Starting a story from scratch… Sort of

Where to start… I know I already talked about either starting on the character first or on the plot first when it comes to a new story(that post link is here). So where am I going to start? The world. Hehehehe. I am too smart to get sucked into the debate over character or plot. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head. The problem is that they are all fuzzy dream like ideas that haven’t taken full form yet. And they all lack one important thing. A backdrop. The world in which the story takes place. The feel and ambiance of the story. Heck right now I am still up in the air about the genre. So we are in need of a world.

Like many writers there are genres that I lean to more often than not when I write. For me they are sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and urban fiction. I do like having touches of the horror and adventure genres in my stories too but I rarely try to go all out and have those be the dominant genres in my work. So for this project I think I am going to start with one of the most open-ended genres out there: Science Fiction. I say open-ended because there is really no limit to what can be put into a science fiction setting. While fantasy is very open-ended and nearly limitless, I think the main reason sci-fi is more open is that you can do everything fantasy can do but you can include high-tech and futuristic properties to the world and story while still having magic and other races and monsters.

So we have a blank slate, a science fiction world with nothing on it. A white ball floating in the ambient light of limbo. What goes into that planet? What does it look like? Where is it? What is around it? Those are all great questions. Lets get started with those first.

While I love the planet we live on, I think that we need to start with that blank slate and say one thing first and foremost “This is not our Earth.” I do like future Earth stories and speculating where we are going as a human race, I don’t want to have the constraints of our history and what we are now on this world. So we start over. Granted there are things that I want to keep. Right now I think that this world is going to be basically built similarly to ours. There will be vast oceans. The continents will have a variety of forests and plains and deserts. Humans will be the most populous sentient race of creatures out there. I think that it is important to start with that kind of base line because it will make a balanced starting point. As we tweak and develop this planet it will begin to unbalance and we will be able to step by step keep rebalancing it as we make changes instead of suddenly realizing that the ecosystem or politics or technology or magic(if we decide to have it) make the entire thing implode without some sort of deus ex machina to prevent it.

So there is our baseline. Our template for our world. Pretty basic and empty with no limit as to where we can take it. The more input from you the better. I will be adding more and more to this world but that doesn’t mean that we can’t change things, add more things or taking things back out if they don’t work or the are just plain wrong.

Also on a last note, we need a name for this place. Not necessarily the name of the planet itself but a name for the setting overall. I am open for all suggestions.

3 Responses to “Starting a story from scratch… Sort of”
  1. Marc Schuster says:

    Hmm… Naming a world. I like Ken Kesey’s strategy of referring to the mental hospital in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest simply as “the combine.” Maybe something along those lines? The mill? The machine? The wheel? The engine?

  2. kris says:

    Name suggestion:
    (This Is Not Our Earth)…..hehehehehe :-)

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