Real World Vestiges in Fantasy
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Real World Vestiges in Fantasy

    How do you reconcile terms whose meanings specifically pertain to the real world and often carry the names of people who invented them? For example if you are to have two characters who are in a platonic relationship, how would you go about that since obviously there was no Plato in your fantasy world? Or a group of people living epicurean lives, but there never existed an Epicurus. You get the gist. Do people even care about these details?

  2. #2
    My advice would be to not get bogged down with that minutia.

    In some cases it can be be an interesting plot device, for example if your story takes place in a post apocalypse where knowledge of modern society is lost, maybe your characters wouldn't know what a billboard was called or what a payphone was called or even used for.

    But your characters still need to use nouns, they still need to use the English language (or whatever language you're writing in), so unless you plan on creating your own language and your own rules of grammar, just don't go overboard with it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Book Cook View Post
    Do people even care about these details?
    No.

    P.S.
    To elaborate, words are words, a means to convey meaning to the reader in a manner that they can understand. Hence the narrative is inevitably real world oriented. However, you may need to give the matter more thought when writing dialogue, but even there it may in fact be a translation from an entirely fictional language into English purely for the benefit of the reader, so any conventional English words would make sense. It depends just how deep the fantasy goes.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Book Cook View Post
    How do you reconcile terms whose meanings specifically pertain to the real world and often carry the names of people who invented them? For example if you are to have two characters who are in a platonic relationship, how would you go about that since obviously there was no Plato in your fantasy world? Or a group of people living epicurean lives, but there never existed an Epicurus. You get the gist. Do people even care about these details?
    You created the world, so create new words for that world. Just make sure they are defined in context, but not in obvious ways.

    Do people care about such stuff? Some will; some won't. The way it is for pretty much everything else in writing. Some will be excited that you put in the extra effort, while others will be offended that you forced them to learn a new word that is meaningless in real life. Still others won't even notice or care about such details. Such is life.

  5. #5
    Maybe make up fictional words in your world that are derived from the fictional teachings of fictional philosophers.
    I'd just use words that everyone would understand. For example, platonic could be described as friendly, or epicurean may be described as sensation seeker.

  6. #6
    Member luckyscars's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Somewhere.
    Posts
    505
    Quote Originally Posted by Book Cook View Post
    How do you reconcile terms whose meanings specifically pertain to the real world and often carry the names of people who invented them? For example if you are to have two characters who are in a platonic relationship, how would you go about that since obviously there was no Plato in your fantasy world? Or a group of people living epicurean lives, but there never existed an Epicurus. You get the gist. Do people even care about these details?
    Courtesy of the google thesaurus:

    Epicurean synonyms:
    hedonist, sensualist, pleasure-seeker, sybarite, voluptuary, bon vivant, bon viveur;

    Platonic synonyms:
    nonsexual, nonphysical, chaste;





    Unless you are the unluckiest soul in the world you will probably never need to use a word or turn of phrase whose meaning cannot be expressed the same using alternate terms. Certainly the two examples you mentioned are not challenging in the least. Part of your job as a writer is to figure out how to be authentic so this is up to you.

    In any event, it's not something to sweat over. Presumably you are writing in English. All English words originate from something else that is grounded in the real world so just by the fact your characters are conversing (presumably) in such a tongue is already requiring a suspension of belief. In any case I think your readers will forgive you the odd dalliance.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

    Ernest Hemingway



Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.