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  1. #16
    Clarion of Revelations Feliciano's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    @Llama_Guy; I'm inclined to disagree with you on one thing. I don't know how common this is, but I've been taught (and always figured) that you shouldn't write with a specific audience in mind. The logic goes that if you're writing for an audience, you're constantly hung up with trying to please them, and that hamstrings the story's capability to reach its full potential. Maybe this goes more for work intended for publication (in which you don't have an audience with a couple guaranteed things in common, as is the case here by virtue of this being a pokemon forum), but I've found it to be a very consistent lesson, and often one that takes a huge load of stress off while I'm writing.

    This of course doesn't mean that you should just write without direction, because that's just as certain a way for your story to fall apart. But there is certainly a danger of focusing too much on pandering to your audience.
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    @Feliciano;

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy
    I prefer writing slow-paced stories, so I aim my stories at readers who like a slower pace, philosophical ruminations and those kinds of things. That mean I feature a lot of description of every kind generally no matter what kind of story I am writing. Today however, the more fast-paced stories filled with thrills tend to be more popular. If you are writing a story aimed at such a demographic, then lengthy descriptions of any kind are generally bad - even if writng an epic fantasy story of love and adventure or whatever.
    What I'm trying to say here is that I aim my stories at a specific kind of audience because I enjoy writing that particular kind of story - i.e. the intended demographic is a result of the kind of story I'm writing for my own enjoyment, not vice versa. I wasn't trying to say that you should write with a specific audience in mind, I was trying to say that if you have a specific audience in mind, then this would invariably implicate a need to keep an eye on several aspects of your description. Example: Given that faster thrills were more popular today as opposed to slow-paced fiction (no idea whether this is actually true), and I wanted to write a story that would sell in high numbers so I could earn my living from book royalties alone, I would write such a story, and I would keep the demographic in mind, and this would directly affect how I describe things. Not only in lengthiness, but in use of words, complexity, and so on. Had I been writing merely for my own enjoyment and cared not for eventual sales, I'd have written without even considering such things -not more than what was required for a minimum level of consistency for my story, and that is another thing I'd like to stress; for the sake of good flow and pacing, and not throwing readers off course, one shouldn't change the style of writing too dramatically.

    In the end, whether or not you want to write for a specific demographic is up to you. You shouldn't force yourself if you don't want to, nor should you force yourself away from it if you want to.
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  3. #18
    Clarion of Revelations Feliciano's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    @Llama_Guy; My mistake...I must have missed that paragraph. Didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

    So to get a little bit back on topic, I'm curious about something. Since this is a lesson on description AND worldbuilding, how do you guys world your worldbuilding into your story and description?
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    I explain about my world as needed, or try to weave information in conversation and description
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  5. #20

    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    I prefer not to state my worldbuilding outright at all. I like stories which engage my brain and make me work for the answers - when a protagonist just starts vomiting exposition about their world, then I start flipping tables. If your worldbuilding is good and consistant, then we should be able to deduce how the world works just from looking at how the world works, if that makes any sense.

    Of course, expositiondumping isn't always bad: for instance, I don't actually mind it when it happens in Harry Potter, because Harry is an outsider to the wizarding world and it makes sense that he'd ask a lot of questions and need every new concept explained to him. (My current fanfic is PMD-based so expositiondumping is necessary, to my eternal shame.)
    Last edited by R0-S3; 7th June 2012 at 05:43 AM.
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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    I have a question for you guys to consider:

    Can purple prose ever work in a story? If so, why?
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  7. #22
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    On worldbuilding:

    I love it. I build worlds in my spare time. Not necessarily writing them out, just musing about them in my head. If they're good, I'll write them down, and they will give me a great feel for the setting when I get to writing a story in it.

    So, I will start to rant on worldbuilding now. Before I start, however, I should note that each of these points is of a different magnitude of import in different stories. Action-y pieces rarely go deeply into the ancient history or just why things ended up the way they are beyond just enough to explain why the action is happening, while mysteries may delve deeply into these things.

    History: What has already happened in your world. Recent history is almost always mandatory, unless you are literally starting from the first moment of your universe. History explains why things are the way they are. Using the real world as an example (as if it were a fictional world), if I was doing a war story between America and Russia I would, at the very least, have to do a brief explanation of things to around the Cold War and probably before, depending on the scope of the story. There are thousands of "Why?"s in your story that can be answered by history. In a story I'm writing right now, the history goes back at least fifty years, as the main antagonist's story began then. You need, at the very least, a very bare-bones history of every character. That means events that made them the way they are: how and where they were raised, traumatic events, happy events, etc. A basic list of things like that. This doesn't need to be massive for older (nigh-immortal) characters, either: the shortest personal history I have in my current story is a character that has lived through the life of the universe multiple times.

    Geography, surroundings, etc.: Obviously, you need a physical world to place your story in. Are there mountains? Deserts? Rainforests? Steppes, tundras, plains? How many continents? How many are inhabited? By whom? Wildlife? Oceans? Lakes? Floating islands? Volcanic plains? Rivers?

    Culture, lore: Though these are two different things, I'm grouping them here. Culture is (basically) what the various peoples of your story are like. History figures in majorly to this. Lore also is heavily affected by history and affects and is affected by culture: basically, what do people believe? Do they have stories? Myths? Is a shred of it true? I, personally, have built an entire pantheon of gods from scratch to use in my stories. I even have a few myths to go along with it. But on culture and lore: NOTHING is to outlandish or absurd. Look at the various people of our world. We're kind of all really, really weird.

    GOVERNMENT: This is a big one for Pokemon fics, and relevant for all other stories. I'll focus on Pokemon fics first. Why is it important? Because we know nothing about how the Pokemon world is run, and many people try and puzzle it out. If you want to do ANYTHING with government, though, especially in a setting where it's never been brought up in canon, you need to do A LOT. A FREAKISHLY huge amount. You need to determine how it's run, how it works, why they operate the way they do, come up with explanations for how they reacted to various events (villainous teams, near-apocalyptic scenarios), EVERYTHING. Otherwise you almost definitely WILL run into a roadblock, sooner or later, because you're trapped between canon and the mechanics of your world, and need to sacrifice one or the other.

    In non-Pokemon stories, though, government is still usually important to some degree. Is it religiously motivated? How do they choose leaders? Etc., etc.

    There are a lot more facets to worldbuilding, but, really, if you want to get worldbuilding, start out with a basic setting (i.e. set up what you need for the story) and then start asking "Why is this like this?", look up information on the subject, Wikipedia, Google, everything. Ask the right questions and you'll get great answers.
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  8. #23
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    But at the same time, TOO much description is often just as damaging. Want to see an example of WAY TOO MUCH description? Here: Check out the Prologue of this terrible fic.
    lol, I remember trying to read this a long time ago because it was so popular, and i was like "What am reading?"

    Anyway, for me when world building you have to focus on knowing the world yourself first and in a very detailed manner, even if some details won't end up being written that way you can fully understand your own world and later be able to describe it correctly and in the way that you wanted it to be.

    Also for world building, never describe too much of your world at a time, try to give out the information in healthy doses, so that you don't overwhelm the reader.

    As for description in a general sense, well just try as hard as possible to give the appropriate amount of description to what you want and just enough so that you don't describe the extra details that you know. Because the thing is there are so many details to describe and if we focused our time in trying to describe them we would never be able to finish a story, so what I'm trying to say is: only describe what is relevant to the plot/characters/world or at most what you think as the author of the story is suitable and related to the story as a whole.

    The readers don't want to read everything, they only want to read what they thinks is interesting.
    Last edited by Safe-T; 12th June 2012 at 02:10 PM.

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  9. #24
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    For description (now that I've gone and found Legacy's fic that seems to be the main example for overdoing it): put about as much descriptions as YOU YOURSELF would pay attention to. If you're running through a hallways, it's just a hall, and you're more focused on the armed guards trying to kill you that are right on your heels.

    However, when you look out of the dusty cavern you've lived your whole life in for the first time, and see the beautiful sky and the clouds in their myriad shapes, the majestically towering mountains in the distance, capped with pure, white snow, and the lush, vibrant forests thriving in the cavernous valleys below, you want to drink in as many details as you can, absorbing all the beauty of the world and committing it to memory so that you never, ever forget the first taste of fresh, open air, or the first echoes of birds chirping softly to the dazzling, fiery sunrise, the first time that you feel grass and sod squish between your toes as you step lightly so as to not disturb the millions upon millions of hardworking ants underfoot. You want to KNOW all of that. It's an amazing feeling.

    But the hallway? All you want to know is when you can turn and ways to block your pursuers.
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  10. #25
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by StePK View Post
    For description (now that I've gone and found Legacy's fic that seems to be the main example for overdoing it): put about as much descriptions as YOU YOURSELF would pay attention to. If you're running through a hallways, it's just a hall, and you're more focused on the armed guards trying to kill you that are right on your heels.

    However, when you look out of the dusty cavern you've lived your whole life in for the first time, and see the beautiful sky and the clouds in their myriad shapes, the majestically towering mountains in the distance, capped with pure, white snow, and the lush, vibrant forests thriving in the cavernous valleys below, you want to drink in as many details as you can, absorbing all the beauty of the world and committing it to memory so that you never, ever forget the first taste of fresh, open air, or the first echoes of birds chirping softly to the dazzling, fiery sunrise, the first time that you feel grass and sod squish between your toes as you step lightly so as to not disturb the millions upon millions of hardworking ants underfoot. You want to KNOW all of that. It's an amazing feeling.

    But the hallway? All you want to know is when you can turn and ways to block your pursuers.
    Very nicely put. But my next question is where do we draw the line between good description and purple prose?
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  11. #26
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    If you're working hard to think of adjectives that are not synonymous with those you've already used in description, great! If you're using a thesaurus and burning out every synonym you can find, describing the same thing over and over... not so great.

    That's my personal view. However, different people have different 'breaking points', and even the same person might have a different breaking point between books/authors/genres.
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  12. #27
    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by StePK View Post
    If you're working hard to think of adjectives that are not synonymous with those you've already used in description, great! If you're using a thesaurus and burning out every synonym you can find, describing the same thing over and over... not so great.
    Another problem with this is that sometimes you come across apparent synonyms that, whilst having almost the same meaning, aren't really applicable as such in whatever context you're writing them in.

    *

    So people, a question regarding world-building: Roads, and what to do with them?

    See, in most cities in the anime you see roads that apparently are for cars, and in Isshu the games even feature a highway. Now, it seems natural for there to be roads at all, or some other type of public transport through the countries of the pokemon world. This would, however, lead to the problem that roads or train tracks or whatever would take very natural routs from city to city, thus it would seem natural for trainers to follow close to or on these roads/tracks. This however isn't all that cool when writing a journey fic; you want them to travel through the wild. There are a few ways to solve this:

    - Simply don't have roads (which fits poorly with how I handle the pokemon world)
    - As the above, but complement this wit something like a subway (this however seems a bad idea given the number of big and/or strong subterranean pokemon)
    - Just make most trainers voluntarily go off-track (which also is a bad idea given how I handle the pokemon world {too far off the standard routes and the pokemon are simply too strong and dangerous for the average trainer})
    - Have people rely on pokemon transport (i.e. taxi-like companies with flying/fast-running pokemon transporting you between cities, then roads and cars within cities)

    While I'm more inclined towards the latter point, I would like to see what your ideas regarding the matter are.
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  13. #28
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    So people, a question regarding world-building: Roads, and what to do with them?

    See, in most cities in the anime you see roads that apparently are for cars, and in Isshu the games even feature a highway. Now, it seems natural for there to be roads at all, or some other type of public transport through the countries of the pokemon world. This would, however, lead to the problem that roads or train tracks or whatever would take very natural routs from city to city, thus it would seem natural for trainers to follow close to or on these roads/tracks. This however isn't all that cool when writing a journey fic; you want them to travel through the wild. There are a few ways to solve this:

    - Simply don't have roads (which fits poorly with how I handle the pokemon world)
    - As the above, but complement this wit something like a subway (this however seems a bad idea given the number of big and/or strong subterranean pokemon)
    - Just make most trainers voluntarily go off-track (which also is a bad idea given how I handle the pokemon world {too far off the standard routes and the pokemon are simply too strong and dangerous for the average trainer})
    - Have people rely on pokemon transport (i.e. taxi-like companies with flying/fast-running pokemon transporting you between cities, then roads and cars within cities)

    While I'm more inclined towards the latter point, I would like to see what your ideas regarding the matter are.
    That's actually very interesting. I've found it convenient to just follow the game routes and roads, taking short cuts by crossing though forests, of course with the exception of anything you find necessary for your story or plot.

    As for transportation, well that really depends essentially on the theme of the story. For example someone could be writing a future fic, in which case transportation would be something equivalent to teleportation and not supposedly the pokemon kind. While if it were a historical the transportation would be pokemon in a general sense. Though if we suppose the time is like ours currently, then well... bikes, cars, airplanes, copters...etc and even pokemon.

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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    I've been thinking about how transportation should work as well. In the main games, we barely see vehicles (with the exception of Unova, as Llama_Guy mentioned). In the side games (Pokémon Colosseum and Gale of Darkness), however, it is quite obvious that transportation is one of the only means of getting from point A to B, due to Orre mostly being a desert.

    We can't deny that cars and motorcycles etc. exists, but they're not the main focus in the main games. So they shouldn't be either in our fics, unless of course they play a role or two. An example could be that a trainer is in a hurry to reach the next city because the gym is going to close, and he needs the final badge. Thus, the trainer is going to hitch a ride in order to get there in time. It happens in the real world (the hitch riding that is), so why not in the Pokémon world?

    As for roads, my best possible explanation would be that they are and should be separate from the routes trainers usually walks through. Besides, places like the Victory Road, Chargestone Cave or the Twist Mountain are impossible for vehicles to get through.
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  15. #30
    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Description and Worldbuilding

    Mountains are traversable by vehicles? They're called tunnels 8D

    Anyway, I'm more a sucker for the pokemon transportation idea. Why ride a polluting, slow car when you can ride a pidgeot flying at mach two (or whatever speed that's lower and won't kill you)?

    If there were cars, they'd only ride on certain roads, maybe they are even built for off-road? There's several placed seen in the anime that seemed pretty traversable by cars without there being an actual road there. Gary also drove a car. Also, one of the first few episodes of the DP series show a car, on a road.

    Grr~

    Going with the transport thing. It's not like I haven't changed the entire pokemon canon already anyway :P
    Last edited by TheLlama; 13th June 2012 at 07:06 PM.
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