The blog tour for Discoucia, a Victorianish Fairytale, started on 10th July (YAY!) and for my part – as well as providing a review – I requested a guest article on world building and writing in a different time, and guess what?! Mr Lovelock duly obliged and put together a great piece with mountains (literally) of sound advice! See below…
Building New Worlds and Writing in a Different Time
It may not seem like much of a task to create a world out of imagination as many of us go through this scenario on a daily basis, but to make a truly believable world an awful lot of work must go in.
Using my world of Alavonia as an example, you begin with a name that you will use throughout your narrative and from there you move to continents or countries. Alavonia is a planet four times the size of Earth and has 11 main continents. They are Discoucia, Lesiga, Neo Firmania, Tela Bilega, Caparonia, The Fire Islands, Capari, Insatia, Colsolia, The Ice Islands and Immoratia.
This works like Inception, as you have to go further in at every step. You have the world, and now you have the continent. For this we shall use Discoucia itself which has sixteen main counties, all with different identities and customs. They are Evermore, Elowe, Yande, Fina, Ervie, Icester, Adlin, Ashin, Chene, Harrha, Proceur, Gard, Cesta, Thorisea, Tanalos and Sorro.
The county we will focus on is Chene, which needed its own identity to make it different from the rest of the counties and became the commercial centre of Discoucia. It gained sovereignty from the rest of Discoucia so it could avoid all the extra taxes from the empire and became a sort of Victorian New York with skyscrapers and massive streets. It couldn’t be surrounded by water so I gave it a massive wall that backed on to the mountains, and allowed the use of sky-ships to be used in the plot as more of a necessity.
To make your science-fiction more appealing, you need to come up with a plot device that is different and makes your writing interesting and remarkable. For instance the average Alavonian lives for 1000 years, and to put it in perspective Arthur is 220 which would be 22 in our world. The age that people live to explains how so much technological accomplishments could be made, from subterranean tunnels to underwater research laboratories like Infinica that appears later.
As far as writing in another time, you have to pick which one you want. If you are going to write it in the future then you need to think about how people would live. It is all fine to create fantastical spaceships and futuristic cities, but you have to consider if that is how people would live. However if it is simply a pure fantasy you wish to create then let your imagination run wild. The constraint of writing in the past is that it is set in stone; then again alternate fiction allows history to be distorted for the sake of plot.
In a film like Django Unchained, historically it was highly unlikely for there to be a freed slave becoming a bounty hunter, but the idea was plausible enough for it to fit into the contemporary history of the time. The plot still works with historical accuracies like the feel of the time and the setting, but takes liberties with other things such as the two main characters actions.
Going back to Alavonia, once you have the setting you need to have characters that are likeable or dislikeable to the audience. In the instance of Chene the rulers are Princess Amberlia, who will take over the throne when she reaches 180 and seems to be as evil as any Dickensian villain. She is assisted by her weak sister Princess Sophina in getting rid of her other sister Princess Mona, all while a festival is taking place where the main characters are unaware of what is going on above.
Amberlia represents a spoilt child about to be put in charge, but sees her sisters as enemies that in her paranoid mind she must get rid of. I hoped to achieve what so many authors have done successfully, which was making a horrible villain that has a reason for doing what they do but it still doesn’t condone what they do, but at the same time is interesting because you have to wonder when she is going to suddenly think that what she is doing is wrong and change her mind.
In a sense building a world is just as much about the people as the landscapes, however when it comes to the landscapes it does help to have high mountains or giant caves since they have become so synonymous with the science fiction and fantasy genre.’
A big thank you to Nicholas for that, I know I got a load from it and hopefully you did too! My stop on the blog tour is on July 19th so please share the hell out of it for me and let me know what you think.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did, feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts 🙂