1. The Question Asker

    The Question Asker New Member

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    Is this Setting bland?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by The Question Asker, Oct 31, 2016.

    I have a "novel" in the works. I am currently planning out the world first. It is based off of my hometown, set in the year 2060. It has elements of Science Fiction, Mystery, and a wee bit of Romance. Also has quite a bit of politics involved in it. Let me show you what I have written down. Any and every suggestion is welcome.

    " Founded in the year 2060, The Democracy of New Millington of Earth, A.K.A, New Millington, has exploded into a huge mini-country from Tennessee. It has its own laws, collects its own taxes from its citizens, and has its own President. It is divided into two halves, due to its ginormous size; North Millington and South Millington.

    North Millington is Democratic. (Democrats) They are in favor of larger government, more foreign aid, and more welfare benefits. They have begun a downward spiral into socialism, but the media is in denial of it. There is one man who has loads of dirt on the Democratic party, and Matt Jones is the one who has to save him from being assassinated.

    South Millington is Republican. (Republicans) For many years, especially after the birth of New Millington, they have promoted hard-work, discipline, and smaller government. They have taken numerous people off of welfare, since they believe that welfare is only for the very poor. (I.E. People who actually need it.) Due to this, riots have broken out in the streets of South Millington.
    "

    Both the North and South side have their own local council to help run things. (In other words, take a little load off of the president's back.)

    "Each side has its own local council of about fourteen council members; seven male, seven female. Three Caucasian men, three African-American men, and one other man from any other foreign country. (I.E. Mexico, Germany, Australia, etc.)

    As for the women, their side consists of three Caucasian women, three African-American women, and one other woman from any foreign country (I.E Mexico, Germany, Australia, etc.) "

    Now for the MC, Matt C. Jones.

    "Matt C. Jones aspired to be a politician. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in Politics & International relations. He got a job as a Local Government Officer. He was then assigned to the local council in South Millington. "

    This is what I have for the plot, or else all this info for the setting would be worthless.

    "He enjoys a good run on the local council of South Millington until news reports talk of the current president of New Millington mysteriously resigning. After some goading from his fellow council men and women, Matt decides to run for president of the entire New Millington mini-country. He wins the South Millington presidential nominee. And as for the North Millington nominee, it is a French Lady by the name of Clementine Roux.

    On his walk home, Matt sees a man running past him. Curious, he decides to investigate. The man runs into a dark ally, where two gunman stop him. Matt pulls out his sidearm, and dispatches the two gunmen. The man introduces himself as Shamrock Peton; he tells Matt that he has loads of dirt on the North Millington Democrats. Political corruption, police corruption, and organized crime. Shamrock says to Matt that he is being hunted by several hitmen.

    Matt Jones decides to help Peton, and protect him.
    "

    And this is where my Questions come in.

    Concerning the local councils for each side, is the make-up fair? Like, should there be more men and women? Less? Add more diverse races? That is the main thing I am wondering.

    Is this setting too bland? Needs more action? Would it be interesting to most readers?

    Could one President run both sides of New Millington? Would he need a Vice-President?


    Any questions regarding this world I am building I will gladly answer.





     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The plot seems to clearly be a sort of fable intended to communicate how very, very bad Democrats and liberals are. There's nothing subtle about that goal, and it doesn't seem that you want any nuances or shades of grey. So I'm not sure if a goal of realism, or concerns about things like fairness, will really serve your purpose here.
     
  3. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    Personally, I'd immediately stop reading any fiction that featured the words "Democrat" and/or "Republican." Lots of reasons why, but you can negate them all by simply calling your two political parties something else, something that doesn't even hint that they're the Democrats and Republicans. Look at the history of political parties, the variety in of names is pretty large (Whigs, Bull Moose, for example).

    That way you can get rid of any preconceptions or biases the reader has, and get your idea before people like me who are tired of politics and preaching.
     
  4. The Question Asker

    The Question Asker New Member

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    What do you mean?
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Uh...did you read your post? You don't see that it's wildly anti-Democrat and pro-Republican?
     
  6. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    As stated above, it sounds like Ayn Rand fanfic. That aside, I'm having serious problems with the size. It's a town in Tennessee that is a "ginormous mini-country". How big is ginormous, and what the heck is a mini-country? If it's got a city council that's composed of only 14 members in total, I'd have serious problems with it being over, oh, say a hundred thousand people, and unless the world has really and truly changed, a 100k "nation" is just an appetizer unless it has very powerful friends or occupies absolutely useless territory.

    Having equal African-American and Caucasian representation on the city council tells us something about the demographics, I wonder if this is established by law, and if so, what that does when there's a disparity in the population. Also, (since my wife is Asian), do the other races just have to suck it up?

    Finally, why would any state require foreign representation in its government? How are the foreign reps chosen? Is there any concern that they'll show some sort of racial loyalty and side with whichever group on the council has a melanin count that most closely matches theirs?

    I wouldn't say it's bland, but as initially described, it's got some serious issues.
     
  7. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I'm a "Republican" (yikes, don't crucify me - I promise I'm educated) and I still wouldn't want to read a book like this. Politics are all well in and good in reality, but I'd have a hard time swallowing fiction as heavy-handed propoganda as this seems slated to be. Maybe there is a market for it. I wouldn't know.

    Like others, I suggest changing the names from Republican and Democrat to something fictional and your own. The similarities to real world might be obvious enough for people to figure it out, but at least you wouldn't spark immediate reader bias with the real party names. I'm also confused by "mini-country." There are very small countries already and I don't think any of them call themselves "mini." If you're going to establish that a country formed in the middle of Tennessee, just go ahead and call it a small country. And be prepared to explain how this was allowed to happen, since the whole country went to war over the southern states trying to secede. I know Texas has written into their state constitution that they reserve the right to secede, but I still think if they ever tried it, the troops would be deployed to preserve the union. I have a hard time understanding how a country could pop up in the middle of the USA without serious strife accompanying it.

    The setting seems to suggest a much, much, much bigger story than one man trying to protect another who has damaging information. If you want that to be the focus, I suggest going a step further with your world creation here and putting it in an altogether fictional place. Not the US, not Tennessee, not Republicans and Democrats. Doesn't have to be on another planet, you don't need to take this sci-fi, but I think you could be vague about where exactly it is and call the parties something else. Then your plot might be a bit more exciting.

    If you want a council more fairly representatives of the demographics of the USA, you'd need Latinos, Asians, and Polynesians represented as well. The country is much more diverse than just caucasian and african-american. There are significant populations of other ethnicities. Being Latin-American myself, I find it annoying when people talk about race issues as if it were only between "blacks and whites."
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  8. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    "They have begun a downward spiral into socialism"

    Well gee, I wonder if this is going to be a fair and unbiased piece.
     
  9. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    My thoughts exactly.

    If I were to pick up a book and read a blurb similar to what you've written here, I'd drop it like a hot sack of shit. My party beliefs aside, I haven't turned my TV on in weeks because I'm sick and tired of hearing about "democrats this" and "republicans that".

    And I'd be willing to bet I'm not in the minority sick of hearing about it. Not trying to be an asshole, but I'd rather read Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey.
     
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  10. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    It's just the assumption that anyone who doesn't think 'profiteering from people getting sick and needing medical help' is just the best thing in the world, must automatically be a Stalinist black-bagger who makes political rivals disappear.

    That kind of nonsense only rings true if you're Glenn Beck.

    Particularly since in reality, most of the rest of the world would still regard the Democrats as being pretty far to the political right.
     
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  11. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's spectacularly polemic going off of what you've given so far. It reminds me of Elysium in how on the nose and ham-fisted the messages are, whether I agree with the messages in that film or not. It's about the presentation, not my agreement. The messages in Elysium run contrary to those being put forth in your OP.

    "They have begun a downward spiral into socialism..."

    I'm an American too, so trust me when I say that I have received the same indoctrination as you in regards this, but this word, socialism, only in America does it have the shock value it has to you. Some of the nicest countries you can imagine to visit are social democracies, which to an American POV, are socialist. Seriously, the nicest places you can imagine.

    So, is it bland? No. It's unmitigatedly charged and inflammatory. Disciples of Ayn Rand will swipe it off the shelves before the ink is even dry.

    ETA: Like the respondents before me, as soon as I see that you actually call them Democrats and Republican, I'm tapping out. After this past year, asking me to engage such a story is like asking me for sex after a 10 hour fap session. Give your parties other names.
     
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  12. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Sorry, I am a conservative, I prefer that to republican. Most people become more conservative as they age, some credit that to wisdom and experience, my daughter thinks it is senility. No matter: what you presented is way too thin and stereotyped, too black and white.

    Had an interesting discussion with my daughter, who still claims to be a liberal (though she too is aging into conservatism but can't admit it) and we decided that liberalism is primarily an urban phenomenon, because cities need resources from the self-sufficient hinterland to exist, and a government strong enough to extract them. Conservatism is a rural phenomenon aimed at keeping more of their resources for themselves. This has been true for as long as cities have existed. Take a look at any of the famous blue/red maps, especially ones that go to the county level, to see how true this is.

    Things used to be in much better balance in this country, because the urban areas and rural areas existed symbiotically, the cities producing goods and services the rural areas needed, in exchange for the rural resources. However, US cities have become increasingly parasitic, and both liberals and conservatives now view each other with fear, as a threat to each other's very existence, rather than as people with different ideas/priorities.

    Put some serious thought into your scenario and avoid simplistic stereotypes.
     
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  13. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    An interesting perspective, but I'd like to offer a different viewpoint to this (since I'm studying a PhD in it and all):

    1) The idea that people "age into conservatism" is an interesting one, that has several explanations beyond "increased wisdom and experience". For instance, the fact that older people tend to have better jobs that pay more, so are less reliant on social safety nets, and much more concerned with taxation levels. Also the fact that for many, as you age you move away from places where people from different backgrounds are forced together (e.g. education and crappy entry-level jobs) and towards more homogeneous settings (a middle-class, white collar job and a neighbourhood full of other people with middle-class white collar jobs, for instance) - leading to the ability to empathise with people in different situations beginning to fade.

    Additionally, without this constant contact, shifting realities don't necessarily replace existing assumptions and experiences. People who haven't been on the bottom rung of the jobs market in forty years are basing all of their assumptions on their own, wildly outdated, experience, rather than the reality as it currently stands. Ditto experience of how much work and money go to a college education, or to the realistic expectations of home ownership and lifestyle. Not to mention shifts like a technological one, where relatively cheap modern necessities (smartphones, as the big example) still seem like wildly expensive luxuries to those who remember them being that way, before shifts in the way society operates made them indispensable.

    One example that might illustrate this is the feminist author Germaine Greer. For decades she has been considered extremely liberal, writing numerous books and papers on feminism and women's issues. In recent years, she has come under fire from liberal quarters for her stance suggesting that transgender women are not real women. Her stance has not changed, but what constitutes a liberal or conservative view has shifted in the intervening years, meaning that she no longer looks as liberal as she once did.


    2) The idea that cities and rural communities are at odds with one another other is an interesting one, and one that does go quite far back - but to suggest that all cities are are parasites on rural communities that don't have their own place is frankly oversimplistic. I assume you own a computer with software and so on that were developed by necessities in cities, by large teams of people using expensive necessarily centralised equipment. Ditto your television and the programming on it, and the majority of the medical technologies, therapies and drug research that you take for granted requires similar concentrations of labour, resources and infrastructure.

    Yes, cities import their food and raw materials from rural communities (but again, this is increasingly massive agricultural corporations like Monsanto, rather than the increasingly outdated idea of a family farm selling their produce to local markets) - but small rural communities haven't each spontaneously invented and built new technology of their own. They haven't each grown the cotton and woven the fabric and made the clothes that they wear, or created the tools and machinery they rely upon from scratch. Those are things that have come, by necessity, from cities and city infrastructure.

    One interesting aspect of the difference between rural and urban stances on the liberal/conservative debate again comes from the homogeneous nature of most rural communities when compared to urban ones. Cities tend to be much more diverse, representing many different ethnicities, religions, nationalities, cultures, etc. etc. so that when a horror story appears in the media that a buddhist eats babies (for instance), people in cities are much more likely to know a buddhist or two and be aware that there's nothing about the two things that are connected. In a rural area where the vast majority are white Christians of the same denomination, this isn't necessarily the case.


    But yes, the fact that people in different areas (and of different ages) have different priorities is the main thing here. One interesting example here is the stance on slavery in the years leading up the the American Civil War. The North didn't have a stance generally against slavery because they were more liberal, or more enlightened, or whatever - it was simply because many in the industrialised north were factory workers afraid of losing their only source of income to slave labour, while many in the rural south were farm owners afraid of losing their workforce due to anti-slavery laws. It's a simple matter of different priorities affecting different areas.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I'm aging into increased liberalism. I'm curious as to whether people really age into conservatism, or if it's more a matter of each generation's experience. Not that the entire generation has a common experience, but they do progress through the same economy, the same political events, the same social movement, and so on.

    Or maybe it's just me having an odd set of experiences. I grew up in a socially middle-class family with a father who had a professional job that should have been high-paying. But our family was often short on money, because my parents were dysfunctional in many elements of basic life management, and because my father dealt badly with his work relationships and got fired a lot. I grew up thinking that juggling the bills to decide which ones could be paid how late, was normal--was in fact wise money management. And when my father had to sell a valuable possession to make the rent, that seemed perfectly normal to me--Dad was out of work, after all, so of course there was no money. It never occurred to me that another family would have savings, that everyone's money didn't just flow in and out without stopping. Edited to add: Or that my mother could get a job even if she didn't wanna.

    So I had all the social privileges of being white middle class, but the knowledge that financial security was easy to lose. And, I grew up in a time when kids with no money but good grades could get student loans, no issue, no doubt, just fill out the form and the tuition money flowed, enough for any college that would accept you--as long as you worked a little token work study. And those loans got me a good education, which got me a good-paying job, which gave me a level of financial security that my parent never had. I got lucky, so lucky.

    I'm middle-aged and fairly secure, but I'm extremely aware of all the things that could have prevented that, and all the ways that I could lose that. So I WANT the government to tax me of a much bigger chunk of that nice secure income, so that if I get sick I can still get health care without losing my home and my savings, so that kids can go to college and get good jobs that will pay my Social Security later on, so that I won't spend my old age in the poverty and racism-fueled revolution that I fear that we're setting ourselves up for. Edited to add: Speaking of the country versus the city, I want the government to tax me so that young farmers can afford to buy farms and grow safe food that didn't come from Monsanto. Let's start granting free land to farmers that are doing good wholesome things.

    Taking care of everybody takes care of everybody. Unless something happens that means that I have several million dollars in savings, I am part of everybody. So I can say that I'm liberal out of goodness and empathy, but even if I were totally selfish, I'd still be a liberal.
     
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  15. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    You think the government will do good things with your money? How naive.
    The ultimate purpose of tax revenues in the modern "democracy" is buying votes. Everything else is a means to that end.
     
  16. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Then you have a bad government.
     
  17. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    You are correct. Government is a necessary evil, so it's always bad. Just not as bad as not having government.
     
  18. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    :stop:

    This thread is straying well past the original intention of the OP. Given the heated nature of this particular subject I am going to ask that whatever answer any of you give, please attempt to address it back to the original questions asked by the OP.
     
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  19. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    No, I mean that the government that does it is bad. When politicians care more about money than people, that is when there is an issue.
     
  20. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ok. One more time....

    :stop:

    This thread is straying well past the original intention of the OP. Given the heated nature of this particular subject I am going to ask that whatever answer any of you give, please attempt to address it back to the original questions asked by the OP.
     
  21. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Sorry. You posted the first warning while I was writing the post beneath it.
     
  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Oops. Missed the...anyway, missed it. Deleting.
     
  23. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Here's the deal @The Question Asker, as you can see from the way this thread became quickly derailed, choosing to use the words "democrat" or "republican" in your story is divisive. It's flat out irritating for some.

    THEN when you have a bias (be it subconscious or conscious), you've automatically turned off X number of readers. If you went through with this as is, all of the Ayn Rand fans would eat it up. All of the Ayn Rand detractors would scoff.

    So that means that there is a certain risk in using those two words. If you are willing to accept that risk, go for it. Write whatever you want. Just be sure you know the risks and advantages. No matter what you do, some people will love it and some won't. That doesn't change no matter what you write.

    If it were me, in this particular scenario, the juice would NOT be worth the squeeze. I would, instead, push myself to say what I needed to say without being as clearly overt about the whole thing. But that is my purely SUBJECTIVE opinion so take it for what it's worth.
     
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  24. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Yes. Or, reversed, the OP could just abandon the idea of fiction altogether, and write essays about his political opinions. It's trying to mix fiction and very specific and obvious politics that makes this a bad mix.
     
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  25. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I wholeheartedly agree with you. But for the sake of discussion, I would amend the bolded portion to say "makes this a bad mix for some". Some people do like to read this sort of fiction. And that's okay. Just because I won't read it doesn't mean it shouldn't be written. Regardless of my political leanings, I think people should be free to condemn socialism if that's their prerogative. Just as I believe we should be free to condemn crony capitalism.

    If OP wants to write divisive, inflammatory fiction, I wish him tremendous luck. It's not my place to tell him he shouldn't.
     

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