Setting the Environment

Along with creating complex characters and compelling plot lines, developing the world in which the stories take place is critical. The historical exposition, whether it’s strictly based on Real world events, a completely fictional time / place, or something in between is one component of world / universe building. The science behind the environment(s) in which the characters interact is important to develop and / or create, whether (again) it’s based on pure facts or entirely made up (this is different from “alternative facts”) as it can shape every aspect of the story.

The world of the MASC Chronicles, that elusive enigma that is my epic work in progress, and began as a short story about 24 years (!!) ago, spans several centuries across (probably) similar terrain. The setting will most definitely be Earth bound, as the series (as it’s quasi-structured thus far) will not veer too far into the science fiction arena, though a brief sojourn into the realm of fantasy is possible.

Well, (almost) anything is possible when creating a fictional world. Then again, the Real World these days is (slightly) stranger than fiction.

Anyway.

The topic of environment and its impact on the writing process arose mainly because it’s Earth Day today; it’s a facet in the process of world / universe building that seems to not have as much focus as the historical elements of the story. (Not quite sure if that last sentence makes any sense, but I hope it does). The physical environment in which the story is set influences the characters’ behavior toward one another and to the circumstances in which the characters find themselves. Extreme conditions (drought, flood, nuclear radiation, etc.) are often the catalyst from which the narrative can spring forth – how the characters deal with the issue and / or the consequences of the Event is fodder for the Story.

The physical environment also sets the tone of the overall story; the landscape and weather conditions are like another character in the story – figuratively or literally. Doom and gloom seem to be a popular setting into which to fling characters and see how they deal with the cards they have been dealt. Even ideal, “perfect” worlds have some imperfections, depending on the characters’ perspectives. After all, if everything is “perfect” then problems / conflict would not arise, and there would not be as many stories to tell; conflict (of various sorts) is vital to a story, regardless of genre.

Whether or not there’s a happy ending is questionable, though there has to be some sort of resolution at the end, else the story doesn’t really end – it just stops.

Brief update (of sorts) of the state of the Land of Exposition (which hasn’t been mentioned too much in recent entries): the weather has stabilized a bit, after the surprise bout of snow. Spring has sprung with intermittent pockets of bracing wind and rain; the Real Life Brigade has undergone a turnover in leadership, leading to uncertainty among its ranks. Change is in the air, amid the pollen and fleeting aroma of bacon (its source still unknown) – attempts at anticipating those unexpected curve balls have been fairly successful, though the variables remain as such.

Plotting and pondering, as well as editing and actual!writing has progressed slowly amid the distractions and digressions.

It’s been a little over four years since I started this blog, and the forward momentum has not been as monumental as I had hoped. Then again, more than 120,000 words have been written (random musings and such) so that’s an achievement right?

Back to plotting, pondering and world building.

Happy Earth Day – it’s important to take care of this planet, as it’s the only one that can sustain life (as far as we know).

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