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  1. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Same Series -- Different Time?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by isaac223, Oct 26, 2016.

    I had an idea for a method of world-building that involves the audience essentially seeing various points in history through the point of view of a different protagonist, the role which the protagonist plays in history is extremely varied ranging from being the cause of a metaphorically Earth-shattering event to the protagonist merely being a victim of circumstance and striving to get by in the world he/she is placed in, with some small elements interconnecting with one another so that not only can the audience see how history has effected the present directly, but so that contradictions in what the audience knows and what the future books "say," however subtle or blatant it is, can act perhaps as a form of foreshadowing. I intent to show the passing of time in the world from various culture's view points from the "beginning" to what is essentially the "end," with revelations to mysteries presented to one character being later discovered by someone else perhaps hundreds or thousands of years later.

    Essentially the point is that there are two periods during which the planet was coated in ice and snow -- an ice age. During the interval of time between the two, there was the advent of mankind's primal ancestors. Thrown into the all-too-soon succeeding ice age, as humanity's numbers began to dwindle, they were forced to adapt to the situation by eventually being propelled into humanity's first era of self-awareness and true cognizance, somewhat inspired by the era of Enlightenment in our history. Combating the ice age with reason and logical response, learning from experience, trial and error and frantic efforts, rather than the sheer force of will, humanity was able to stall their extinction long enough to survive through the period of ice. Even after this epochal cold ended, though, the pursuit of knowledge, culture and individuality only intensified, with more people turning to pursue physical passions and those preferring intellect pursue more fervently further understanding. From hence forth, the series plot will take place.

    However: Is it possible for a mystery to span over an era or two? And what could one do to make the plots interconnected, if even only faintly? Would this even help world-building? How would presentations of contradictions work so the audience doesn't automatically assume it was a mistake on my part? Would a character discovering the answer to a mystery that he doesn't know as much as the audience even make sense, and would some people be turned off by having to make the connections to the mysteries themselves if the answers are more subtle than per the norm?
     
  2. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    First: This is a cool idea.

    Second: It depends on the mystery. You don't really give us enough information to make an informed decision.

    Third: Making the plots interconnected. The easiest way I can see to do it is through a long-lived (or immortal) being, but that's kind of a cop-out. The next best way is through oral tradition - the people in the present relying on the stories of their ancestors and the knowledge therein to solve the mystery.

    Fourth: Would the character discovering the answer make sense? Yes, if he didn't know he'd discovered the answer - at least not at first. It would make perfect sense for someone to stumble across the answer, whatever it is, and not realize what he's found, but the reader (who has all the knowledge) would know, and think "Aha! Now things are getting interesting!"

    Fifth: I'm not sure what you mean by "having to make the connections to the mysteries". If you mean "Not being able to figure out what's going on until they're told", then possibly; some people like to be able to figure things out for themselves, whereas others are content as long as everything's explained and makes sense.
     
  3. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Thank you very much. I'm glad to know I'm at the least competent at conceptualizing something. Let's just hope I can pull off the execution.

    Well, I'm still working out most of the important details, but I suppose that question can be likened to "How can I interconnect plots and themes from one era to another," with a general mystery rather than the overall plot.

    Well, in an old draft of the lore I implemented a mixture of the many worlds interpretation and abilities built around 'relational' interpretations, and the 'antagonist,' with the help of a close friend, managed to break the deeply rooted laws of the world's magic system to become an outlier to the formula typically applied by all supernaturality in the world, and achieved a backwards form of immortality. This was when there was only one time period to take into account and when I tried to apply my idea of having a less-than-pleasant protagonist and a likable antagonist so that after character and plot development and 100% of both of the characters were on the table, both would have been brought up or down to the same level, so to kind of make it so that even if the antagonist is almost creepy in her amount of selflessness towards a very specific person (her goal being nothing more than to make a happier world for someone who had passed before she could help them see the pleasantness in the "old" world, but disregarding the existence of every other living thing on the planet) and the protagonist has scarcely any such appealing traits, the audience could find someway to root for the victory of either character as character development prevents any superficial viewing of the two characters.

    Though I'm not quite sure how I could implement this into my current idea or how well.

    "Aha! Now things are getting interesting!" is the nigh-universally desired response from writer's audience, isn't it?

    Seriously, though... Thanks again, like from the first quote.

    I suppose a fair mix of both could be possible? Like.. explaining things that need to be explained while leaving certain deductions up to the readers? I'm not quite sure how I'd go about this though, but I suppose it is the job of a writer to figure these things out.
     
  4. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    What's the "mystery"? Explaining that might help figure out how to make it work.

    I understood about half of that, but I see you are using magic, so my idea might work after all. The history thing would still work, too - written or oral records, or if there's a way to store information magically (I'm thinking like a memory crystal or display device)... if the records directly contradict what the people "know" to be true, that could provide clues toward solving the mystery, or at least realizing that something's not right.

    I don't know if you've read Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series; he always explains everything at the end so the reader knows exactly what happened, how, and why, but he does it without talking down to the reader. I would only leave things to the reader's imagination if you don't want them to be explained - Inception is a great example of "letting the audience interpret things their own way" - but for your standard fantasy, it's best to lay all the cards on the table at some point.
     

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