1. Mightyheracross

    Mightyheracross New Member

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    I need some help getting started with a fantasy world...?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Mightyheracross, Dec 8, 2016.

    I'd like to write/draw some fiction using concepts of some of my favorite shows/worlds: Pokemon and Avatar (ATLA/LOK, not the blue aliens). I don't want to copy names or characters or storylines exactly, but I'd like to create a world that uses elements from both. Anyone have any ideas?

    For those unaware of either Pokemon or Avatar, here's a brief synopsis of both.
    - Pokemon- Basically you capture beasts/creatures who become your friends and fight by your side
    - Avatar- The intro to ATLA perfectly describes the show. The world is divided into 4 nations: Air Nomads, Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, and Fire Nation. Most members of each nation can bend, or control, their element (air, water, earth, and fire). The avatar can control all 4 elements and is tasked with maintaining balance among the 4 nations.

    Does anyone have any thought/storylines/characters on creating this fiction?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    The best part of writing is that YOU get to create it!

    I think using those two shows as your springboard might lead to some awesome creations. But no one can create it for you! Why don't you choose a place to start, maybe create a main character or a continent map, and see where the road takes you? You might be surprised what a notebook and 20 minutes can make.
     
  3. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    I'm with Infel, you need to create your own setting.

    We all steal inspiration from the work of others, but we shouldn't simply be rearranging furniture. And if I read one more fantasy story that employs the Air, Water, Earth, and Fire metaphor, I will go out of my bloody mind!
     
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  4. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Stealing in the writing community is basically shaking hands. Right guys?

    Guys?
     
  5. blklizard

    blklizard Member

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    My best advice on how to start is to put yourself in the shoes of the main character. If you were in either or both of the worlds of your inspiration, what would you have done differently? You might have wanted the story to go different because you didn't agree with the original authors. Now, add new characters and think of a different plot. You have your own world! Of course, presenting it properly is another challenge in itself.
     
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  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    @Mightyheracross Welcome to the site!

    So do you want to use the detail of Avatar (elements) in the manner of Pokemon (beast-tamers raising elementals), the details of Pokemon (creatures) in the manner of Avatar (some people are shapeshifters, there are maybe half a dozen most common forms and unknown numbers of more obscure ones), or something else entirely?

    Do you also have any plots and/or characters thought out yet?

    My UrFan won't use elemental magic despite it being cliche, my UrFan will use elemental magic because it's cliche ;)

    Magic isn't an exact science in my universe, rather a mage's expectations are about as important as the technical preparations. When my characters are shown The Masquerade, they're told that there are less-familiar schools of magic that they have the option of learning, and which even require less technical preparation than Elemental magic. However, they decide to start with Elemental magic because they are told that the stronger associations their brains have already formed through their enjoyment of fiction would make it easier for them to master such magic in the real world than it would be to master the schools with less technical prep-work.

    You would clearly not be able to master attempt Elemental magic in my universe even if your life depended on it :D because you have such a strong psychological aversion to the concept, but I'm fairly confident that I could learn it pretty quickly and that my strongest spells would be Water, second strongest would be Air.
     
  7. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    I'm going to go all "Dissection to spoil the fun" here on Pokemon. (At least, as far as the games go. Can't speak TOO much for the Anime outside of the first season, but since I'm talking in generalities, it's going to work anyways.)
    Pokemon works, because it relies on two very basic facts:
    No matter where you live in the world, chances are, people keep and love some kind of pet.
    No matter where you live in the world, fighting is cool.

    And... That's it. The second half is a more general things, because it's present in almost every video game and a huge number of anime and other shows: Action scenes are fun. Fighting is fun. But it's the first one that really makes Pokemon stand out.
    Pokemon is effectively taking the mythmaking present in many other stories and applying it to relationships with pets. Once you take out the fairly stock archetype characters and the specific details of the (admittedly great, some of the time,) monster designs, that's what it comes down to: A metaphor for pets, merged with a pretty good combat mechanic/pretty good combat animation, depending on the medium you're referring too. This is by no means a unique idea, the only difference is that Pokemon made it the complete, utter focus and central theme - Everything in the Pokemon universe revolves around it, so every story in the Pokemon universe hearkens back to 'Pets are awesome!' in some way, shape, or form. As a standalone story, though, this happens a lot - How to Train Your Dragon is basically Nordic Pokemon, for example, and there are tons of examples in fiction where an alien universe will make itself feel more 'Homey' to both the characters and audience by adding some kind of dog or cat analogue.



    The point that I'm not making very well here is that you can take themes and ideas from things that you like, but don't mistake window dressing for core elements. The core element of Pokemon is taking the common, shared experience of having a pet and using it to link audiences to what is happening in the story. Pokeballs, the specific species of Pokemon, even the idea of catching and fighting with them as a way to build some kind of bond, those are all ingredients (And important ones, sure,) that make up Pokemon, but they all just exist to support the core idea.

    I'm not as aware of Airbender, but from what I understand, it's similar there - A world in conflict, with different factions set against each other. Especially as a children's story, it's much easier to say 'These are three groups of people, they are separated by distinct differences that make it difficult for them to come together, but here's a different person who belongs to none of those groups and can help them understand their differences' than it is to go into the nuance and political scheming that creates actual opposing factions. (The complicated cluster that was WWI, for example, is hard to represent in a story, but the Fire, Water, and Earth nations? Easy.) It's worth pointing out that the basic setup of Avatar isn't dissimilar to that of a lot of Teen Dystopian fiction: Vampires VS Werewolves. The various groups in Divergent. The 13 Sectors and the Capitol in the Hunger Games. Posh, Scary, Sporty, Baby, and Ginger Spice.


    So... Yeah. Break down what core elements you like from the story. You want to take the architecture, not the wallpaper.
     
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  8. Safety Turtle

    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    What specific elements of those two shows do you like and/or would want to use in your own story?
     
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  9. tupbup

    tupbup Member

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    How about people who can bend their bodies into the shape of a specific type of animal, reptile, bird etc. One nation to each animal type and then explore how they would treat each other. Would the vastly populated insect nation be squashed by the bullish large mammal nation? Would the sea-mammal nation own the oceans?
     
  10. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributor Contributor

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    Why not just write a fanfic set in one of the two franchises you mentioned? People like to look down on it but honestly, I think if you just start writing you'll probably find that original ideas will come to you more easily. Plus you can work on the technical stuff, SPAG, plotting, pacing, characterization etc. that will help you out later.
     
  11. Bolu Kai

    Bolu Kai Member

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    Everyone has their own technique for developing a fantasy world. For me, I usually like to begin with a basic map which becomes more complex as the story world unfolds in my head. I like maps because it gives me points of reference. I am able to imagine where things are located and why they are located there. Think about Avatar for a second. Each nation is located in a region of the world where they can utilize their bending ability. With Pokémon, obviously the creatures themselves are located in certain areas whether it's water, grass, caves, forests, etc. In each world we see that here is a dependency on geographic location.

    Without knowing more about what elements you like about these two shows, I would recommend starting with @Safety Turtle 's advice. Once you know which elements you want to include it should be easier to develop a world. For example, an old project of mine, that is currently a new WIP, is based off The Elder Scrolls and The Lord of the Rings. I already know I want a fairly large map, multiple races, fantastical creatures, elements of magic, and rich lore, to name a few.


    Here are a few of the elements I remember from these two sources (I'm sure there is a whole bunch more):

    -Pokémon-

    • Show/game about friendship
    • Show/game about adventure
    • you want to be the very best/ competition / rivalry (Team Rocket, and other teams)
    • gotta catch em' all
    • overcoming obstacles
    • catching creatures and bonding with them
    • I would say this is a world-driven story. I mean, without Pokémon, the world would be kind of dull, right?
    -Avatar-

    • A war-torn world divided, it's almost like a twist on racism. Instead of race/skin color it's your ability to bend specific elements.
    • one nation, which is now all gone except for one, can settle the dispute
    • friendship
    • drama (there was a lot of drama, especially with the fire nation prince.
    • character development
    • I would say this is a story- or character-driven series

    I think you should make a list of the elements you enjoy and see what you can create based on those elements.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
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  12. Jaiden

    Jaiden Member

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    What. A. Post.

    Probably ruined Pokemon games for me, but right now I don't care! Phenomenal breakdown of how to take a core construct and build around it until you have something that lives and breaths that initial formulation. Brilliant.
     
  13. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    If dissecting an idea doesn't make it more fun, then it wasn't really fun in the first place :cool:
     
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  14. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty darn good at breaking down and analyzing what makes popular fiction work.
    If I could just use my powers to analyze my own writing, I'd be golden.
     
  15. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

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    You could collaborate instead of writing solo...?
     
  16. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    Have you read Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series?

    It's literally inspired by Pokémon, in the sense that he wrote the first book as a result of a bet, where he was challenged to write a book based on Pokémon and the Lost Roman Legion.

    It might be worth a read for you, to see how he handles the various elements in play here - you naturally can't just straight-up steal the concept of Pokémon (unless you're Digimon, obviously), but you can work out what the essential elements you want are, and recombine them in a new and unique way. This might give you a bit of insight into how that might work.
     
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  17. BBCotaku

    BBCotaku Member

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    I'm going to leave some advice from the wonderfully talented Matthew Mercer.

    Start small, don't feel like you have to start a huge world right off the bat. Start with a town, city or village where the main story takes place and branch out. Ask yourself questions:

    "What type of people live here?"
    "What's the weather like?"
    "What time period does it take place?"

    Etc.

    Keep expanding, but make sure to only use information useful to the reader in your story. Keep some information to yourself, who knows it might be useful later.
     
  18. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    I am curious in which way you are referring when you say yes those elements as metaphor.
     
  19. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Writers tend to use them as metaphors for human emotion (among other things), they are at once in balance and at odds with each other. It's just been done so much that I don't see it as being very innovative when they get dragged out again and employed as a central theme of a story.
     
  20. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    What if some characters use it as metaphors in-universe, but other characters don't?

    "I personally use magic based on 'water=tranquility, fire=passion, earth=focus, air=flexibility.' There are schools of magic that aren't based on the Classic elements to begin with, and even some of the Elemental schools don't base it around the emotions like this one does, but I want to do this kind of magic in real life simply because I love the trope so much when it's used in fiction."
     
  21. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    See also Kelly McCullough's Fallen Blade series. All mages in the world have familiars and magic is semi-elemental (shadow, storm, air, and light).
     

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