Introduction to a new world.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Kaellpae, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Grandmaster

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    Have any of you written a story through the eyes of an immigrant to show details about a world or city you've made?
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I really like that idea. I would expect the immigrant to be an important character, though, unless he gets killed or something.
     
  3. Worldbreaker

    Worldbreaker Acolyte

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    Yeah I agree with devor, thats a unique concept, I might have to do that with my next story :p
     
  4. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Grandmaster

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    I was thinking an immigrant fleeing his home country/city after being framed for/commiting an assassination. Introducing his new world and then after a couple of stories fazing him out. Introduce some characters in his stories to carry on.

    The Harry Potter novels inspired me for this idea. Harry starts out seeing everything magical for the first time, just as the readers do. I wanted to take that to a realistic situation though.
     
  5. Ghost

    Ghost Grandmaster

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    I was with you until that bit. I don't want to use the poor guy as a device or make him placeholder until the important characters grace the page. Asylum seekers, refugees, entrepreneurs, scholars, and people looking for a better life in general can have interesting stories. There are a lot of fantasy/sci-fi books that explore friction between social groups. Thinking about it like that, I'm surprised there aren't more stories about immigration.

    I had a plot about a guy who flees his country to escape paying for a crime that wasn't really his fault. I'm lukewarm about the plot, so I'm scrapping it. One of my other plots centers on a noblewoman who marries a wealthy merchant from an influential, foreign nation. She goes to his country with superficial knowledge of the language and culture, so she has to wing it. Eventually, she develops an "eff that" attitude and ends up getting involved in a series of scandals.
     
  6. Worldbreaker

    Worldbreaker Acolyte

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    Yeah I don't think you have to phase him out per say, maybe the main character meets your immigrant and the immigrant follows him on his journey? Or throw a curve ball and have what people think is the main character meet the immigrant, but later on in the story kill your 'main character' and make the immigrant the true main character. Lol it's just an idea
     
  7. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Scribal Lord

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    I don't think kaellpae meant inside the story. I took it as write a couple stories with the immigrant first, so that those stories give readers a feel for the culture, then write other stories with other characters. I like the idea.
     
  8. Ghost

    Ghost Grandmaster

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    Oh, I missed that part. I thought it was all part of the same novel/series of events.

    Wouldn't you have to introduce parts of the immigrant's original culture and along with his new one? I imagine he'd make comparisons as he adjusts to new ways of doing things. You'd need to strike a balance between information about both cultures, which doesn't sound any easier. In Harry Potter, people could relate to the muggle world because it's our world. Having an immigrant from another land in your world means you don't have that luxury.

    Someone correct me if I still misunderstood! :eek:
     
  9. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Scribal Lord

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    No, I think you're right, and therein lies the problem. However, I think it does make it a little easier in that infodumping is easier and/or more acceptable. Your character could think about how much bigger the buildings in this new land are, or how different the animals, or how strange the people. You could describe specific aspects of these things, which I think would still make sense to the reader. A character from that country wouldn't notice those things, so it would make less sense to include lots of details.

    Sorry, there's a solid chance no one will understand what I just said. I'm a little discombobulated at the moment, with my team unable to make three field goals. Insert about seven expletives not allowed on this forum
     
  10. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Dark Lord

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    It depends on what you mean by 'stories'.

    Unless it's a short story collection (all in one place) you shouldn't plan on readers having read the stories from the beginning. If it's a series of novels, then each novel in the series should, in theory, stand on its own. If it's a trilogy, for example, their structure is a little different.

    Using someone 'new' or 'inexperienced' is a common and accepted plot device to introduce a reader to a new world or situation.

    One thing to consider, however, is that a reader gets invested in main characters, such as the mentioned immigrant. Just 'tossing' him aside for more important characters to what's going on should be done carefully.

    Just my two cents.
     
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think that's doable, though. Especially if the immigrant's homeland has some relevance later in the story. But I think a good writer could almost fully focus on the differences between the two countries, and even if the homeland if different from ours, it could be equally different from the new country.

    But I'm also not crazy about phasing out the immigrant after a few chapters or stories. I don't think readers like when the main cast of characters shifts too heavily within a single piece.
     
  12. Terra Arkay

    Terra Arkay Master

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    My main protagonist is an immigrant in fact... to a whole new world. He's was born on Earth but gets transported to another planet after an event happens on Earth.
     
  13. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Grandmaster

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    I wouldn't be discarding him completely. I think after the first couple of stories I would be too attached to faze him out or kill him off.
    As Elder said, I would be introducing the characters and the world through his insights, it makes it easier on me to explain through his eyes so it will be the immigrant info-dumping through what he sees, smells, and generally perceives about the new land. His homeland would be fleshed out and important later on, but I wouldn't want to go into too much detail about his homeland right away.

    Twervin: I think I would be doing a series of short stories to introduce the world, leaving the option open to branch out to other cameo characters or secondary characters, like Joe Ambercrombie's books, but with a series of short stories.

    Thanks for all the feedback!
     
  14. Amanita

    Amanita Scribal Lord

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    I'm doing something similar. My main character has to leave her home country due to her magic and is forced to get along in another country. (And I often let my characters travel between different countries and notice the differences. ;))
    She stays one of the main characters though, but more people are getting involved in the action.
     
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