Tags:
  1. Bartosz

    Bartosz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Making the generic human kingdom less generic

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Bartosz, Oct 1, 2019.

    I'm writing a fantasy / comedy series, with a definite focus on comedy over fantasy.
    The country where the story starts is one of five or so counties - the other four are cool, the super polluted dieselpunk dwarves, the nomadic elven tribes with pre-made cities in hollowed out trees they just switch between, the dragon country where the dragons melt their gold and silver into massive pools and rivers of liquid metal...
    and then there is the human kingdom... some cool trees down north... pretty rural...

    I'm sure everybody knows what the typical "human zone" is - on the other hand, I don't want to just slap something like... the grass is purple...because...uniqueness...

    If anybody has tips on how to make the place feel unique and interesting without just making the place alien - I think a big problem is that the humans in the world are the generic human society - I tried mentioning architecture and separating the country into rural and non rural areas but it just doesn't feel right.
    :)
     
  2. Mish

    Mish Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    337
    I would personally concentrate on the message of this story and then work the human kingdom culture into it. It seems like the other countries in this story besides the humans are super consumerist, devil may care hedonists. Why should the humans be any different? Although the dwarves, the elves and the dragons already appear to be a kind of a mirror of real life humans, with their worship of fuel, urban sprawl and gold. Maybe the humans secretly crave all three and cunningly plan to disposes the other countries of all those resources? Maybe influence dwarves to fight with the elves and dragons with both. Divide and conquer.

    Then you can populate your human kingdom with all kinds of; shock jocks belittling other races, demagogues spreading xenophobia, televangelists inspiring worshipers to steal the dragon gold for salvation etc.
     
  3. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    193
    A comedy needs some kind of grounding. Orson Scott Card says that at least one aspect of any comedy - plot, characters, or setting - has to be completely serious. Nothing is absurd if everything is absurd.

    I can't find the quote anymore (it was in his Uncle Orson reviews), but that sounds right to me.
     
    LazyBear, Katibel and Bartosz like this.
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,290
    Likes Received:
    5,807
    Location:
    On the Road.
    As the other kingdoms focus on their own brand of artifical 'culture', why not make the humans the exact opposite with a focus on 'nature'? Kind of like being obsessed with being sessile and natural resources and healthy lifestyle?
     
    Bartosz likes this.
  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    4,045
    Likes Received:
    4,824
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    Ah, hippies. :)

    How about the humans are warmongering scumbags, hell bent on conquering other lands and exploiting their resources. Quite unlike real life, of course.
     
    Bartosz likes this.
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,290
    Likes Received:
    5,807
    Location:
    On the Road.
    Almost every fantasy story I know portrays humans as source of all evil (not without cause, granted). Let someone else be the bad guy for a change. I'd like to read a war that humans don't want to fight and when suckered in, do their damnest to fight 'clean' :)
     
    Bartosz likes this.
  7. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    2,508
    Location:
    The presence of Y'golonac
    Base your fantasy races and cultures on geology and science, even if that science and geology is never explained.

    One race of turtle people would live on the coast, worshiping the tides and venerating seasonal deities, while another race of turtle people would live in the mountains, worshiping the sun and venerating warfare for better mountain peaks. Humans in the frozen north would hunt and fish and ride ice dragons and fear the evil fog for it brings storms and sea demons, while humans in the dry south wander between oasis's with their flocks for the oasis contain wish-granting matriarchs.

    The Hellborn are rock people who like Satanii, their capital in the center of an erupting volcano. The Heaventaur are rock people who like Godii, their capital in the center of a garden of moss.
     
    Bartosz likes this.
  8. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54
    What I would do is make the humans all nature and conservationist, standing out from the crowd. And you would stand out from the crowd by doing so for humans are often portrayed as the villains.

    However, I would also focus on each people's backstory, even if you never use it because you can color the Main Character(s) perception of each species wrong doing. Feel free to use or discard my ideas, this is just me imagining the tale is mine and fleshing out their history some.

    Lets say the dragons pollute the ground by strip-mining, for liquid metals can never remain liquid. I mean think about it. When does metal become liquid? At so and so Fahrenheit. Imagine the magic cost to keep it so, bearing in mind that each creature has physical limits of magic that they can use, for even magic MUST have it's limits or the story falls flat.* Instead, line their cities with roads and houses made of precious metals and have them strip-mine the land to do so. Their rivers of metals would be going to their cities for processing, since the wizards could keep them liquid long enough to get them there in shifts and that's it.

    Let's make the elves never care about the trees they inhabit. They hollow them out to live in then once the trees are ready to collapse, they move on to a new tree, leaving the old one to fall over and crush part of the forest. Quite often they never put out their cooking fires, leaving that forests to burn into a charred and barren landscape unless they still live in it. Their decorations would include the typical elven decorations of houses nestled into the tree trunks, bridges and platforms arching from tree to tree but with a twist. The wood is harvested from the inside of the trees in such a way that it leaves the trees enough wood to support the elves for a while until they collapses around their pointed little ears.

    As for the dwarves, since I dont know what dieselpunk is and will substitute it for steampunk, have them the great tinkers and they pollute the air with their huge factories to support their mania for gadgets and robots to do their bidding. Even their houses are mini factories for the hobbyist to create with. Their decorations would include great gears spinning, and huge pistons pumping and of course gigantic chimneys belching black soot into the sky.

    As for the humans, they are farmers, conservationists, hippies if you will, but with your own spin on them, looking after the planet the best they can. They send ambassadors to the other kingdoms to plead for them to stop polluting before it is too late but it falls on deaf ears. Their trees reach proudly into the sky, their mines are deep holes that yield much less than the dragons but do not rip the land asunder. Their cities are works of pure beauty with tall spires lightly decorated by precious metals, statues, fountains and parks dotting them that any citizen can wander at will. Mages go from here to there, planting and growing plants to beautify the cities. Power is provided by solar panels, windmills and water wheels. Everyone's carbon footprint is small.

    Normally each people lives in peace with one another until the resources start running out, which sparks a war between the dragons and dwarves because the dragons want to melt down their gears to line their newest cities with precious metals. The dwarves want the dragon's metals to make more gadgets. The elves want to steal the human's trees for their own cities, while the humans are trying to make their humble livings, harmonizing with nature. All in all, greed is often the cause of wars. Your human protagonist has their story, set in these trying times and overcomes insurmountable odds to win the day. Or perhaps a rag-tag group of all four species join together and saves the day, whichever you want to happen.

    *As for the magic limits, trust me, I know how that is. At one time my magic had no limits but then I added them and and BAM my story came together. Magic gained a cost and a terrible price for using too much at once.
     
    Bartosz and zoupskim like this.
  9. Bartosz

    Bartosz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Didn't expect this much feedback!
    Thanks, guys - a lot of really cool ideas and advice!
     
  10. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54
    Well, I really liked the idea of your story, especially the nature loving humans and how the rest of the creatures were so different from the rest of the books. I was thinking, Dang, I wish I thought of that. So I let my imagination run amok, doing a little world build building to set you off in the right direction. I suppose I saw a little of myself in you, having a great idea for a story but unable to flesh it out without a nudge in the right direction.

    Even though I am a fly-by writer, known as a pantster or seat of your pants writer, I found snowflake method (link) an invaluable tool to help me keep my thoughts organized and on the revisions. I bought the software full price (at $100) when I had a good job, but I found out later that I could have cut the price in half by entering Snowflake as a coupon code. Even $50 might sound steep but I'm telling you, instead of having to make the document, or scrivener pages, or whatever, it's all tucked in a little program, the prompts, the fields, everything you need, even which steps go in what order. There's also a cute little book on the kindle store that explains how to do it. Search for how to write using the snowflake method by Randy Ingermanson. There's two of them, I have yet to get the red one but the blue is the one you want. It sounds like that might be the technique for you.

    Flesh everything and everyone out. Set up some locations and scenes and go to town. Breathe life into your characters, your world, your entire story. You don't have to flesh out all the characters, like the walk ons, or tertiary characters just give those guys goals. Like a waiter who cant wait until he's off because he has mouths to feed/beautiful wife/dead on his feet/ or had a bad day. Imagine how each goal would color his attitude, for instance.

    And one thing I can never stress out enough is if your tale has one or more villains then flesh them out too. Put just as much effort into them as you do your heros. Imagine backgrounds for them. What made this hero/villain become who they are today. For example, were both of them orphans? If so what made one overcome his troubles and turned the other bitter, which led to contempt or hatred?

    Go watch the Disney movie "Meet the Robinsons" to see a perfect example of two orphans in the same orphanage growing up in two different ways to become two totally different men. The villain wanted to destroy the hero because he felt the hero ruined his life and had a wonderful one at his expense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice