1. Wynter

    Wynter Active Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    Trying to find My Sense of Place

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Wynter, Aug 22, 2014.

    So I was toying around with the idea of a world in which each character is born and has possession of a certain trait or 'power' in a sense. And once this trait is discovered they take the name of that trait.

    So my character was going to be called 'Luck." Because he embodies all that is luck, whilst another character could be called Joy who can make people feel an overwhelming flood of happiness. Then there's the obligatory people with weapons of mass devastation like Inferno or Fury or such other names. And then it was going to be an examination of a society where people know who they are, what they do, they have a level of conscious awareness that not all of us have.

    They are Luck, they are Joy. They don't have to feel happy or lucky, but their lives revolve around this trait, for better or for worse.

    So I'm trying to envision a setting, and I don't want brutishly medieval, nor Industrial Revolution or the world which follows, in essence I think I'm trying to build a balance between the two, where progress is encouraged, but people don't have the technologies which we have today to actively pursue that progress.

    Any help would be grateful, I've never really approached world-building before like all my previous stuff used to entail character study.
  2. daemon

    daemon Contributor Contributor

    Jun 16, 2014
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    Uncanny. That is exactly how I would describe the ideal setting for my WIP.

    For a while, I considered classical Athens because I love that it is the low-tech birthplace of democracy and many artistic and intellectual traditions. Until the enlightenment, it was the place to be for someone interested in progress.

    But eventually I realized that I was obsessing too much about something that did not matter. The story matters. What makes the story interesting is not how the characters interact with elements of the setting, but how they interact with each other. Knowing the ins and outs of the setting only matters to my story (and the same can probably be said about yours, given the abstract and philosophical nature of both) if I want to avoid inaccuracies that might jar a reader out of the experience. Which would be completely different for a historical novel -- I thank God that I am not writing historical fiction.

    So I decided that a better way to avoid such inaccuracies than meticulously choosing and studying a real-world setting is to make up a setting rather loosely. Want progress to be encouraged in your setting? Show your characters encouraging each other to make progress and do not go out of your way to depict systemic resistance to progress. Want people to lack modern technology? Do not show your characters using modern technology. Common folk read, appreciate the arts, and participate in democracy in a world without factories or automobiles, if you say they do.

    The key is to refrain from referring to real history or geography. When you want to refer to history or geography in order to contribute to the story, make up history or geography for that purpose. You have ultimate freedom to shape the world in which your characters live. Use the world as a tool for facilitating interactions between the characters.

    All you need to avoid are internal inconsistencies, e.g. someone being in one place and then being 100 miles away in less than an hour if modern transportation (or phlebotinum) does not exist in your setting.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
    Wynter likes this.

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