New answers tagged

2

I can think of several ways I have encountered as reader of such literature Draw a political map of your Earth and put it in an appendix of your book, or its inside cover, some prominent place like that. Granted, this is a blunt way to do it, but it worked well for me when I read Tolkien and watched Game of Thrones. Refer to geographical features that don'...


3

How specifically do you need this to be Earth? If you just want human-like people on an Earth-like planet, then just make it up. Of course you need to make up all the history, as far back as is relevant. If you think "relevant" stops a hundred years or so back, consider that language groupings over most of Europe have around 3000 years of tribal conflict ...


3

Don't mention it Show it Suspension of disbelief is a powerful drug. It clouds the mind and prevent the reader from realizing that Quimbonia is not a real country. It's true that it looks and feels like the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants even speak British English, and each carry an umbrella. Fact is, it is called Quimbonia and has no coastline. To ...


4

Without the same countries, people, and history, it is simply not our Earth. Even with geographical and technology similarities, it's an entirely different world. For example, superhero stories often take place on a parallel earth. But Gotham City and Smallville don't feel like they're in our America. They're American themed, sure, and that's the closest to ...


7

You have two options: 1. Create an Earth-like world. (Earth is opt-in) The idea is you start with starfish aliens, and then you “opt-in” to the things you want to be the same as in our world. Here you have the most freedom, but this can also be one of the harder things to get right. You also have a good deal of latitude to introduce some elements of ...


8

As Chris Sunami says, this isn't all that uncommon. If you're story centers on events in one country that is not supposed to be a major world power, you can just invent a country, throw in some vague geography like, "in central Europe", and tell your story. Lots of stories are set in fictional small countries. Then you just invent whatever culture or ...


8

Creating a world is a lot of work. It doesn't matter if your world is a single town over the course of a year or an intercontinental saga over several generations. Either way, you need to map out the geography, features, characters and their genealogies, and history. How detailed you get depends both on your approach to writing and the requirements of the ...


3

+1 to Chris Sunami. Agree 100%. Poor Yorick's comment agrees, and so do I. (Look up the multiverse trope on TVTropes.) There are a few ways to go about it, but essentially do so straight away in some way or other. I might play with an epigraph at beginning: The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space. -Carl ...


29

This is not uncommon. When writers want to refer to real people, places or events, but they don't want to stick to the facts, they just rename them. Most readers adjust pretty easily. This is particularly true if the genre is Science Fiction, where it's easy enough to assume an Earthlike planet, or an alternate reality, even when that isn't spelled out. In ...


7

To add a bullet point to Liquid's excellent list: Creating an appendix permanently locks your worldbuilding As long as your worldbuilding only exists in your mind and your notes, you are free to change and adjust it however much you need to. As soon as you publish it it becomes locked in stone, and altering it will come with costs in reader confusion and ...


2

I have a technique I call the "Scruffy Nerf Herder Test". If I'm using something totally not real, I need to make sure that the context in the dialog makes the meaning of the word perfectly clear. The name of course comes from the dialog between Princess Leia and Han Solo in Star Wars where Leia hurls the line "Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy ...


4

An appendix such as a glossary, a geographic map, or a timeline is especially helpful when you have a collection of work in the same world. In the ideal, it is a quick way for a reader to see the relationship between works. Although each of your works can stand alone, it may be helpful for an avid follower of your world to know how things fit together. If ...


18

My question is, for the sake of satisfying reader interest, would it be worthwhile writing an appendix summarising certain inessential worldbuilding entities that's entirely optional for a reader to peruse? It can be worthwhile. Some readers are "hungry" after a story ends, and will devour any appendix you provide. It can be argued that since you have that ...


2

I do the same thing. This is how I've handled it. My novel is set in a variety of places and my aim is to use real places when feasible and realistic places when not. By coincidence, I also have a need for a central European train station, though one less modern and different from yours. I had the station I needed in my head then looked for a real one to ...


0

Place it where you want. Give it the features you want. Make up the name. Don't say a real place is like what you want if it isn't. I have used Google Maps and Street View to locate actual places. However, when I couldn't find a military base of the design I wanted in the location I needed, I made up one based on the features of another I have seen several ...


2

There are some great answers here, but I'd like to add to them. My answer will probably be slightly based on the fact that I'm writing sci-fi myself. For over a year, I only spent time on world-building. At some point, I realized, that if I wanted people to experience the world I had developed, I needed characters and a story. My big question was still ...


0

A phobia means unreasonable, illogical, and excessive fear. It might have gotten diluted in recent years due to politics, where it is often used against opponents who have the slightest dislike against a group or just merely fail to openly support them. Xenophobia means an excessive, unjustified fear of foreigners. If an enemy army is really about to ...


1

I'm writing a story with a custom pantheon and figured I'd share my philosophy. What if there was no gods? Would love dissapear from the world because there was no Aphrodite? Would everyone become a brain dead vegetable if there was no god of knowledge like Apollo or Athena? No. What the attraction of pantheonic gods has always been for me is that they have ...


0

This isn't inherently 'hard', but you'll have some people use their higher brain to fight back against this no matter what. You use the same techniques propagandists use. You just point at something that happened that was bad and was done by the 'other'. Boom, you've got the majority of humanity on board there. You just need to make sure you describe the '...


1

Xenophobia can efficiently arise from an Us vs Them mentality. To allow a reader to sympathize with a character who holds such feelings, you can present the situation as "They are against Us". Some ways would be to give the appearance of: They help each other out a lot (but won't appear to help the majority group) They keep to themselves. Maybe they feel ...


4

The classic world-exploring story is a journey. Someone goes from one place to another, and along the way, they see a lot of the sights, and meet a lot of the people, and experience a lot of the culture of the world they live in. The key is to find a good reason behind the journey, and then also to make it transformative for the main character. The ...


1

Example: Steve Fields The best example of such a character that I can think of is Steve Fields (played by Michael Harney) in Deadwood. Steve is a town drunk with anger issues and ingrained racist behavior (which he spouts off plenty of times). He doesn't mean to be evil but he's practically uncontrollable and incredibly volatile. He's painted as a chaos ...


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Xenophobia / racism / prejudice / discrimination + stereotypes It's all connected to an 'us vs them' mentality, which is naturally rooted in any species that survive in packs. Otherwise, it would be 'me vs them'. In 'modern' societies, we should have the technology and information available to pretty much end the xenophobic tendencies - but it's ...


12

If you're referring to how to make a sympathetic character be understandably xenophobic, there's several ways to do it, but the common unifying trait is establishing the alienness of the culture they're xenophobic against and why it is the character doesn't understand them/takes issue with them. Interestingly, I'm in the middle of writing a novel which ...


0

If you are following the design of classical civilisations and their pantheons, then it's worth considering two things. Firstly, the culture you're creating with inform how Gods with similar roles are different. Secondly, the main stories of these Gods will reflect prehistory. Consider the difference between the Goddess of love in ancient Egypt and ...


1

Sara has a very good answer and it covers most of the ground I use but there are a couple of other ideas that don't seem to be there in the way I use them: Person: write about the life and times of a single individual, usually someone important, famous, or influential but even a month in the life of a common peasant, soldier, or sailor may be interesting if ...


0

There are many ways to avoid the tropes. Mainly, think of dimensions outside the assumptions that the tropes embed. Classic pantheons are sometimes... anthropomorphic in shape. Yours might not be. anthropomorphic in mindset (they have similar lives or concerns to humans - war, sex, live, conspiracy, individuality, ambition, jealousy). Yours might not be. ...


2

tl;dr- Cliches seem bad when things are there just for the sake of the cliche itself. To avoid this, you can develop meaningful notions of the gods – including what they are, why they're there, and how they interact. Probably best to start with deciding if the gods are superheroes or full-blown forces of nature. Step 1: Pick what kind of god(s) ...


13

Don't focus on making your Gods be unique. Make the cultures worshipping them unique. Let me explain. Faith is a reflection of how a culture views and interacts with the world. The truth is, God's can only be that unique. Here are the main themes: War, fertility, celestial objects, an animal, a season or month, an element or an object connected with an ...


19

Similarities are not the same as cliches. Various pantheons have a lot of overlap because they draw on universal aspects of humanity. Food. Fire. Home. Love. Children (and childbearing). Protection. Etc, etc, etc. How these things manifest will change culture to culture. A nomadic group won't need gods for agriculture. A group on the equator doesn'...


14

Out of the blue, I can count four ways to go about it. All assume that your world was created with one or more civilisations (meaning races, kingdoms, whatever). The first option is to focus on a community. It can be a neighbourhood in a large town or in a small town, it can be a village, a religious community (think something equivalent to a village for a ...


9

You may want some of the traditional gods. War is pretty much a universal in human culture, as is love, brotherly love, luck, sexual attraction, in some forms "good" and "evil", death, birth, hunting, etc. Gods represent archetypes of human emotion; Aphrodite is the irresistible woman; Satan is the irresistible tempter. Gods also represent the "cause" of ...


5

Think of the real world, the one in which we live. How do you grow a story out of it? The answer is there's plenty of stories, it's just a question of what interests you, what moves you, what kind of story you wish to tell. Your secondary world is the same. There are myriads of stories that can be set in it. It's all about what you're passionate about, ...


8

Some Pantheon aspects are little known but rather fun to work with because the initial concept is poorly understood among the non-faithful, and sometimes even the faithful. While religions are typically divided into Monotheism (one God) and Polytheism (More than One God), there is a third classification about the number of Gods called Monism (spelling is ...


1

My first answer perhaps did not set enough context or was too written in shorthand. Let's see if this performs any better. Avoiding cliches when writing gods requires not relying too much on existing mythology. When I say "Mars, God of War", or "Jahova", each reader will have a set of expectations about how the god will behave, what will be important, and ...


54

I think my answer may be a tad tinted by my atheism, as I believe every faith and pantheon operates as a function of how a culture interacts with nature, the difficult-to-predict, and the unknown, but I would say a good starting point would be the environment your fictional society inhabits. For example, Ancient Egyptian gods are numerous yet orderly, ...


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