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The Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes Earth

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Jdailey1991, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    The Rocky Mountains on Great Lakes Earth have a different road from ours. If we use it on our map, we’d see the Rockies starting in the Arctic coast of the Northwest Territories and zigzagging across the Alberta-Saskatchewan border before sharply detouring through the westernmost thirds of North and South Dakota and through the Nebraska Panhandle. After northwestern Nebraska, the mountains drop down to southeastern Colorado, northwestern Oklahoma and western Texas before meandering to what we’d recognize as the Pecos River that separates Texas from Mexico.

    While our Rockies stand no taller than 14,440 feet above sea level, the tallest peak in a Great Lakes Rockies is measured to be 14,505 feet. Not only that, they aged differently as well. Back home, our Rockies formed between 80 and 55 million years ago through the Laramide Orogeny, the subduction of the North American and Pacific Plates at a shallow angle. Their Rockies first formed 120 million years ago as the result of a collision between eastern and western North America. They stopped becoming active shortly before the dinosaur extinction. Even so, the rate of decay in Great Lakes Earth is significantly smaller than back home, for the main rocks are schist, granite and gneiss, tough rocks with small vulnerabilities.

    With these changes, will the Midwest today still be prairie? Will the changes affect the danger zone called Tornado Alley in any way?
     
  2. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Ummmm...... Maybe?
    There is just not enough information here to even begin to answer your question, and I doubt that you could get a satisfactory answer at all. Weather and climate are just too complicated. For the purpose of a book, most readers will probably never question the weather patterns behind your landscape. There's no way that you could provide the reader with enough information for them to question the climate without breaking the flow of the story, so you can probably just create something that looks halfway reasonable and not worry about it. Of course, if you want to do a deep analysis of your world's climate, you can do that too.
     
  3. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    How does this affect the story?

    The changes appear relatively minor - a few hundred feet in elevation, a shifting of a few hundred miles. From my possibly flawed understanding, much of 'Tornado Alley's' weather has its origin in the Gulf of Mexico and further south.
     
  4. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    Why ask that?
     
  5. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    The only thing I can think of is that the Great Lakes region may be drier. We get most of our weather from the west, and even though the lakes provide us with rain and lake effect snow (yay), storms moving across the lakes from the west tend to be more powerful than ones which form over the lakes. If the Rockies were to have a higher altitude, that might act as a barrier which would cause more rainfall on one side and less on the other. Sort of like Oregon's terrain, but less extreme.
     
  6. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    The same could be said of your original question as per the replies above.

    The reason to ask why it affects the story is that it is the story that matters, not the background.

    Tell the story. Make it exciting. Draw the reader in. Fill in and support the story with background information (such as mountains/plains/tornados) as needed.

    The important thing is the story. Make it interesting to the reader.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
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  7. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    KC is dead right in his response.

    We ask that because this is a writing site, not a geography and climate site. They ask for that information because they believe it will help them give you a better answer, or help them determine whether they should answer your question at all.

    The question that comes to my mind is "Why not answer that?"
     
  8. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    Will that free northeastern Nebraska from being a part of Tornado Alley?
     
  9. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    Know your own world before writing the story.
     
  10. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That strikes me as the backwards way of approaching the story, unless the nature of the world led to the premise for the story.

    Generally the world should serve the story not the other way round.

    There are some cases where this is not the best course, but they are actually pretty rare. If the premise of your story is "what happens if a new ice age comes" then the geography and climate data may come first. But somehow I don't think a compelling premise for a story is "what if the rocky mountains were much farther east and 100 ft higher?"

    World building can be a fine hobby, but for the vast majority of fiction writing it is secondary to the tale you are telling. A novel is not a game of "Sim Earth" reduced to narrative.
     
  11. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    Wrong. You need to map ahead and hope it passes for credibility before making stories set in that world.
     
  12. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    Not to be negative or disparage you from your pursuits, but I must wonder if you have ever actually written a story or if you are just into world building?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  13. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    Great Lakes Earth is a project that I've been creating and recreating for the past few years. As soon as the realistic side of it passes as credible, then I have the clear go-to to put my stories in that setting.
     
  14. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    So no then.

    Thanks. That seemed to be the case.

    Carry on.
     
    Russ likes this.
  15. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    As someone who did a good year-and-a-half of world-building before writing any stories that take place in it, I have to agree with ThinkerX, kennyc, and Russ here.

    As you may have heard, there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is no right or wrong way, so long as a compelling story is eventually arrived at. In my case, I simply wanted to have a lot of the names and places and people mostly ready to go so I wouldn't have to be slowed down inventing them all on the spot. I'm glad I got that work done, but the last thing I'm going to do with it is find places in my stories to include it (not that you will necessarily be doing this, but there's no way for me to know). It is there as background, to provide cohesion and consistency. The main points are theme, character, conflict, and ideas.

    Other folks tackle this differently and there is nothing wrong with that.

    So, you can world-build. And that is good. But how is your prose? Your characters? Your plot structures? Your pacing and execution? These elements are also important to a good novel. At least, most readers think so. You might try your hand at a short story or two, just to try to find out.
     
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  16. Jdailey1991

    Jdailey1991 Troubadour

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    First, I have to be sure that the world and history I've created are believable enough BEFORE writing character-centered stories set in that world.
     
  17. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    That's a fine way to go about things, and my reply is that as long as you stay temperate (as in climate, not in the virtue), you can justify a great deal of weather changes with this scenario and it will be believable enough.
     
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