Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#1
So, I've been writing for a while. But I wrote mostly cringy romance or mystery drama.

I just recently fell in love with fantasy genre, and just starting my first fantasy novel. But the problem is, I just don't have the brain to think outside the box. I don't know how you guys creating your world, with wild terrain and some random monsters that actually never exist.

Even if I read other fantasy works, I will inevitably straight ass copying them. 

So, any advice?

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#2

etherealbao Wrote: So, I've been writing for a while. But I wrote mostly cringy romance or mystery drama.

I just recently fell in love with fantasy genre, and just starting my first fantasy novel. But the problem is, I just don't have the brain to think outside the box. I don't know how you guys creating your world, with wild terrain and some random monsters that actually never exist.

Even if I read other fantasy works, I will inevitably straight ass copying them. 

So, any advice?



From my experience, it helps if you become a child and break the rules of reality. Like a child, always ask yourself, why and how. Try to poke holes in your logic. Why it is like this? How does it effect the world? 
First create a broad picture in your mind. Then question, why and how? Let's say, magic exists. Why does magic exists? As it exists, how does it change the world? In this changed world, why did humans survived? How did they find about magic? and so on...
Hope this helped. :)

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#3
For one setting I created though I'm not currently writing the story, I simply took normal animals and asked myself 'what kind of ability would make sense for this one to have'. In what I'm writing right now, I decided the rain would be much more acidic. Then I asked myself 'why' and 'how does this affect the ecosystem' and, if there are intelligent creatures, how does all that together affect their culture.

Then I take 'inspiration' from books, movies and games I know. Nothing wrong with that. It's ok to take a creature from a movie you barely remember and adapt it to fit the story. Personally, a lot of it comes from documentaries I've watched and then taking something extraordinary to an extreme.

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#4
To be fair, I think a lot of the wild terrain/monsters from most of the stories here are inspired (nice-word for taken) from other works. I think if you look closely at anything that seems wildly new, you can see it came from something that the author probably read/saw/felt before. 

My two-cents to help let your imagination go wild is to to read novels or watch movies/shows/art-pieces outside of your normal comfort zone and imagine melding them together. So essentially fanfic ha ha. 

For example, just to to cite all of the influences for my recent fiction (at least the ones I am aware of)

MC- Based on Khan's background from Star Trek.
SC 1- Inspired by Sinbad and the Seven Seas.
SC 2- Inspired by the MC from Solo Leveling as well as the grinding nature of Korean MMORPGs like Maplestory/Aion.
SC 3- Inspired by a romance book I read whose title I'm a bit embarrassed to disclose.
SC 4- Inspired by a minor JRPG character from Trails of Cold Steel
Magic System- Elemental Magic System inspired by Avatar the Last Air Bender combined with the elemental system from Naruto. Further combined with crystal/quartz system found in a lot of JRPGs. Hair Color stating magical prowess taken from Brandon Sanderson's Book Warbreaker.
Countries- Inspired by a mix of the Holy Roman Empire during the Protestant Reformation and France during the French Revolution. One of the secondary characters is essentially Martin Luther and Rousseau in one body. 
Major City- Inspired by adventurer hub cities from World of Warcraft


Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#5

Gallekryde Wrote: To be fair, I think a lot of the wild terrain/monsters from most of the stories here are inspired (nice-word for taken) from other works. I think if you look closely at anything that seems wildly new, you can see it came from something that the author probably read/saw/felt before. 

My two-cents to help let your imagination go wild is to to read novels or watch movies/shows/art-pieces outside of your normal comfort zone and imagine melding them together. So essentially fanfic ha ha. 

For example, just to to cite all of the influences for my recent fiction (at least the ones I am aware of)



So basically I haven't read/watch enough fantasy lol. thanks for the advice!

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#6
When you get down to it, most books nowadays don't really use original monsters anymore. There are only so many shapes and ways to combine body parts, most of it has been used. Then there are the standards, like orcs and goblins, dire wolves, minotaurs, wyverns and dragons

When it comes to strange landscapes, giant trees have been done, endless oceans, floating sky-lands, world-deserts, crystal caves.... everything has been done at one point or another. The thing to do is give it your own twist, that little touch of you so you can call it your own instead of a straight-up copy - and sometimes you don't even need that

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#7

Oskatat Wrote: When you get down to it, most books nowadays don't really use original monsters anymore. There are only so many shapes and ways to combine body parts, most of it has been used. Then there are the standards, like orcs and goblins, dire wolves, minotaurs, wyverns and dragons

When it comes to strange landscapes, giant trees have been done, endless oceans, floating sky-lands, world-deserts, crystal caves.... everything has been done at one point or another. The thing to do is give it your own twist, that little touch of you so you can call it your own instead of a straight-up copy - and sometimes you don't even need that

Hmmm I guess so. I am so afraid to be called plagiarizing, but like you said using standards monsters and landscapes seem to be safer.

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#8
When I first started my novel I was really afraid of pushing "inspiration" into plagiarism as well but as it moved along it kinda took a turn on its own. As the story developed I stopped thinking about the inspiration sources like Helldivers, The Forever War, and even some 40k. The story wasn't about that universe but the characters I created. In short, I'd say put more effort into the characters than setting. Helldivers "X", Forever War "Mandella" Or "Horus Luprical" in 40k stay with me longer than the setting does. 

Just my two cents. 

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#9
You don't really need to imagine monsters-- I think its the way you are trying to present them. 

Well for my example, 

Rabbit: The Fortune Rabbit (Manipulation of Luck)
Cat: The Black Cat (Manipulation of Bad Luck-- The darker the fur colour, the more powerful it is)
Snake: The White snake (A giant white snake that could spray poison with all three of the deadly venoms included)
Wolf: The Fenrir Wolf (A typical Fenrir wolf taken from the Norse Mythology-- It's offspring, excel in xx magic)
Rainbow Sheep: (A rainbow fur sheep-- it's wool costs a lot of money)
Nine-tailed Fox: (A typical nine-tailed fox-- One of the strongest magical beast)
Phoenix: (Mythical bird-- two states, non-burning state and burning state)
Cithaeron Lion: (A normal but large size lion)
Dragon: (Eastern and western style, Eastern is like a snake, while Western is like Charizard)

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#10

etherealbao Wrote: So, any advice?

Yes. Snitch your ideas from places where people expect you to snitch them.  

Use the Bible, or Hindu gods, or Native American folklore. Also use actual historical events, like the Greco-Roman wars or the Gallic wars or the Punic wars. Or the Crusades or the Mongol hordes or Egyptian pharoahs or Maori warriors. The Vikings. The Scots. The Vandals. The Franks. 

Do some research, learn some history, and mish-mosh a couple of these things together to create a world that is uniquely yours. 

:-)

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#11
Creativity is, in general terms, the combination of two or more ideas to form something novel. 

So do that.

I don't intend to be trite, but it is a muscle that has to practise; and, no, I don't mean like bench-pressing with your noggin', counting reps and goin' for 'em gains; rather, to liken it to a physical example, it's more akin to a rather ostensibly shoddy and unassuming skill-set: holding a door open. Granted, first, you've got to know where the door is to open, but if you've come to start writing, then it's likely you've some spark, some inspiration, some red-string of fate bound to the Muses. Once you've that under your belt, you ought to give some sympathy to the plebian town-guards who have to push open that cast-iron, rust-devoured, and dilapidated wooden gate - it's heavy, you know? Like a Canadian choir-boy, you've got to hold that door open for anything and everything - even the inconsiderate and rude; those that make you want to leave, but the old stand-off, once you claim your position as door-boy, is established and you've full sight to see the chaos of inside whilst being on solid ground outside. 

Now, you might be asking: how does one do that? That's pretty easy to say once you're there, right? 

Hardly. 

In truth, you'll see contradictions in people, real and imagine; the smiling waitress spitting curses under her breathe as soon as she's out of earshot; the gym jockey whose the first to devour that donut on their drive home; and the homeless man who'll grab a forgotten phone just to return it. We operate within a realm of generalized categorizations. This is just a simple, first-layer look. 

Akin to adding one 'novel' - therefore, unpredictable with a standard sub-set of socio-cultural knowledge - addition to a single frame-of-reference. It adds depth. 

Like a desert that is unliveable - especially with rain. 

Not because it is full of sand and the vitriol of a thousand s(o/u)ns; rather, because it was once an ocean - and now holds seemingly endless streams of salt-flats. Those that think they'll get lucky by seeing water collect - before it is stolen away - are quick to pass: the salinity spikes on the first contact to be worse than drinking from the Deadsea. Dead Sea? Now you can add a third idea: Dead Lands. But what to do in such a place named after such a thing? 

Add a fourth dimension: what is NOT dead in the Dead Lands? Evidently, the character if they're inside, but that also implies others can be there, too: others, like plants and animals - in whatever numbers you want to posit. You can make the proverbial rolling tumble-weed and dying flower, but you can also presuppose that there is a lush jungle. 

A lush jungle? That seems weird. It's different from our expectations since trees need water. Where water is scarce, that seems silly, right? However, fantasy permits the stay of judgement. It CAN work. 

Add a fifth dimension. What is something special about salt? Well, it has a crystalline structure (if years being removed from high school chemistry hasn't failed me). So crystalline structures and salt and jungles...? Well, you can add specific purposes to the plants in question. (A) Due to them competing with the inorganic material, the plants can develop a 'rain-collecting' system of roots ABOVE ground as their roots below displace and form biological cisterns and caverns below ground. (A1) These places are were the fauna exists, hiding away in the dark. (Sixth dimension); alternatively, (B), as the jungle isn't as 'organic' as it seems: over the course of millennia, structures emerge replicating the appearance of (dead?) trees by happenstance with geological forces such as erosion and weathering whereupon other minerals are largely responsible for creating such an appearance. A mineral that is desirable, let's say (sixth dimension), that forces the journey there - or at least justifies it. 

 
If you didn't catch the process, I've just been using presumed opposites or antagonizing elements in this. 

Starting with desert - as defined by a lack of water -, rain, which was shifted to sea, therefore salt-water (arguably, sitting on the opposite spectrum in a 'good/bad' water category for survival). 

Salt-water: a comparatively undesirable form of water to be implicitly compared to a person, as it's consumption can lead to death through dehydration. Ergo, 'Dead Lands'. 

Dead Lands: a place defined by the lack of life - so let's give it some. Even if it just adopts the appearance thereof. Association works just as well. 

Now that it 'has' life - whether actually biological little, inverted umbrella trees or inorganic 'trees' that are poised to adopt cultural meaning, we can add more dimensions in life: animals. 

Animals like those that'd live underground in the first place since that is the only place, as they're living within the tree's cavities, that freshwater exists - or perhaps life in the form of a socio-cultural or perhaps religious rite of passage to pass through such a place in the case of it being inorganic hoodoos or whatever. 

In short, it isn't a bad place to think of the 'opposites' of certain things to add depth to your world. If you add some in-world coherency, it can work well. For example, in the biological example, you can actually make an argument that the world, rather than being 'Dead', is inverted. The trees widen at the peak instead of the base to collect water. For any real justification like using the salt/mineral mix to form a separate layer of 'bark' that artificially creates a system of support for the trees. 

So it'd feel like a transcendental walk through the clouds more than it'd feel like walking upright - particularly if you age the 'forest' and have the water-collection peaks to form a honey-comb walkway on the ground - to add details and allow you to throw in the reflection off the ground being more akin to looking at sky when they're full of water. 

Because you've added 'death' to the 'life' of the forest back again, as is the nature of things.

If you play around with adding opposites to core, stock ideas, you can get incredibly interesting environments. But be warned that it'd be hard to justify the above example's details if it isn't used in all of its manifestations and quirks within the story; it's too convoluted, but if it serves as a core region whereupon the MC has to learn how to survive there, it can work well. 

Just make adjustments as needed, ie, the old 'trees' cavities were subsumed by the newer trees, creating vertical hallows through the ground - whereupon when enough joined over the years, made caves - for bandits or runaways or some dangerous creature of the night if you want to add dramatic tension. 

If you don't plan to make full use out of an environment, generalizing it is fine. Forest = trees and stuff; desert = sand and stuff; and ocean = water and stuff. Where the minor details can be added as needed where it is less of burden on the reader to begin to imagine exotic worlds just for the sake of it being exotic. 

Once you start to get the hand of it, you'll be able to do this process instinctively - since it gets to a point where the generalized is just not 'interesting'; this applies for characters, plots, settings, reactions to plot points, and motivations of the individual and the collective. People seem to naturally expand outside of the generic moulds so I wouldn't be concerned with wanting to completely disregard the stock items. If there is a chain-of-thought that proves interesting, take it as far you want - not as far as you necessarily can - and that usually propels me to keep writing with far, far more enjoyable than just trying to neatly-arrange perfect pictures of complexity dynamics and logical justifications for things when most people will not pay that much heed to the specifics of it all. 

Hell, most people do not realize the difficulty of running through a forest. 

Hopefully, that helped. 

Re: How to let your imagination go wild

#12
I wouldn't be concerned about reading too much fantasy while writing or intending to write some. One of the big takeaways ought to be, gee, I can do anything I want, and have my characters as amazed and challenged as I want!  You are unconstrained, and so don't have to follow anyone. There can be romance in it, or fights, or challenges of any kind under the sun. A complement is like, "I wasn't expecting this!"  Or, "Now, that's an unusual plot!".   I tend to get a little sad when I see People over categorize Fantasy and SF. I'm Currently revisiting some anime called "Food Wars" on Crunchyroll.com, which is not only great stuff, but something some wouldn't even think to categorize as Fantasy, but it is. And that's the  point.

See you on the flip side.