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Author Topic: A Question About Setting  (Read 1097 times)

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Offline ToxicWaste97

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A Question About Setting
« on: May 31, 2016, 10:59:51 AM »
I've been working on a story recently, but a major thing that has been setting me back is that I have been having trouble deciding on what the setting of the story should be. At the moment, I'm stuck between two options: an alternate history Earth, or a separate, fictional world. Ultimately, I don't think it would affect the story too much either way, but I still feel like this is a major thing I should get set in stone before I try writing too much. If someone could give me a little input, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Offline DeAngelus

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 12:17:02 PM »
Story ?
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Offline ToxicWaste97

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 01:00:12 PM »
The story's about a girl who's parents have been kidnapped by a world-class criminal, so she must team up with a trio of mercenaries to find her brother and save her parents. There is also some kind of magical power involved, but I'm not sure if that's too relevant right now.
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Offline legomaestro

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 01:16:52 PM »
Really, at that point its depending on opinion, but I'd go with alternative world as that's easier to work with in general, and gives you more creative freedom when creating the world.

Having the setting on Earth does give you points when you do your research well. It brings the reader in the story in even more especially when they recognize places and see the descriptions well done. I'm terrible at research, but that's also a way to go.

The year also determines which part is important. If the story is based in present time then it's easy to choose Earth, but if it's another year entirely in the future or way back in the past then there's no big bonuses in choosing Earth as the setting.   

Offline ToxicWaste97

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 01:32:28 PM »
Really, at that point its depending on opinion, but I'd go with alternative world as that's easier to work with in general, and gives you more creative freedom when creating the world.

Having the setting on Earth does give you points when you do your research well. It brings the reader in the story in even more especially when they recognize places and see the descriptions well done. I'm terrible at research, but that's also a way to go.

The year also determines which part is important. If the story is based in present time then it's easy to choose Earth, but if it's another year entirely in the future or way back in the past then there's no big bonuses in choosing Earth as the setting.

You raise a good point. Up until now, I've been writing it as an alternate history Earth, but some recent developments have made me question whether that was a good idea, and these points really show that the alternate world is probably a better choice for the story. Thanks a lot!
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Offline suupertramp

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 03:09:19 PM »
i agree, alternate earth means you can copy as many concepts as you like (trains/houses etc) but change any aspects you dont like or dont fit your story. it makes it easier for people to get drawn into a setting that they half understand already :P
just realized lego wrote basically that but goes to show we are thinking the same thing :P

Offline ricksmt

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 03:01:55 AM »
If it's very similar to Earth, I would promote an alternate Earth history; otherwise, go with an alternate world. While an alternate world is a blank slate that can mimic or differ from Earth in as many ways as you want, if it's super similar, then you might as well draw on the reader's existing knowledge so they can connect with the story.

You said you added magic: examples of alternate Earth history that come to mind are Fate/stay night (I know it by the anime) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (movie); alternate world example that came to mind was Magi (which I again know via anime). There are others, but those are what came to mind.

Offline Coryn

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2016, 12:09:31 AM »
I guess it depends on where your ideas are. If you have a lot of cool ideas that won't make much sense for earth (even an alternative history one), then make a new world. If not, don't waste your energies on it

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Offline MisterSherbetLemon

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2016, 07:36:42 PM »
Personally I think you can have the best of both worlds without revealing a definitive answer.

I use photos of Scottish countryside to inspire the setting to my current project but due to the nature of the story, people do not recognize the landscape as "Scotland" or any known landscape today. The idea behind it is that even if it is based on the current Earth, it isn't recognized by it's citizens as Earth.

Leaving room for speculation among the readers can be just as effective as a definitive setting. In a fantasy story, the real world can still be used without ever being recognized as the real world. It depends on the culture of your world as well as your own personal preference.     

Offline NO1SY

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Re: A Question About Setting
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2016, 06:42:16 PM »
It sounds as if the setting doesn't have too much of an impact on the plot of your story??

If this is truly the case then I would avoid alternate histories of the real world as without proper attention paid to such a setting in your story, it can often leave the story feeling disconnected from the world it's in and as such can fall bit flat with lack of immersion.

It sounds as if you could get away with just writing your story as taking place in a nondescript town in X country.

If you're getting stuck on writing because of an issue like this, it's usually because you're having trouble knowing what to write when it comes to things like "I need to go to the market on xxx street" or "she goes to xxx Highschool".

However, if the story is supernatural, then it might be fitting to have an alternate world where magic is a thing. Or if it's sic-fi then on a random badlands planet filled with merc's and tech that looks like magic.

My advice would be to come up with a couple of possibilities and then off-the-cuff and some-what unrelated to your story try to write a page of story depicting a scenario in each world and see what you come up with and what you like.