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The_cajun_who_rages
April 27th, 2013, 03:18 PM
Hey forum

I've developed my fantasy universe to the point that i'm happy to start developing ideas, but i'm not sure which i should expand first.

on one hand i have an idea just centered around a few characters in a more limited area of the setting, but on the other i have one that is less focused at the moment but would allow me to show off more of the setting.

i know that either way i'll develop the plot and the core idea to the point that i'm satisfied with it, but should i expand the more focused concept or the broader one for the first foray into my setting?

DH-Biker
April 27th, 2013, 04:22 PM
Honestly I believe this depends on if you feel you write better in wider aspects or on focus, that's really the straight and narrow of this. Why not have a few attempts at focusing on a small group but in a wider setting? Look at Lord of the Rings for inspiration, throughout that trilogy (and the prequel Hobbit) Tolkein takes small groups of characters through wide, expansive and intrinsically detailed areas. He's also perfectly captured armies at battle in areas, but in that respect he kind of pulls the cloak around the remaining world and leaves the description at the battlefield.
Furthermore, do you find yourself more capable at setting or at character development? Obviously you'll need to stray into both for purposes of a story, but I think its a tremendously difficult skill to master both simultaneously, I for one am much better at descriptive writing then I am character development, but that shows very clearly in my writing. I think I scrape enough character development by to concrete the world however flimsily, but I can envisage these vast vistas of setting and adequately display them in writing. Not that I wish to come across arrogant, or anything, but its certainly one of my admittedly few skills in writing.
Finally, it also hinges on what your story revolves around. If its a wider world then a broad concept is going to do it justice, however I strongly believe in letting people decide certain aspects of stories for themselves, so leaving out certain elements will allow them to fill in the blanks. I.E. OK, this is our lead character, we know nothing of his past, how did he get to this situation where the story starts? Do his actions relate to his past exploits, do his interactions with others (he may have seen others in the party before, etc) give us any hint as to what he was doing beforehand? Alternatively, going with a wider view does allow you a much larger canvas, I believe, though you can quickly crowd a story with far too many areas, characters and situations and it becomes a jumbled mess that's complicated to untangle and follow clearly.

So yeah, I would recommend either writing out a bit following each and seeing which one comes most naturally too you, create a mixture of both or striking out from the off at one you feel you'd excel at.

Folcro
April 27th, 2013, 06:06 PM
With a high fantasy concept, I think you really need to have your setting down before even thinking about the story or the characters. This way, you can build on a story that fits the setting, and on characters that fit both. If you go on trying to establish a story when you're not certain as to the world in which it's taking place, you may be prone to inconsistencies that later can become very difficult to work out.

Of course, this all would depend on just how "fantastical" your world is. If the plot will not involve many of your world's "rules" (as in a lower fantasy), then it may in fact behoove you to work on the plot first, and let your world develop around the plot you want to set.

fanatastic_journey
April 30th, 2013, 02:51 AM
I strongly sugest a non lineer story.dontt make too many rules and dont forget to break the rrules if you can make a better story out of it.

lowprofile300
April 30th, 2013, 02:55 AM
Hey forum

I've developed my fantasy universe to the point that i'm happy to start developing ideas, but i'm not sure which i should expand first.

on one hand i have an idea just centered around a few characters in a more limited area of the setting, but on the other i have one that is less focused at the moment but would allow me to show off more of the setting.

i know that either way i'll develop the plot and the core idea to the point that i'm satisfied with it, but should i expand the more focused concept or the broader one for the first foray into my setting?

@The_cajun_who_rages, why don't you post an excerpt. It will give us something to go on.

The_cajun_who_rages
April 30th, 2013, 02:37 PM
I would post something if i had anything, but i'm still stuck in the state of developing ideas and characters for the story.

However, i do have a rather well developed world and could go into describing that to see if that helps. in the simplest terms, its been inspired by Dungeon punk

The two story ideas i have are:
1. one of the countries is a theocracy highly militant and is one of the 3 major world powers currently at cold war with each other. they start performing a purge of the country of what they deem undesireable. the story would follow a group of 4 deemed such trying to flee the country (with fantasy shenanigans to go)
2. a small mercenary group in a larger organisation going around on different missions that all end up linking together in the finale. this seems cliche i know, but hopefully it doesnt work out like that.

those are the basic gists of the stories, i have some of the characters outlined or thought about but thats about it at the moment. personally i'm leaning towards the second idea, just to show off more of the world i've developed than just that one corner of the continent.

lowprofile300
May 1st, 2013, 01:04 AM
I would post something if i had anything, but i'm still stuck in the state of developing ideas and characters for the story.

However, i do have a rather well developed world and could go into describing that to see if that helps. in the simplest terms, its been inspired by Dungeon punk

The two story ideas i have are:
1. one of the countries is a theocracy highly militant and is one of the 3 major world powers currently at cold war with each other. they start performing a purge of the country of what they deem undesireable. the story would follow a group of 4 deemed such trying to flee the country (with fantasy shenanigans to go)
2. a small mercenary group in a larger organisation going around on different missions that all end up linking together in the finale. this seems cliche i know, but hopefully it doesnt work out like that.

those are the basic gists of the stories, i have some of the characters outlined or thought about but thats about it at the moment. personally i'm leaning towards the second idea, just to show off more of the world i've developed than just that one corner of the continent.

@The_cajun_who_rages, well, you can start with one of the characters you have outlined. The story can begin from their point of view, and unfold as you introduce the reader to the other characters. Try a couple of paragraphs first and see if you are feeling it. The problem is that, if you don't start then it's basically going to stay an idea. Which is basically what it is, as of now:(

Pelwrath
May 1st, 2013, 06:07 AM
Make sure of your setting, flesh it out as much s possible. Perhaps keep a folder with it's description or use 3x5 cards with title/description. Once that is done, chose whichever setting you are most comfortable with, by whichever criteria you wish.

Arcwood
May 2nd, 2013, 07:03 PM
A more focussed aproiach would be more noval apropriate. However, being focused does not prevent you from displaying the full environment over a gross period of time, lets say a sequal or trilogy.

Mat
May 2nd, 2013, 09:40 PM
I agree with the above. Look at Joe Abercrombie, the first law trilogy is set over a huge world with all the relevant countries and kings etc., but the heroes revolves around three main characters, one battlefield over three days. You know the background is there, but the standalone novel leaves it there.

The_cajun_who_rages
May 6th, 2013, 12:54 PM
i think i am going to go with the less focused idea (less focused as in doesnt take place in one location, explores the world a bit) but am stuck on the main cast so to speak, the little band it'll follow. i'm talking about the heroic group, the Aragorn/Gimli/Legolas of the story, but i'm a little stumped in making them.

what would be some ideas for making a main group for an idea like that, being mercs for hire working in a tight group?
-5 seems like a good number, but is that too cliche? would 4 be even worse? 3 seems too few for this kind of thing but if i strain it out to 6+ then characters will be forgotten and lose out on development
-What kind of tropes are alright to play with? the big guy/leader/lancer/chick/quick guy thing is a bit too tropey, but what kind of charcters should there be? i know they should be better defined than just a 3 word description, but if thats a starting point to a character what would be some basic ones to form an interesting group?
-What kind of dynamics should there be between characters? rivalry/comeradery/sexual tension/respect, what are some that could be seen as key and what should i avoid?
-should i be concerned with the character's roles? as they are for lack of a better word an adventuring party, they should each have something special or engaging in some way as to not be just generic or step on each others toes by both just being good fighters in some way, or should there be regular people? i know this is largely dependent on my setting which is somewhat fleshed out, but what should i do here generally speaking?

I'm kind of stumped as you might be able to tell, i've got 3 ideas definitely thought out character wise but thats mostly jsut combat gimic and first impression 1 dimensional character trait. help me with some ideas to flesh out the core of the story, given the locales and goals will be changing only to come back together in the end

bioclasm
May 8th, 2013, 07:49 AM
The characters make or break a story, IMO. So a lot of attention and development should be committed to the characters. By all means, show us your world, but be careful of using cardboard cutouts to do it. Every now and then you may hear someone mention the world/environment is a character in itself, and I share that opinion. The emotions it instills, and the way your characters interact with it.

I know you're going to be eager to dump your world on us in the name of emersing us quickly, but I suggest you pace it and get us to your characters. They're who we care about, and they're who you use to string us along and show your world.

The_cajun_who_rages
May 8th, 2013, 02:18 PM
ill give you what i have for my characters at the moment:

-A deserter soldier from the army of a military dictatorship, think a Bismark esque figure brought together various militant houses in an egypt/turkey esque country to make a powerful force and then it was left in indecision and infighting, but with a huge military. he is a good soldier (magic as well, though only in terms of changing what his weapon is and making sharpness to a rediculous level) and a good fighter, but follows the waning ancestral worship of his country/family, his own family spirits dictating clearly not to harm innocents directly or indirectly. either he grew bored with the military life of not really doing anything, or in a border skirmish was ordered to do something which would cross his code and thus deserted (more complex, but oh well) so he could either be a runaway or a penchant for adventure, havent decided yet, with a strong moral code. not purely intelligent, but down to earth and kind at heart.

-the barer of an elemental (male), basically having a shard of a dead god's decayig power (its a whole thing) which is sought after. the element is fire, and having born it for ages and being chased down to be killed/have it stolen (and killed) for most of his life he now hides in the group which doesnt really mind. strictly his magic isnt orthodox at all, basically being limited to a pyromacer. kind of a happy go lucky facade and a penchant for disguise, but gets pissed when people come for him. luckilly, he's not only found allies but is powerful enough to fight back, now.

-a shaman from a tribe beyond civilization (the wilds are full of crazy magic and mutated beasts, so its a feat surviving there) very aloof and excentric and really quite powerful in magic. he was an apprentice who desired more power, but in doing so accidentally jepordized his tribe and caused essentially its end. because of that he now tries to make amends, going out of his way to protect his new tribe/family in the merc group. he can be seen as the token evil character though not specifically evil, just when it comes to the wellbeing of those he cares for (even if he doesnt show it) there really arent any barriers.

(three best developed)

-a magical technology engineer (its a dungeonpunk setting, magical items are a thing and industrialised) this character is a female from one of the other main powers on the continent, a meritocracy where merit is valued above all else (elsewhere being a female prevents her of being recognised). both smart and down to earth, she is the "trusted" one, i.e. the one who organises transport, holds onto contracts and such like that, and also has to approve of things as a 'good idea'. not the greatest fighter, but skilled with her equipment which is always top notch (and when you have a disposable boomstick wand, point-click-explosion style, who needs a big club?)

-lastly, i was thinking an everyman. all 4 of the others have magic, which while it isnt uncommon in the world, not every has one. i was thinking this could add an interesting dynamic to the group, but would have to be explored in one of two ways. one would be the batman to the justice league, still peak of what she does, just good in a different way, or alternatively doesnt really have anything special about her. note, this character is completely undeveloped, the "she" is just becaue i reckon the character should be female to balance out the dynamic, but if thats overdone i'm open to it being whatever.

for reference im my world:
-magic works by tapping into ley lines, finite sources of power, and invoking a magic world of power and willing the desired effect to happen, not uncommon but not everywhere
-gods exist, it is known. there are also dragons and fey which are on the same rough level, its a whole cosmology thing.
-the main countries are 3 at cold war essentially, a meritocracy, a theocracy and a military dictatorship. all other 4 or so countreis are in a forced coalition to help stay independent of these powers. everything outside of civilization is highly dangerous due to the untapped ley lines causing magical mutation, or maybe the fey are just being dicks and screwing around with nature, who knows
-there are 3 sentient races, humans (they settle and carve out an existence) elves (they adapt and evolve extremely quickly, as in 3 generations in a new environment they will adapt to be excelent hunters there) and drake (reptile men over 8 or so feet tall/long, not too intelligent but a crocodile like cunning, rare in civilization)
-there are corporations which industrialize magic and compete with each other

thoughts on the characters? i know they need to be developed further but still

msherman94
May 8th, 2013, 07:23 PM
My favorite way to develop setting is to take a walk in the world. Imagine yourself walking down a street in one of your cities, or weaving between tents at a military camp. Write what you see, what people are doing, describe the architecture to yourself, the clothing the populace is wearing, the smells in the air. Sometimes, such as in my current work, this will yield story elements which help provide direction for the plot. For characters you might think to go over a day in your characters life, from the moment they wake up to falling asleep at night. Who does he see? What does he eat? What does he do? I'm not sure if this works for everyone, or even anyone else, but it helps me a lot and you may want to try it.

bioclasm
May 8th, 2013, 09:53 PM
I'm really interested in your corporations industrializing magic, I think there's a lot of potential there, and the magic radiation zone/wild. I don't know if you've seen Total Recall, or read A Roadside Picnic, but the idea of society being limited to living in a small area where the rest of the world is toxic, causes mutation, or just weird shit happens fascinates me. So I think you also have a lot of potential there.

I find the nature of your characters interesting, my favorites being the deserter and the tech mage. But then again, I always roll psionic warriors or clockwork summoners in DnD, so I might be biased there. I also like the shaman. I'm always drawn to "ultimate cosmic power, itty-bitty living space" characters, but I like them flawed and unable to fully realize their potential, or very high prices are paid in order to do so.

I think you're fine to use as many characters you think you can handle in a story, but I would also advise you keep personalities unique among them. I think one has to do more than just change powers/careers to differentiate characters. This will also give you room for a very dynamic relationship between the characters for development through the story.

I'm really looking forward to reading excerpts when you get there. And for the sake of just getting started, writing little excerpt scenes for your character(s) helps give you a sense of things you want in your story.

BobtailCon
June 21st, 2013, 10:09 AM
Don't have linear stories. Keep a wide range of opportunities.

chris-mac
June 21st, 2013, 10:07 PM
I don't think it matters what one decides to do so long as it's a great story. You can tell a story set within the confines of a 6 by 9 prison cell and a good writer will weave magic therein. I'm not particularly enthralled by large scale fantasy worlds, though I enjoyed Tolkien of course, but each to his own.