Sunday, 8 February 2015

World Rules vs Known Rules

For quite some time I've been delving into sites about faith, gods, physics and maths and the history of these, because I felt that often writers give the readers/players too much.Just wanted to share some thoughts

Historically, we're ignorant

Humans, on earth, have frequently been wrong. Ignorant of the world around us. But we're also creative. so far more often than not, when someone didn't understand something, but couldn't be seen/known to 'not' know the answer, they invented the most plausible answer they could think of, and, until someone thought of something better, it was given.

So why do writers assume anything different?

Well, most likely because its easier to just have the rules of the world match the understanding of the reader, and I'm going to do it right now: I'll invent a plausible answer because I don't have enough research of the subject matter, because most likely the reader needs to either identify with the subject material, or they need to plausibly believe the difference between their own understanding and this 'fictional reality'.

Some of the best writing I've read, the authour has created a set of rules for his universe, but had the characters in the story, not understand that set of rules.. instead the rules of the character were something less than correct. It wasn't the premise of the story, but was critical to the structure of the plot.

But its not often (maybe I'm just not reading the right people)

Now I'm not talking about authours who use the same logic structure on an earth setting, (IMHO) its not so creative to use an already established scientific misdemeanor, such as a group of people that believe the world is flat, such a common and dis-proven that anyone actually thought this post-greek maths.

Nor am I talking about using theories about our world about the rules of our universe, and using one theory to write a nice novel about. 

I'm talking about world building here. When you build your own world, with your own set of logic and rules that govern the world, and then.. you build another set of rules that the inhabitants of the world have come to believe.

Then we take it further

 So we create a world, and its different in some way, that makes it interesting to write about. We add inhabitants, being a complex and dynamic world, for the existence of plot, we need different races maybe, or different species someone to antagonize the other. and they have their own beliefs, to break the egg at one end or the other or what have you. How 'right' are they? 

The conflict of different people over any given difference, is 99% of history, be it peaceful or bloody conflict. The culture and learnings of races, the fall and demise of the ones that backed the wrong belief or sometimes the right one, leaving a culture to struggle with itself until an inevitable reversal of ideals to match with the scientific research of the day.

While this may be a small aspect of the plot, its usually this kind of backstory that shows me the reader, that this world is not just a fly by night construct, that your book/world is going to exist for a a long time to come, and if I invest my money and time in your product, I'm going to get a return on that investment. i.e. more future enjoyment as you publish several books/products

1 comment:

Mik McAllister said...

Very nice. I have, in the past, pointed out that what a character believes to be true is not necessarily true (and characters can lie, as well). I think that this is another of the essential conflicts of storytelling, along with "man versus fellow man" (pardon me for the inherent sexism), "man versus nature", and "man versus himself" - adding "man versus his own ignorance". It's the story of science and discovery, as well as self-discovery.