April 08, 2020, 08:48:19 AM

Author Topic: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding  (Read 30122 times)

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #90 on: August 12, 2015, 05:52:21 PM »
I saw that in the Guardian. As with so many of those type of things, it annoys me how they've simplified it - particularly the "all herbivores are ruminants" meme. :-\

right?  i mean, "helllllooooo....  dragons?"

Offline Nora

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #91 on: October 08, 2015, 01:37:04 PM »
http://fossilworks.org/

Check out this website! It allows you to do many types of research, by genre or by location or time, on the types of fossils found in the area of your choice.

So if you want to know what lived in Melbourne a million years ago, bim! Answer!  ;D

Also has a specific map generator!

Also, dinosaurs!!!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 02:48:12 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #92 on: October 11, 2015, 11:25:33 AM »
^ I found that site a big confusing, to be honest. Couldn't see where I find the map of my area...

And I saw this today on the BBC News site, about current Jousting :D
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33995808
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Offline Nora

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #93 on: October 22, 2015, 06:00:59 AM »
Ok a post full of videos.

I'm just sharing some random things I've been using to help with world building, see if anyone can benefit from it.

One of these things is foreign, totally alien music and videos of people playing them. I usually listen to a lot of drums from all around the world, and chants in foreign languages also help me while I write. They can give me ideas, spark images in my mind.
But what I really appreciate is the ideas they can give me for a more realistic world. Did you know how epic and intense a three strings instrument can get?
Or needing some otherworldly string music and needing a visual to help along your description?
This is just a random assortment of things that are very real and that force us to be a bit more original - I think, in our ideas for our own alien worlds.

Let me introduce you to some videos that I think are cool to browse, even if it's not your thing. I'd also love to get some replies in that area... if you have your own stash of interesting musics, please reply!  ;D

Here is one of my favorite types of drums, the japanese taiko drums. This big boy is O daiko, the biggest drum and deserves the volume on maximum :

[youtube]C7HL5wYqAbU[/youtube]


The Shamisen is a three strings instrument from Japan. Fun fact? Student use(d) shamisen made out of dog skin, while advanced players have them made out of cat skin. Not shitting you. The art is even in danger these days because Japan has only one tannery left that can make cat leather.

These brothers are famous and rather popular, though I wouldn't listen to that in particular :

[youtube]MgN_xIHqLUA[/youtube]

But the video that first sat me back on my haunches and caught my eye was from that guy :

It's a shame the video isn't of greater quality because it doesn't do the instrument justice, but the guy is so skilled, his song so graphic, and his hands are totally captivating :

[youtube]qWJrMA3zJ5o[/youtube]

China is the country for badass instruments that sound weird yet awesome.

The Guzheng looks crazy and sounds like many tacky chinese action movies. The players tape their fingers with the picks in order to play :

[youtube]ujzMHLac404[/youtube]



Different asian countries have different version of it. The yagta is mongolian. Look at this artist making modifications on her instrument. Look at that headdress!

[youtube]fjy4htp89VU[/youtube]

I have a pretty strong fondness for mongolian music. One of my favorite band has a couple of songs for example, where I only have to close my eyes and listen to see entire scenes unfold and come to life.
Give them a shot, this band is called Anda Union :

[youtube]hCuqrF-3Q-Q[/youtube]

This one is insane. Their 2 stringed violin-like instruments imitate horses so well, it fills your brain with large plains and galloping soldiers.
 
[youtube]JX7S2p6Zxb4[/youtube]

Tibetan, mongols and others in that area are well known for their overtone "throat singing" which is totally tentalizing and alien to our western ears...

This guy gives a crazy example of that, though the quality is a bit crap, at least you can see him sing both with throat and normal voice and it's pretty crazy :

[youtube]HwANedEkqaY[/youtube]

Check out the band Hanggai. They're chinese but love mongol music and have been doing modern songs. This one also has some throat singing. I used to listen to them a lot when I was road tripping through France.

[youtube]tTvyMBEDupQ[/youtube]

Totally different type of throat singing, from inuits. It's not made in the same manner, and it's crazily alien!
I think it's great to know about if you want to depict really awesomely weird musical habits :

[youtube]wEk5odW6KGY[/youtube]

In this one she explains it and it's batshit weird really.

[youtube]KNb2ZDjeiU4[/youtube]

And that's how it sounds like when she mixes as an album :

[youtube]7uS_OadHCWM[/youtube]

Insane right?

Completely different country, but even more impressive string instrument :



I listen to a bit of modern and traditional Native Indian music, but only recently discovered the religious songs going along with the Peyote cult. I find them very mesmerizing to listen to, without needing to know much about the meaning they wish to carry :

[youtube]QLvYp0vNEGY[/youtube]


Less foreign but even less of an excuse for boring street players or worlds without drums :





On a totally different topic but who knows, some of us do write about combatant... Do you know what Karate Katas are?
If not, don't research it but look at this first, I don't think one needs to understand to enjoy it. She's in France, look at the crowd being delighted, look at her warrior's stance, her perfect moves, and how she gets a standing ovation even though she just won against the french, in France!

[youtube]KTpM0d6lr4A[/youtube]

These guys are even crazier since they have to synchronize, and then work with each other :

[youtube]D50AVVpiAIg[/youtube]

What kata is : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_kata

I'm afraid this is all pretty chaotic and useless. Dunno, felt like sharing.  8)
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Yora

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #94 on: October 22, 2015, 11:29:03 AM »
On a totally different topic but who knows, some of us do write about combatant... Do you know what Karate Katas are?
If not, don't research it but look at this first, I don't think one needs to understand to enjoy it. She's in France, look at the crowd being delighted, look at her warrior's stance, her perfect moves, and how she gets a standing ovation even though she just won against the french, in France!

[youtube]KTpM0d6lr4A[/youtube]

These guys are even crazier since they have to synchronize, and then work with each other :

[youtube]D50AVVpiAIg[/youtube]

What kata is : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_kata

I'm afraid this is all pretty chaotic and useless. Dunno, felt like sharing.  8)
Eh... It's important to understand that this is not combat. Just because Asians are Asians doesn't mean their current forms of old arts and fighting are any more authentic than in Europe. Most modern asian martial arts competitions have as much to do with authentic combat as olympic fencing. When your goal is scoring points according to an arbitrary scoring system and the only penalty for a mistake is your opponent scoring a point, you fight completely different than when you're trying to kill and a mistake means getting killed.

(And since I am at it, though completely unrelated, the Japanese Tea Ceremony is a complete travesty of what the creator intended. Sitting in your backyard with a beer and watching the sunset is much closer to the original thing.)
And there's actually a good number of people who believe that the practicing of forms has very little effect on improving fighting skill.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

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Offline night_wrtr

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #95 on: October 22, 2015, 12:46:45 PM »
I have an old VHS of me doing a Kata at a competition. I was in karate for a few years in middle school. I knew them pretty well, but we didn't expect our instructors to use Korean language to assign the katas. So I froze for a couple of seconds until I recognized what the others were doing, then I started. It was awkward and embarrassing because the performers are supposed to do this in unison, so I was a few steps behind everyone else the entire time.

The school was Moo Duk Kwan -

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moo_Duk_Kwan
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 12:49:14 PM by night_wrtr »

Offline Nora

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #96 on: October 22, 2015, 02:10:42 PM »
Very interesting what you both say.
Of course it's not about fighting here, but can you really say that being good at kata is bad in combat? Maybe it doesn't influence a lot, but it can't be detrimental, can it?

I think it's interesting to see how we've pulled things out into useless but valuable activities. Like the tea ceremony, and other rituals that seem pointless. Katas would be weird to witness the first time right? If you didn't know what the person was doing...
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #97 on: October 22, 2015, 02:41:21 PM »
Very interesting what you both say.
Of course it's not about fighting here, but can you really say that being good at kata is bad in combat? Maybe it doesn't influence a lot, but it can't be detrimental, can it?

I think it's interesting to see how we've pulled things out into useless but valuable activities. Like the tea ceremony, and other rituals that seem pointless. Katas would be weird to witness the first time right? If you didn't know what the person was doing...

I would side with it being beneficial. Yes they are predetermined movements, which would not be useful in a fight with another person as a whole, but the movements would still be second nature. Practicing a dozen forms until they are ingrained into your mind would make it easier to react in a real life situation. You could flow in and out of each different kata, using specific movements from the form at appropriate times.

I don't think there is any kind of practice that wouldn't be beneficial in some way. 

Offline Yora

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #98 on: October 22, 2015, 04:33:03 PM »
Can't see how it could do any harm. And probably there is some benefit in practicing movements in a precise and choreographed way. But at the end of the day, it's still a sport. It's not combat.

Which in regard to fiction is problematic, as there's a huge number of people who describe sports and claim that it's real combat. You can do that, but when you claim what you're doing is closely inspired by actual combat, it will be disapointing to people who know the difference. Who would probably also be the people who would most appreciate the difference.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline ClintACK

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #99 on: October 22, 2015, 07:26:26 PM »
Which in regard to fiction is problematic, as there's a huge number of people who describe sports and claim that it's real combat. You can do that, but when you claim what you're doing is closely inspired by actual combat, it will be disapointing to people who know the difference. Who would probably also be the people who would most appreciate the difference.

This.  I worry about this in trying to write violence.

So far, I've tended towards flashes of panic and confusion and only really sorting out what happened later.  Focus on the emotions and the aftermath rather than a detailed blow-by-blow choreography.

Offline Mr.J

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #100 on: October 22, 2015, 09:40:22 PM »
Which in regard to fiction is problematic, as there's a huge number of people who describe sports and claim that it's real combat. You can do that, but when you claim what you're doing is closely inspired by actual combat, it will be disapointing to people who know the difference. Who would probably also be the people who would most appreciate the difference.

This.  I worry about this in trying to write violence.

So far, I've tended towards flashes of panic and confusion and only really sorting out what happened later.  Focus on the emotions and the aftermath rather than a detailed blow-by-blow choreography.
Was done writing a long post in response to this, accidentally clicked the back space button on the screen and it sent me back a page (WHY IS THAT A FEATURE LJSLKJFSDASFD).

So basically Bernard Cornwell is great at writing battles, I recommend his Grail Quest series.

Also my own writing with violence is pretty grim and up close, because that's what violence is. There's a danger to prettying it up I think too. I hope its not gratuitous, I don't feel as if it is. But I like focusing on the icky bits, the sweat, the liquids, eyeballs and nails against skin etc.

Should be in your face and fast because that's also what violence is really. Nothing more jarring to me than having a long ass fight that runs for two pages or more (unless its a sword fight/joust but even then, we can experience the heat and sweat and dust and filth inside the helmet can't we? Rather than just a blow-by-blow thing).

This should be it's own thread, How do you Write Violence?


Offline Yora

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #101 on: October 22, 2015, 09:51:16 PM »
This.  I worry about this in trying to write violence.

So far, I've tended towards flashes of panic and confusion and only really sorting out what happened later.  Focus on the emotions and the aftermath rather than a detailed blow-by-blow choreography.
Action scenes usually bore me. The emotional narrative is the interesting part. The swinging of sharpened bars of metal is not.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Nora

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #102 on: October 23, 2015, 12:57:26 AM »
Can't see how it could do any harm. And probably there is some benefit in practicing movements in a precise and choreographed way. But at the end of the day, it's still a sport. It's not combat.

Which in regard to fiction is problematic, as there's a huge number of people who describe sports and claim that it's real combat. You can do that, but when you claim what you're doing is closely inspired by actual combat, it will be disapointing to people who know the difference. Who would probably also be the people who would most appreciate the difference.

Totally agree. But, these sports are here for a reason, a reason so simple that it would also be in any fantasy world close to our own : they're substitute to real combat.
Some, like karate kata, have some measure of usefulness in real combat, others don't really... But at the end of the day, a nation at peace needs its members exercised.
So many of us have that drive! Running, climbing, swimming, martial arts, football, volleyball, basketball, cricket, tennis, boxing, triathlon! Ect.
Nowadays even martial arts can't even be deemed a reserve sort of occupation for the military, as it would have been back in the days of hand to hand combat.

Except that it was the case, back in the days. Being good at such a thing would make you survive in battle, and if your country/city was at peace for a decade, practicing kept you springy for the next round if you wanted to. Now, go figure the point of sports like Turkish Oil Wrestling...


But worlds are often too devoid of social traditions. And even mentioned in the background, I think it's a nice touch.

And while I like some gritty details in my own fights, I have to say that the kind of narrative you describe Mr J, is only valid if both parties are trained for combat.
I've been attacked several times, I've risked accidents several times as well, close calls.
Most of the time your entire body goes "Whoooaaa" and doesn't click. It feels like an internal bucket of cold water. That's the point of katas, the point of drilling. Professionals ingrain reactions in themselves to avoid that very dumb, reptilian cortex moment of stupor.
It's not really in your face in the first moments, you get very detached, when it falls on you by surprise. Actually had my life really close to being driven over, and you realise the extent of what happened a bit after...

In between combatant though, I guess it's totally different. trained minds and bodies wouldn't react the same way.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Nora

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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #103 on: December 24, 2015, 01:38:42 PM »
Here for anyone planning on writing about knights in full plate of armor. These are from the 15th century. Just look at it all, but especially the "mobility" part they show early on. It might debunk a few people's idea of the clumsiness of armor.

[youtube]5hlIUrd7d1Q[/youtube]
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline SarahW

Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
« Reply #104 on: December 28, 2015, 06:06:06 PM »
Well it's funny, whether I'm writing Fantasy or Science Fiction (I really don't make the distinction in my work) I seldomly use magic and generally base the plot around situations I'm familiar with.

Even if I make the world/colony a hellish meobius strip, the plot will always ultimately be slice of life and sitcom like. Some might call it plotless.