Fictioneering – The Power of Consistency

World building is hard at the best of times, creating news worlds, rules people, inventing a new society with all it rules is quite a challenge. As a writer this world there for the reader to discover in stories and through characters. This world need to be consistent in all the stories that are written, to assume the reader won’t notice small details is dangerous – because they will!

This kind of thing seems to happen more in TV I notice where a large amount of stories are needed. Let’s take Star Trek as an example, they’re good friends the Klingons have taken out their warp drive and they have to rely on only impulse drive.

The Starship Enterprise (No ownership claimed on image)

The impulse drive is able to take the Enterprise across a solar system in hours normally but suddenly in this case the story needs it to limp for weeks to the nearest worl, so limp it will.

It’s not limited to this – in a recent rather well known film that’s recently been released called Avengers Endgame (you may have heard of it) I noticed some inconsistency.

(Not really spoilers here but just in case look away now.)

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..Thanos (Josh Brolin)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

My problem is this, one minute a few of the Avengers turn up and quickly and easily restrain and disable the purple ogre. But later in the film we’ve got Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel and a load of them on his and guess what? The little shit stands there laughing it off nearly.


Inconsistencies are really irritating! They just are, and while a writer can never represent their world perfectly avoiding them is a must is possible! In a podcast I was listening to recently Andy Weir the author of the Martian expressed this saying that anything can happen in the world of Sci-Fi, if you can have faster than light drive or whatever it’s cool – but make sure that your story is consistent with how your world works.

So here’s a question – do you consider consistency in your world building? Do you have rules and limitations and do you know them so you can stick to them?

Or do you wing it?



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Fictioneering and creating worlds

In the world of writing especially in science fiction and fantasy, creating world that are different and interesting can be a challenge that can yield great rewards. The whole idea is to do something different, wonderful, terrible something that gives the story and the characters within it the right setting for their adventures.

What kind of worlds are there to use as a starting point? Looking at the basics we have Utopia which is a world of blissful content where everything is right and at the other end of the spectrum there is dystopia, which is world of chaos and discontent. Dystopian doesn’t have to be a post apocalyptic world but it would be fair to say that the post apocalyptic world is dystopian.

In between this there are many shades that can be added to these worlds, Star Trek was often very good at creating worlds that on the surface seemed utopian but under the surface the reality was very different. In the film Avatar a magical utipoian world was used as the setting but it was being threatened by human ambition and greed. The important point to take from this is that in a Utopian world if everything is fine there is no story, it either has to be an illusion or under threat.

Avartar

Floating Mountains in Avatar

This point was covered in the Matrix, when agent Smith told Morbius that the original Matrix was created as a comfortable utopia for humans, but we rejected it as being too good so it had to be re-made to be far less perfect for us to accept it. This is the same with story telling – the worlds we create for our stories have to have conflict within them or be part of conflict to have a story.

 

Agent Smith

Agent Smith in the Matrix

 


 

Lets forget the conflict for a though and think about what fictioneering we could do with our worlds to make them unique and fatastical. The key here is to look at everyday parts of the world and change them.

Examples of this are like:

  • A world with two suns.
  • Mountains that float.
  • Flying cars.

These have all been used, but just rolling off my head what about:

  • Waterfalls that flow upwards.
  • A world where the sun never sets or rises.
  • Water that can be breathed.
  • Rocks that move and are alive.

The possibilities are limitless and all these different little things are products of our diseased imaginations. Bring it on and let it shine! I think that every story needs to have the right world or universe created for it and it can make the story telling so much fun!

What strange worlds have you guys thought up?

NOTE: Images taken from Google, no ownership claimed on them

 

Planet Simon

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What’s Fictioneering and where does it come from?

Fictioneering is a term I thought up when I was trying to think of a way to describe the process of creating fictional characters, worlds, and concepts that can be used in my story telling. While I thought it up in my own mind I was gutted to find it was already in use. But nonetheless Fictioneering is going to be something I feature more of in my work and in this blog to be able to idendify and express the fictional creative process.

Fictioneering is a cross between fiction and engineering. Being an engineer myself I know that it’s very much about solving problems, coming up with ideas and pushing the boundaries. I find this works very well in science fiction becasue essentially a science fiction writer has to come up with new ideas, different tools and technologies that haven’t been thought of yet.

Looking back at some of the books I’ve read and films I’ve watched, Fictioneerng has been taking place all the time in the greatest of these stories. If we thik of the Jedi in Sar Wars, there’s a whole ethos and story just around them.

yoda

There’s the religious aspect, their use of the force and of course the famous Jedi light sabres. The concepts in Fictioneering not only lead to characters and things but plots and sub plots that bring a story to life.

Moving away from the Star Wars field to Star Trek, one powerful piece of fictioneering is Geordie La Forge and his visor.

La Forge

A blind man is able to ‘see’ but not as normal humans do – instead he see’s light from different parts of the E.M. spectrum. The plot opportunities brought to stories becasue of this was pretty unique in the science fiction genre.

 

The Martian was a story based on what could be possibiltiy in a future space mission. We have to ignore that it wasn’t completely accurate, but the premise was simple – Man stranded on MArs, how does he get home?

the martian 5 - Copy

Mix in with this dark humour, politics, human nature, the will to survive and the will to help and what a story.

In the last example of fictioneering I want to use Interstellar as an example. The Earth is diminishing the crops that feed the human race. The human race is dying and needs to find another home.

interstellar3 - Copy

The recepie here included a wormhole present around Saturn which leads to a black hole and a trail of clues to a world that will become the new home for the human race. Mix in with all of this a man leaving his family behind to help the mission and a scientist obsessed with finding the secret to gravity… you get the picture.

 


 

To me fictioneering is not the be all and the end all of a story, but it’s the firm foundation on which to build it. How a story is fictioneered will give the breadth and depth that the story needs to be great with all the different plots, sub plots, characters and interaction that it needs.

Any writers reading this – what do you think? Is finctioneering something you use anyway even if you might call it something else?

 

Planet Simon

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