting as I went on.

    Or it could be that perhaps you would try your hand at an RPG setting as opposed to a traditional story?
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Honestly, it might be the whole way you're approaching this that's tripping you up. Trying to put each part of a story such as plot, character and setting, is going to probably produce less cohesive results than if they were developed simultaneously. I actually think what you're doing is much harder. You're creating each puzzle piece and then seeing if they go together, but you don't really know what the puzzle is supposed to look like. Something like that. I don't think I could do it your way. I also have never had a problem like the one you're having. It might be worth reevaluating your approach.
     
  13. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

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    Fascinating topic, something I haven't really thought of personally, till now. LOL. I too have developed my own world for my stories to take place, over two dedicates and some years. It's really within this last year and working on my WIP that I have gone full throttle with my lore, which was sadly lacking, till now.

    As for your question, it is really hard to say without reading some of your work, if you would allow it, I could give my reaction or thoughts.

    I would say to find a way to wrap it up, or a way to have a quick explanation. again it is hard to say without reading your material, maybe it raises questions for you since it's your world, where others may go, "Oh, that's cool," and read on.


    As a side note:

    What I am finding interesting is this Chekhov's gun, which of course I think of Lt. Chekhov from Star Trek, but no... it's not that, LOL. As someone who isn't "trained" to write, and most of my learning came from just writing, writing and writing. I always say I am glad not have that training. I don' t know if I fully agree with Chekhov's gun, but it maybe a misunderstanding of it form my part. But when I do the sort of check-off, as it were, I find that in my own stories most elements I used do come into play later, so I may have been doing it on my own, the term I like is "Don't screw with my readers," . Most Important elements do come into play later, and there is one scene that I realized I was screwing with readers, so I was able to bring some of those elements into play sooner into play to say "OH yeah, this is a thing, you might be seeing more of it later".

    I don't necessarily agree that every element needs to serve a purpose, but thin again that maybe a misunderstanding on my part, or I may be over thinking it and adding in stuff that doesn't apply.

    Even though I do spend some time world building (outside of the story), I feel this is something I do without realizing it. Which is why I think I am misunderstanding Chekhov's gun. I would have to go back through on a re-edit to make sure but I feel most of the important things have a set up and execution, though maybe more later than just a couple chapters later.

    This is something I fully agree with, which is part of what makes me disagree with Chekhov's game... I personally enjoy the little bits of world building in books, movies and games. It's what makes exploration fun.
     
  14. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    The whole "Chekov's gun" debate makes me want to write a time travel story just so at some point the MCs can see Anton Chekov walking around with a revolver and then it never gets mentioned again.
     
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  15. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

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    So, if I have an MC from another story make a Cameo in my Current WIP for a single chapter and we never see him again in the story, does that violate Chekov's gun? if so I am cool with this. LOL.

    I need a fictional company called Chekov Firearms, and people keep referencing Chekov Guns. Lead, Energy or Plasma we got your fix, IN fact I bet I could put that in. LOL.
     

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