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Story Guidelines

Discussion in 'Mythic Archipelago' started by Telcontar, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    Writing a story can be hard. Finishing one is harder. Below you'll find some tips and tricks to not only help you complete your stories, but to help them fit seamlessly with the rest of the work done by others.

    Keep the Numbers Fuzzy
    How many people live in the Archipelago? How long does it take to sail from X to Y? How long would it take to march the same distance? How big is the army? How much, how many, how much, how many....


    Nobody wants to have to wade through a bunch of stories and appendices just to find out how long the average voyage between two islands is. If one person writes about “one of the biggest cities in the archipelago” and puts its population at fifty thousand people, and another person writes about “one of the largest cities in the archipelago” and says it houses five hundred thousand people, we have a pretty jarring inconsistency. Drop the numbers. Just say it's a big city, or a big army, and leave it at that.

    Start Shorter/Serialize
    Fantasy writers in general (and we denizens of Mythic Scribes in particular, I've noticed) have a habit of focusing on the epic stories to the exclusion of all else. We all want to be the one to write the next multi-volume door stopper series. That's great, but chances are we never will, because writing a story of that size is freaking hard. Realize that if you set out to write a book based in the Archipelago, you may never finish — but if you set out to write something shorter, your chances go up. By writing a larger story in smaller chunks (serializing), you create an epic in the long term while still finishing things in the short term.

    Related to the above, don't try to cram every world-building detail you thought of into that first story. Focus on the major element you need to get across, and depict it thoroughly and stylishly in one story. Keep doing that and before long you've finished ten stories and we, your adoring audience, have a clear picture of the setting you wanted us to see.

    Try Different Settings
    You'd be amazed what a change of mental scenery can do for your motivation. If writing about trade between the islands isn't lighting your fire anymore, try going back a ways — a long ways, like to the ice age. Stories can be told of that time, too, or of the time when most of the islands were under Imperial rule, or any time in between.

    Use the History
    Much of the Archipelago has been united under common rule in the past, and this results in a few handy things for our stories:
    Common Language: Most islanders speak their native languages, but the Imperial Language (Astaran) is known throughout the region, and chances are that many traders, politicians, rulers, and the like will speak it, even if their island was never under imperial control.
    S.T. Ockenner and Taro like this.
  2. Taro

    Taro Minstrel

    Cool, this definitely gives me a clearer picture of how to go about writing something for my island :) thanks Telco

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