November 25, 2020, 08:14:04 AM

Author Topic: Write Fantasy as if it is History  (Read 4001 times)

Offline Yora

Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2016, 11:33:56 AM »
I probably didn't read far enough, but the apparent lack of a world beyond the line of sight of the main character was one of the reasons I got bored with it and never finished it. There was his tale about the coup in a distant kingdom and the wine makers wanting to relocate their entire business before it gets confiscated, but while that country was real, the whole story was made up.
Though maybe there was more after that point.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2016, 02:21:50 PM »
There's a lot of stuff. You have the mage culture, the ancient glass towers, those other countries... My favorite is Red Seas Under Red Skies, not just because the plot is awesome, but the setting is stunning. That was one of the few books where I enjoyed reading about the world.

Offline shadowkat678

Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2016, 10:05:34 PM »
There have been several writers who are said to have created fantasy stories of high quality because they were treating it as if it were history. And I think on an abstract level, I do have a rough idea and understanding what that could mean.

But how would that translate into practice? It sounds simple enough and like something anyone could do. But what does it really mean?

I always think of Tolkien and Martin, like others have said, when I think of this. It's something that just adds to what you're reading, a little thing here and there, a detail that adds to the world and, like others have said, makes it feel like it's been there before you start the book and will be there after you finish the book. Well, unless you destroy the world for that last part.

A writer shouldn't info dump about it, but maybe something like Ollivander's in Harry Potter, where the shop sign shows "since 382 B.C". Or how you can incorporate details to different places your characters go. A fishing town would be different from a desert city. Religion is a big one. Every culture has their own, and it's part of your world's history. It's background, something that gives it a feel of a real place. Again, it doesn't have to be told. Your character could walk past a temple where purple cloaked figures were burning incase. They could walk past a memorial that marks the scene of a tragedy. Maybe, like Dawnstar in Skyrim, a city was destroyed at one point and still hasn't been fully rebuilt. Burnt down houses among the new, holes in the ground where lightning spells destroyed cobbles, etc. The people would act different based on the area's experiences. Even something that happened a hundred years in the past could still have an effect, fear that's passed down from grandparents to their children to their children's children about a certain people or place.

Or, if you're writing a battle, maybe a general takes tactics from a famous previous war. You could also, as has too been pointed out, go with the "history is made by the victors" jazz to throw readers off, just to find out it was untrue later on and it could have something to do with the plot.

There's many reasons to develop history in your fictional world. Look in the real world, and see how it affects us. History has shaped borders, outlooks on ourselves, on neighboring countries, on ethnic groups, on everything. Your main characters are likely affected in one or more ways by this as well, even if you never mention it in the book, but it could help you understand how they grew up the way they did. It also depends on social class. Do they have access to accurate documentation, or has it gone down through word of mouth, likely stretching the truth?

So, so, so many things you can do with history.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.