Post-America

What would a divided America look like?

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Re: Post-America

#21  Postby willhud9 » May 28, 2019 4:37 pm

Story tropes exist though. If I want to write a 5-man band story or a hero’s journey it’s not difficult to structuralism the core story.

What is hard is creating a consistent world. Book readers catch inconsistency.

One of the best known fantasy series is the Belgariad. The story is as simple as it get. Good vs evil prophecy, variation of the 5 man band where the characters display the stereotypes found in 5 man bands. Yet despite that we find the characters to be interesting and we find the story to be engaging. Why? Because how the story and characters interact with the world. Despite being a fantasy series the character’s actions feel real because they shape the world around them and the world around them is super detailed and consistent.
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Re: Post-America

#22  Postby Thommo » May 28, 2019 6:38 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Thommo wrote:I think I dissent from that. There are ingredients of different stories, such as clever, layered or intricate plots, evocative or detailed descriptions, interesting characters (whether unique or archetypal) and the mixture and important of those ingredients depends on the writer and genre and how well received they are depends on the reader.


That may be true, but it's not how you go about developing a story. Approaching story like that is akin to playing a board game: you set up all the pieces first and follow the rules.


I think this is essentially an untrue prescription for the order of events - essentially you've said that (restricting the process to just two aspects) first you decide on a story (outline) to tell, then you build a world to tell it in around that outline. An awful lot of successful writers openly don't do this.

Terry Pratchett wrote:"The first couple were just gag books and I wasn't really certain too much of what I was doing. I was doing it for the fun to seriously parody a lot of bad fantasy, and, indeed some good fantasy, which nevertheless is worth parodying. Since that time, I've discovered the joy of plot and the books have tended, over the years, to become a little deeper and sometimes, especially in the last few years a little darker."

Mark Lawrence wrote:"The first two books had no outline save perhaps a page of way markers of the 'cursed, head north, discover bigfoot' type.

The Liar's Key felt as if it were getting away from me at points and I felt alarmed at how long it became. That sort of pushed me into trying an outline for The Wheel of Osheim just so I had an idea how it was going to end and what path I was going to take to get there.

In the end though it was more like 3 pages of sparse notes, a third of which I ignored.

I've never been close to (or indeed aware of) any deadlines and just following the story is a nice way to write. I'm on the 3rd book of my next trilogy and have only a vague idea of how it might end. But it can also be scary as well as exhilarating, so some sort of plan is a comforting thing to have hanging around."

Mark Lawrence wrote:Honest answer: I have no idea. So far I haven't planned any stories or books, I just start typing. I must have looked up at the end of one page and said to myself, 'I guess it's in the future then.'

Mark Lawrence wrote:Just a character. I just asked myself what would Alex from A Clockwork Orange be like in a fantasy setting. So I plonked someone like him (initially) into the aftermath of some violence and kept writing. In the end Jorg shares little with Alex except some degree of charm & intelligence, and a taste for violence.


(There are probably even more direct statements about how these and many other authors do not go in with a story in mind but follow where the characters lead out there, but I'm not sure it's worth hunting at this point)

There's nothing wrong with coming up with story first and setting after, but there's nothing wrong with coming up with setting first and story after either. Both things are commonly done. Sequels and spin offs are all but predicated on it.

Spearthrower wrote:
Thommo wrote:The Lord of the Rings is all about its setting, it's not a story you could tell in the urban modern world.


I disagree with that most ardently, not least because LOTR is just a Golden Fleece story, retold squillions of times both before and after Tolkien - in fact, probably the most common of all story types. The setting is the genre and so comprises the kind of stuff you see (orcs and nazghul), but the actual story could be told in any setting; historical, modern, futuristic or sci-fi - the dressing may change, but a sound story would work in any setting.


I'm not honestly sure that characterising a story within a particular paradigm like this is that helpful, but equally whether the Lord of the Rings is or is not a Golden Fleece story actually says nothing about either the order of creation of setting and story, or the relative importance of either of those components to the work. There's no dispute that there *is* a story in the final work.

But of course we know that Tolkein built his Middle Earth world long before he conceived of the story of the ring (because he said so), he even edited later editions of The Hobbit to change the way the ring was handled, as a way to allow him to tell a new story in the world he had already created.

Tolkein was, at heart, a linguist, and what made the Lord of the Rings the enduring success it is was his lifetime of continued work on his mythos, his elvish language, detailed mythology, poetry and so on. The world not only preceded the story, it was infinitely more important to the finished product. Although I will concur that of course in reality parts of the world grow in concert with the story, but this wouldn't be prohibited were the OP to get his broad setting before his broad story, which was the point at contention, anyway.

Spearthrower wrote:
Thommo wrote:The Wheel of Time sold phenomenally well despite having paper thin characters for the most part, and is beloved by millions. Not by the same millions who might enjoy down to Earth fiction, thrillers or murder mysteries for sure, but their taste cannot be disregarded.


Perhaps, but this doesn't argue the contrary - the same story could be told in other settings: sure, it would need tweaks in terms of props, dressing and environments more applicable to another setting, but the same progression of events, same motives, same threat, same themes etc. could easily be transplanted to any other setting and adapted to that. I'm currently working on a sci-fi Romeo & Juliet in a world inhabited by plants and robots (don't ask! :lol: ), for example. Same basic story; star-crossed lovers, feuding families, forbidden love, sacrifice results in familial rapprochement etc but absolutely not set in 14th Century Verona.


This doesn't actually speak to the question - that being that it is necessary to create story before world and coming up with a setting first is of no more value than room tidying. Yes, a similarly structured story could fit in another world, but equally the same world could fit another story (as in the Lord of the Rings example).

My point is that there is no actual prohibition against doing things in the order you're proscribing. Or at least that I strongly disagree that there is. Many authors do things in that order (broadly speaking, as we've already agreed that parts of the two intermingle coterminously as they become more and more fleshed out).

It is a creative choice that a writer can make to come up with a story first and build a world around it. But where we differ is that you said the reverse is not true, where I say it is - a writer can successfully create a world and then fit a story into it afterwards.

Spearthrower wrote:
Thommo wrote:Certainly "good" characters (plot, story, use of language, pacing, structure or whatever other ingredient you might name) will always be better than "weak" characters, but no one ingredient cannot be put front and centre if that's what the writer wants.


You can't put world-building front and centre because that's not a story, it's just a canvas.


You can. The Colour of Magic (and many other books) did exactly that.

Spearthrower wrote:No one's going to buy a book comprised of a fabulously well crafted world that contains no story elements.


But this is a different assertion, coming up with your story after your world is not the same as coming up with a world and never coming up with a story. Or indeed as having a story that is not the most prominent or important ingredient in the finished work. You didn't contend that the OP would have to come up with a story after coming up with his world (I'm sure we'd all agree that he needs some story at some point), you contended that he couldn't or shouldn't come up with the world first, or that doing so was comparable to tidying a room rather than getting on with it. He certainly gave no indication he intended to write a series of books with no story at all.

I also daresay it might be hard to get people to buy a book comprised of a fabulously well crafted story that contains no world. I'm not even sure such a thing is possible to write. This seems off at a bit of a tangent though.
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Re: Post-America

#23  Postby Mike_L » May 28, 2019 7:05 pm

tuco wrote:...Russian... threat...

You carelessly put an 'h' in that word.
Go back immediately and edit to fix it! :coffee:
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Re: Post-America

#24  Postby Hermit » May 28, 2019 7:13 pm

ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries.

A post-American world? What do you mean by that? Right now America - north and south - consists of 55 countries and dependent territories. How do you imagine their respective governments disappeared in the first place?
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Re: Post-America

#25  Postby Alan C » May 28, 2019 7:19 pm

Mike_L wrote:
tuco wrote:...Russian... threat...

You carelessly put an 'h' in that word.
Go back immediately and edit to fix it! :coffee:


Russian treats, like polonium and novichok?
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Re: Post-America

#26  Postby tuco » May 28, 2019 7:21 pm

Surprisingly entertaining and enlightening topic, at least for me.
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Re: Post-America

#27  Postby Mike_L » May 28, 2019 7:27 pm

Alan C wrote:
Mike_L wrote:
tuco wrote:...Russian... threat...

You carelessly put an 'h' in that word.
Go back immediately and edit to fix it! :coffee:


Russian treats, like polonium and novichok?


...and blini and golubtsi.
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Re: Post-America

#28  Postby kiore » May 28, 2019 10:45 pm

ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries. Couple this with a revolutionary turned dictator who seeks to unite these different countries into the United States again.

What do you think this world would look like? How many countries would there be? Who would come out on top if a war broke out? What would the military and economy and political system of these countries look like?



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Post-America

#29  Postby felltoearth » May 29, 2019 10:55 am

The Road - Wikipedia
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, McCarthy said that the inspiration for the book came during a 2003 visit to El Paso, Texas, with his young son. Imagining what the city might look like fifty to a hundred years into the future, he pictured "fires on the hill" and thought about his son.[8] He took some initial notes but did not return to the idea until a few years later, while in Ireland. Then, the novel came to him quickly, and he dedicated it to his son, John Francis McCarthy.[9]
In an interview with John Jurgensen of The Wall Street Journal, McCarthy described conversations he and his brother had about different scenarios for an apocalypse. One of the scenarios involved survivors turning to cannibalism: "when everything's gone, the only thing left to eat is each other."[10]
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Re: Post-America

#30  Postby Keep It Real » May 29, 2019 11:09 am

I remember the film of The Road - desperate and terrifyingly bleak - heavy stuff.
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Re: Post-America

#31  Postby Thommo » May 29, 2019 2:18 pm

Also worth a quick read, potentially:

https://www.autocrit.com/editing/librar ... th-worlds/
Most authors will identify themselves as either a plotter or a pantser. Suspense author J.A. Jance said in a newspaper interview ‘I don’t plan. I don’t outline. I have hated outlines since sixth grade geography and I cant do Roman numerals,” she says with a laugh. In literature and life, she is her own first audience, and ‘premeditation . . . it kills the suspense. I just like to see where the story goes.”

Romance author Jane Graves, who identifies herself as ‘a bigtime pantser’ says ‘I’m cursed with not being able to see the good twists and turns of character and plot until I’m in the middle of writing the book. I can have a sense where it’s going, but absolutely nothing comes alive until the words start going down on the page. That’s when I start having revelations and seeing things I never saw at the synopsis level. For me, it’s kind of like remembering the words to an old song. If you ask me the words, I can’t tell you. But if the song comes on the radio and I’m in the middle of listening to it, I can tell you what comes next.’

Nora Roberts says she never knows where her story is going, that she sits down at the computer to find out.

Conversely, Katherine Anne Porter said ‘If I didn’t know the ending of a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first.’

At this point, I was going to include some more quotes from well-known authors who are plotters, but no one seemed to want to admit it. Invariably, when I asked the question on writing loops, people would mumble something about having a vague idea of where the story was headed, but sitting down with this idea and allowing their imagination to take flight.

...

I also suspect that more writers plan out their books than will admit it.


On reflection I think it will also depend a lot on what you're writing. Crossing mediums (at risk of diluting the point) it would seem impossible to write a TV pilot for a show like the sitcom Friends, or the episodic Star Trek The Next Generation based on anything other than character and setting.
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Post America

#32  Postby ackmanben88 » Jul 07, 2019 11:28 pm

What do you think a post-America (without a federal government) would look like? What states would turn into independent countries? Which of those countries would be the strongest? How would the economy look like? Would we still progress technologically or would we somehow go backwards, losing valuable knowledge that could potentially set back "civilization"? I want to write a novel of a dictator who rises to power in a post-American world and am interested to hear ideas.
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Re: Post-America

#33  Postby ackmanben88 » Jul 07, 2019 11:55 pm

Blackadder wrote:So you want us to do the thinking for you? Do we get royalties?


Just fishing for ideas. Best not to live in a bubble :grin:
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Re: Post-America

#34  Postby ackmanben88 » Jul 07, 2019 11:56 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries. Couple this with a revolutionary turned dictator who seeks to unite these different countries into the United States again.

What do you think this world would look like? How many countries would there be? Who would come out on top if a war broke out? What would the military and economy and political system of these countries look like?



Blast from the past, eh? I remember you, Ben, even if you don't. Knock yourselves out.

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/gener ... 53116.html

ackmanben wrote:Let's assume (for the sake of exploration) that there is something to this notion of God--or a "higher power", as its called. Could God be anything other than the concept we're traditionally used to, as in the "old man in the sky" perception? And in a way that appeals to logic and rationale? Interested to hear your thoughts on this.


I'm not sure what's more sad...you remembering me or me not remembering you :grin:
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Re: Post-America

#35  Postby ackmanben88 » Jul 07, 2019 11:59 pm

tuco wrote:While OP did not ask for it, s/he needs to get to post-America first. Only then s/he can tell a story about it. Both Fallout and The Postman lacked let's say global dimensions and were able to get away with it simply because the settings were post-apocalyptic and to an extend post-technological. The world today is global, however, so I would think unless s/he wants to go for post-apocalyptics scenario, this fact should not be ignored, even if the novel was aimed at the US audience.



I agree, that's one of the harder things to pin down since there are so many possibilities and I don't want to confine the reader to just one possibility of how the federal government could collapse or what have you. I'd like to keep it vague enough (if I can) but still be consistent with the story.
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Re: Post-America

#36  Postby ackmanben88 » Jul 08, 2019 12:01 am

kiore wrote:
ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries. Couple this with a revolutionary turned dictator who seeks to unite these different countries into the United States again.

What do you think this world would look like? How many countries would there be? Who would come out on top if a war broke out? What would the military and economy and political system of these countries look like?





Well if you guys actually kept my email record for when I chose the "forgot password" link to log in, I wouldn't have to create a duplicate account. Y'all can just delete that if it's active (which your system replied back to me that you have no record of it, so... )
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Re: Post-America

#37  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 08, 2019 5:02 am

ackmanben88 wrote:
kiore wrote:
ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries. Couple this with a revolutionary turned dictator who seeks to unite these different countries into the United States again.

What do you think this world would look like? How many countries would there be? Who would come out on top if a war broke out? What would the military and economy and political system of these countries look like?





Well if you guys actually kept my email record for when I chose the "forgot password" link to log in, I wouldn't have to create a duplicate account. Y'all can just delete that if it's active (which your system replied back to me that you have no record of it, so... )


You now have three accounts on this forum, which only makes you look like somebody who just doesn't understand how to use the internet (you also forgot you started this thread, and created another one with the same topic) or somebody who just lazily makes pointless work for other people to do. That's either plain stupid or downright malicious. Not a good light to cast upon your multiple selves.

ackmanben88 wrote:
Just fishing for ideas. Best not to live in a bubble :grin:


Good going, Ben. A man's reach should exceed his grasp.

You've also written some shit where you purport to know what you're talking about, and then drop the matter:

ackmanben wrote:You would have made the connection if you had done the research instead of relying on the answers of someone else.


In light of your difficulties with logging in, it makes you look like a bit of an ass.
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Re: Post-America

#38  Postby ackmanben1988 » Jul 08, 2019 6:25 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
ackmanben88 wrote:
kiore wrote:
ackmanben1988 wrote:So I wanna write a novel (or series of novels) on a post-American world where we have no national government and America is divided into several different countries. Couple this with a revolutionary turned dictator who seeks to unite these different countries into the United States again.

What do you think this world would look like? How many countries would there be? Who would come out on top if a war broke out? What would the military and economy and political system of these countries look like?





Well if you guys actually kept my email record for when I chose the "forgot password" link to log in, I wouldn't have to create a duplicate account. Y'all can just delete that if it's active (which your system replied back to me that you have no record of it, so... )


You now have three accounts on this forum, which only makes you look like somebody who just doesn't understand how to use the internet (you also forgot you started this thread, and created another one with the same topic) or somebody who just lazily makes pointless work for other people to do. That's either plain stupid or downright malicious. Not a good light to cast upon your multiple selves.

ackmanben88 wrote:
Just fishing for ideas. Best not to live in a bubble :grin:


Good going, Ben. A man's reach should exceed his grasp.

You've also written some shit where you purport to know what you're talking about, and then drop the matter:

ackmanben wrote:You would have made the connection if you had done the research instead of relying on the answers of someone else.


In light of your difficulties with logging in, it makes you look like a bit of an ass.
Ok troll, you can leave now.

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Re: Post-America

#39  Postby ackmanben1988 » Jul 08, 2019 6:31 am

ackmanben1988 wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
ackmanben88 wrote:
kiore wrote:




Well if you guys actually kept my email record for when I chose the "forgot password" link to log in, I wouldn't have to create a duplicate account. Y'all can just delete that if it's active (which your system replied back to me that you have no record of it, so... )


You now have three accounts on this forum, which only makes you look like somebody who just doesn't understand how to use the internet (you also forgot you started this thread, and created another one with the same topic) or somebody who just lazily makes pointless work for other people to do. That's either plain stupid or downright malicious. Not a good light to cast upon your multiple selves.

ackmanben88 wrote:
Just fishing for ideas. Best not to live in a bubble :grin:


Good going, Ben. A man's reach should exceed his grasp.

You've also written some shit where you purport to know what you're talking about, and then drop the matter:

ackmanben wrote:You would have made the connection if you had done the research instead of relying on the answers of someone else.


In light of your difficulties with logging in, it makes you look like a bit of an ass.
Ok troll, you can leave now.

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The fact that you remember me after all these years is pretty sad. You must make it your sole mission in life to stalk and troll people on this forum. I can only imagine your difficulties in finding a woman and keeping one. Must have several restraining orders against you.

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Re: Post-America

#40  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 08, 2019 6:44 am

ackmanben1988 wrote:The fact that you remember me after all these years is pretty sad. You must make it your sole mission in life to stalk and troll people on this forum. I can only imagine your difficulties in finding a woman and keeping one. Must have several restraining orders against you.


What's the matter now, Ben? Don't want to fish for ideas on Post-America any more?

What I remember about you is that your first foray in these threads was some shitposting on a purely linguistic strategy to rationalize the concept of deity. Now that we've seen what you're really made of, I think my initial take on you hit meat.

Given the themes you choose when confronted with stuff that pricks your, um, bubble, perhaps someone can get a head start on figuring out whose sock puppet you might be.
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