Monday, January 30, 2012

It's time I let go the confortable reality

What is reality anyway? I am a fiction writer and I keep sticking to the current world. The current believes. The current limitations.

Of course there are numerous modern fiction novels that are very good. In fact, I enjoy them very much. It's the same with TV shows where you see the characters evolve with secrets through "the current world". I love it, but now I realise how limited this is. Writing in an existing world gives you rules and basics for the structure of the world where the story will grow. You don't need to search how would humans react if there was no more oxygen. Or what would happen if I put fire and wood together. Every rules of physics apply as well as medical and basic notion like food, clothing, warm and cold. Usually we play to bend the rules a little (or a lot!) but still we are building the story with these notions.

But what about all the other ideas about a world that does not exist elsewhere than in your head? They could be used to explore other possibilities, variations or totally new ways.Things that are not part of our human world.

"Dave, that's not a new idea at all. Just read a little more or open your TV to the right channel," you would say.

Perhaps to you, but not to me. I've never dared to create a whole new world based on different laws, philosophy and where the characters day to day activities are mind blowing to the readers. This is a new ground, a new way to get inspired. I can't just look at the window and borrow an idea as-is. I need to mold it, to transform it even create it from scratch. I need to cease being a human from society and throw away everything I grew up with and build a whole new life. 

It's scary and exciting!

It's being a god and living in my creation with no knowledge of it. It's a huge responsibility! It's even stressful. People are going to read this and associate themselves to it and compare their life to my creation. Then I realise I still need to keep something that the readers can compare to and I wonder what.

  • Communication/Interaction: yeah, that will be very handy. Still leaves me with multiple understandable possibilities.
  • Good vs Evil: really? Could be very tricky concept with characters' values.
  • Values: yeah. This is usually what moves characters. It's also very near the concept of emotions.
  • Conflict: a plot with no conflict would be very dull. Just need new kind of conflicts.
  • Places, homes, vehicles, food, bodies, senses, culture, art, hobbies, nature, believes: that is where the "magic" takes place!

Then again, I feel it's still difficult to create a new world. It's not just changing the color of the sky and have characters with three eyes. It's more than that. But it sill need to be close enough for people to understand without reading a user guide first.

So, can we really create a whole new world with different rules? Where is the line when it becomes "a new world". Our imagination is so full of possibilities and ideas. Does my new world would be that new?

The concept of reality, for me, is not only seeing it with my eyes or touch it or read it in a book or in a TV show. Everything was born because we imagined it. So if I imagine a new world I then created it. It exists. Perhaps not in the human realm, but it exists. I believe it all come to the notion of what is real or not. Or what does exist is not. Where is the line? Where is the line for humans living in society? Where is my line as a writer? And skilled readers? There are so many stories about vampires, zombies and other mythical creatures but I don't see then walking next to me (or perhaps they hide well). Then again they are part of our culture and believes (at different levels). For me, they do exist because there are so many people that know what they are and include them in their stories, conversations and movies. And what about magic ?

Need I go on?

Back in creating a new world. Would it be so new? Ours is already so full. Why should I add an entire encyclopedia to it? I think I have enough to play with but it's also possible to put aside a few creation and give the illusion that it is a whole new world.

Isn't it what we are when we write fiction? Illusionists?

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