1. Lazzamore

    Lazzamore Member

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    Questions regarding portraying a fictitious fantasy culture counter to our own

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Lazzamore, Oct 25, 2017.

    Hello everyone. I am working on a short fantasy novel as an introductory piece to larger works I would like to do in this setting. I have decided the heroes culture must be very barbaric, monstrous even. The reason for this is as follows: My interest was to write partly about fantasy Orcs - my very favorite fantasy concept - including what makes them unique, which is their habit of playing the villain to the more 'goodly' Tolkien-esque races, and how they do this.

    So I am fascinated with fantasy monster races like Tolkien's Orcs. So much so, at the risk of being 'unoriginal' I am using the word 'Orc' as there name. My problem is if I fully follow through with giving them a monstrous culture then do I run the risk of alienating some potential readers who can't empathize with such a character? The culture practices extreme Meritocracy, Polygamy and is highly warlike. So I have the following questions: How likely is this to happen? How far can I take a Monstrous culture? How much would this effect the possibility of publishing my work, bearing in mind I am not published yet and am inexperienced in the industry? I may or may not tweak the heroes culture based off that last question, as my primary concern is not to be sold necessarily, but to write more effectively.

    I can include a summary of their culture if necessary. I'm not sure what the protocol is for this sort of thing, but I supposed that if it was unnecessary to have to answer my questions it would be better if I didn't tell the world before I finish my novel.

    Thank you!
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Will there be anything sympathetic about your Orcs? Or at least your main Orc?

    I think readers need something to grab hold of. It doesn't have to be a "nice" character, necessarily, but there needs to be some hint of... well, yeah, of humanity, I'd say. Humour, or tragedy, or some reason we should want to spend several hours in this character's company and care about what happens to him/her.

    So I wouldn't worry about the culture as a whole, necessarily, but I might be concerned about your main character(s).
     
  3. Lazzamore

    Lazzamore Member

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    Hum... What qualifies for most people as sympathetic, in your experience? I struggle with identifying these things, though there MUST be something about him that's likable, as I like him quite a bit.

    My MC will be a contemplative sort: the political wranglings of other's in his Fort (the orc version of a tribe) resulted in forcing him to murder his father and usurp his throne, about which MC has much regret and anger. Never-the-less he is very strong in his traditions and what his race views as honor (which looks like unflinching resolve, to us). He regrets much about his life, but at the same time, is un-apologetically a warrior and wager of wars.

    That might not be all, just what's on the top of my head.
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The regrets seem like the way in, from my perspective. If he were just all RahRah! Everything we do is PERFECT! it'd be hard to spend a lot of time with him, I think. But if there's a bit of self-awareness there, I think that could go a long way.
     
  5. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob Here ;) Contributor

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    I agree with this. It'd be very hard to get people to care about a MC who is completely evil.
     
  6. Gadock

    Gadock Active Member

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    I think by going with the traditional Orc stuff you’ll set yourself to a pretty precise audience anyway. People who won’t be interested in how Orcs live won’t be really interested in reading a story about Orcs to begin with, so I think you should just write what you want to write, but keep in mind that you most likely won’t target a mainstream audience.
     

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