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How "realistic" should a World be?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Shasjas, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think that the "fantasy = humor" thing sort of started with something I said, and I just want to be clear that it isn't at all what I meant.

    Fun writing helps to suspend disbelief, so if absolutely crazy and unbelievable things are happening, a fun - almost humorous - tone helps the writer to achieve that. But I didn't at all mean to imply that just having "fantasy setting" fits that description. And even then, I didn't mean to say it was ever required. Just want to be clear.
     
  2. RChabot

    RChabot New Member

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    whatever you build should have/maintain logical consistency. Even fantasy worlds have 'rules' to maintain logical consistency they don't have to match our rules but they should remain consistent in that world.
     
  3. Ragkuun

    Ragkuun New Member

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    See this is just too whimsical for me. Its not grounded in anything. The only thing grounding it, is it's ungroundedness which is sort of unsettling for me. When anything is possible, why should I care? It seems to me this becomes a consequence-less form of story telling where things can be fixed with "magic" that is boundless. It'd be like writing a story about an omnipotent and omnipresent God who can do anything and everything at anytime. What's the point?


    Edit: I hope this isn't coming off as harsh, I think maybe that style just isn't my cup of tea. I write extremely realistic low fantasy stories which are more my forte
     
  4. Hir i-Chorvath

    Hir i-Chorvath Minstrel

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    I think that a world should be at least semi-realistic. When you have a new world you have to take the cause and effect pattern into consideration. Such as how does it affect the actions of the people if there are 'flying mountains' or is it just a nonconsequential happening?
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    A world can be most anything. Read some John Brunner, or Philip Jose Farmer. What matters isn't the world, it's the story-telling. Get that right, and you can pull off the greatest magical feat of them all: pulling in a reader.
     
    elemtilas likes this.
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    You're talking about fantasy. Strike the word "should" from your vocabulary. The only important question is how realistic you want your world to be.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    There's no substantial effect because they don't have airplanes yet.

    farside_airplane.jpg
     
    FifthView likes this.
  8. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

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    Fantasy isn’t supposed to be realistic, but it should be believable and consistent. For me, the issue is when writers don’t put thought into how the elements of their world would interact and affect each other and avoid plotholes.
     
    pmmg likes this.
  9. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

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    Plotholes I don't like, but aren't a deal breaker. For me that's really more a matter of story planning rather than nature of the world.

    I don't care much for realism in worldbuilding, fantasy in particular, but SF as well. Believability is one of the two keys, and whether you make a believable world through internal consistency or internal inconsistency is all good. Writing a good story is of course the other key. And these have to be turned at the same time for the story to work well. If your worldbuilding really and truly sucks, I'm not going to read your story no matter how good it might be. If your world is awesome but your writing sucks, I'll at least try and struggle through, to admire the world for what it is and in spite of the writing. But I won't come back for more.
     
  10. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    People nowadays don't even know what really crazy, unbelievable fantasy looks like. We take it for granted that early 20th century writers started creating more believable worlds and storylines. Modern fantasy is, by default, much more realistic, consistent and believable than any of the fantasy written by mankind for thousands of years. Read the original myths (not the retellings where the author strives to make it more sensical) or any fantasy books written before the 1800s and you're going to come across some seriously insane stuff compared to what anyone writes today.

    I'm currently reading a fantasy novel written in the 1700s and let me tell you, it doesn't make a lick of sense. It's all over the place and entirely unbelievable. Not that it's bad. It has a certain crazy charm. But your average fantasy reader these days would be totally stumped.

    I think what I'm trying to say is just don't worry about it that much because to be honest a certain amount of consistency and plausibility are pretty much built into the modern mindset. You can't help but write a more realistic fantasy than most of history ever knew.
     
  11. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

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    Sounds good to me!

    What is it?
     
  12. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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  13. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

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    Merci!

    You know I'm going to be on the lookout for that!
     
  14. Dina

    Dina Dreamer

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    I've always found the mechanics of a world to be nowhere near as important as the way the story is told. If you are happy with the way your world turned out, it will show in your writing. What I mean is, if you believe in your world, the reader will believe as well.
     
  15. Esudeath

    Esudeath Dreamer

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    Think of how wild adventure time is but how good its worldbuilding is. Nothing has to be serious its just a really big preference for most. It doesnt mean that you are any less serious also
     
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