June 3rd, 2014

Fireworks Delight

Writing Excuses 9.23: World Building without Breaking Viewpoint

Writing Excuses 9.23: World Building without Breaking Viewpoint

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/06/01/writing-excuses-9-23-world-building-without-breaking-viewpoint/

Key points: How do you get across world building with a character who has a limited view? I.e., how can the fish tell you about water? There are a number of hacks, including the Watson character and a scientist who is studying it. But when you have a character who is completely immersed, how do you do this? First, make it a fun reveal with subtle clues that the reader puts together. Second, don't make the setting the whole story. Third, put extra time into exposition. Making it a significant plot point allows the extra description. Or make it jarring and incidental. An oddity for those who don't understand it, an Easter egg for those who get it. Accept that some of your readers will not get it. Another trick is putting characters in situations where something is new, so they describe it, and in the process, describe the background. Give your characters reasons to think about things that are related to the scene, the moment. Make sure you follow the motivation, the passions and inclinations of the characters, not the plot necessities. Align the character's motives with getting the information to the reader in ways that are fun to read. Use emotions to mask information. Try writing it several different ways to discover what works best. Hacks: having someone from another culture, or a scientist or student investigating; analogies and idioms of the local culture; make the element plot or character important, to bring it to the forefront; curses and insults.
Collapse )
[Brandon] All right. Let's go ahead and do a writing prompt. Howard, do you have a writing prompt?
[Howard] I do. Come up with a really, really nifty high-tech sort of setting with some sense of wonder and some cool bits that you would love to describe to a modern reader, and then have point of view characters be... I don't want to say cavemen type folk, but people who don't understand this stuff and have to... Happen to be living among it and try to explain it to us from the perspective of somebody who will have no idea how it works, but takes it for granted.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
  • Current Mood
    smug