Sunday, November 6, 2016

Creating worlds

Fiction writing authors create worlds for their characters to inhabit. Authors who write contemporary, be it in the past or the present, must surround their characters with fictional settings. Those of us who dabble in the paranormal realm usually have the additional task of placing their paranormal characters in among normal people. After all, most vampires, shifters, demons and witches don't normally exist openly in the masses. Therefore, they exist hidden from view in their own little world. The setting may be in a remote location away from urban places or in may exist in a metropolitan setting but secreted from the surrounding society. 

Those who write science fiction, especially if the story takes place off planet, often create vast worlds that encompass planets, solar systems, galaxies or even complete universes.

Some authors supply very detailed descriptions of the worlds they create. Some just paint a general picture and let the reader envision their own view of the world as they see it. Some authors have a talent for describing their worlds in great detail, some, like myself, struggle in doing so. My question to readers and writers alike, since most writers are readers as well, which do you prefer, detailed or generalized?

Gary Stillman, writing as G.E. Stills dabbles in many genres among them are paranormal, contemporary and science fiction. 
Two of his video book trailers are. 
Blood Rage

New Beginnings

Excerpt from the story New Beginnings. 

She pulled into a business complex containing a dozen small offices. The company name was stenciled on a tinted glass door of one of the suites. Dani, with Marci following, entered the office. A half dozen chairs lined the wall on her left. To her right was a counter with a middle-aged woman behind it watching a computer monitor and typing. A single closed door was the only feature along the wall opposite the entrance. The setting reminded Dani of a small doctor's office waiting area. She stepped up to the counter and peered at the woman.
"Good afternoon," The woman greeted her.
"Hi. I'm Dani Myer, I have an appointment."
The woman smiled. "Yes you do. Is this your girlfriend Marci with you?"
"Yes," Marci said.
The woman picked up a phone and spoke quietly into it then hung up. "Mr. Smith will see you now Dani. Go through that door in the back." She turned to Marci. "He will see you when he's finished interviewing Dani. In the meantime have a seat over there." She indicated the six seats.
Dani stepped into the inner office. A single padded chair faced a large desk. Seated behind the desk was a slightly balding grey haired man. Dani quickly glanced around the office. A number of paintings of island settings decorated the walls.
"Have a seat Ms. Myer," the man said.
While she sat, he opened a folder on the desk and removed a single sheet of paper.
After a brief silence Dani asked, "May I inquire what this reward you speak of involves?" 
Mr. Smith smiled at her. "If you meet the conditions my company requires, we intend to offer you an all-expenses paid, seven day trip to a private tropical island in the Pacific."
Stunned, Dani waited for him to continue in silence. He slid the sheet of paper and a pen across the desk to her.
"First things first. This is a non-discloser agreement you must sign before I'm able to provide any more details. It's a simple agreement that you will not discuss anything that is talked about or filled out during this or subsequent meetings. The one exception is, you may talk to Ms. Davis provided you both are accepted for this offer."
Dani quickly read the agreement. Just as he had stated it was a standard agreement. She signed it and slid it back to him.
"Thank you. You've been selected to receive this offer due to your high academic standing and your physical appearance."
Dani quirked an eyebrow at his statement of physical appearance
"I realize the latter part of my statement and some of the questions could well be considered sexist. Nonetheless, they and the questions you will answer, have a bearing on your selection. I will remind you of the nondisclosure agreement you signed."
 He removed two more sheets of paper from the folder and gave them to her. "This is a questionnaire for you to fill out. Please answer each question honestly and to the best of your ability."
She scanned the questions quickly and raised an eyebrow. Some of them were highly personal and indeed sexist. "I'm not certain I want to answer all of these."
"I understand your reluctance, but I must tell you all the questions must be answered. My company is going to considerable expense with this offer. It is being extended to a limited number of people, both male and female at colleges around the nation and throughout the world, of which only thirty will be selected. You are free to decline of course at which point this meeting is over."
Wow, I guess he told me.
"Can you tell me a little more about this trip?"
Mr. Smith rubbed two fingers over his chin. "Think of it as a type of spring break like the ones that take place in Florida or other locals. Then picture it taking place on a tropical island with only thirty guests and an extensive wait staff. You will be able to swim, sunbathe, participate in sporting activities, play games, drink, and party for a week at no expense to you. During that week you will be treated like royalty with spa treatments, excellent food, and the list goes on."
"Sounds like fun. When is this trip?"
"You graduate at the end of May, the trip takes place in June."
Dani nodded and the conversation ended while she answered the questions. She finished and handed them back to him.
"Congratulations Ms. Myer. There is one last thing." He handed her a slip of paper. "This is the address for a lab we are working with. Please go there sometime in the next week. You will be required to provide a blood and urine sample at that time to complete the next step in the process. Again this is personal, but the results of the lab will tell us if you are healthy and free of any type of communicable disease, sexual or other types."
"You're kidding."
"No, we're not. We further ask that you not engage in any form of sexual activity before the trip. If you pass this screening, you will be contacted with further details. You are of course free to opt out of this offer at any time before May."
For a moment, Dani considered telling Mr. Smith to fuck off and walking out but then the picture of herself basking on a beach and being pampered for a week flashed through her mind. Okay, not having sex is doable. The thought of the mountains of snow outside was the final deciding factor.
She sighed. "What else?"
He smiled. "That's all for now. Once we have the lab results we'll contact you."
"Okay. May I ask who owns this company?"
"You may ask, but I have strict instructions not to divulge any names. Let me just say this company is a part of a large corporation owned primarily by a man who is a well-known billionaire. This company will ask nothing in return for this reward that you do not willingly offer." Mr. Smith stood and offered his hand. "Again, congratulations and I wish you the best Ms. Myer."
Dani stood and accepted his handshake. She left the office and waited while Marci had her interview. On the drive back to their dorm and into the evening, they discussed what had taken place.
"That interview was just fucking weird on so many levels," Marci said. "Psychological, medical, social, personal and others. They were certainly not the type I would have expected to answer to win a vacation trip or even for a job application."
"I agree but the thought of seven days of splendor after four years is slaving is too tempting to pass up."
"Especially when it's all paid for." Marci smiled. "I noted during the interview he said no sex before the trip. He didn't however say, no sex during that week and he did mention there would be men there. I intend to fuck my brains out during that week." Marci grinned.   
 Dani returned her grin. "We are being judged on physical appearance and I assume that includes the men, so yeah, fucking sounds like a plan and abstention will increase horniness." 
 Marci raised her bottled water in a toast. "Here's to hoping each of us passes the screening and to fucking on the beach and everywhere else on that island."
Dani tapped her bottle to Marci's and giggled. "Here, here."


Diane Burton said...

Great post, Gary. We all create the world our characters inhabit. For my mystery series, I created a small, Lake Michigan resort town, similar to many along the west coast of Michigan--named the streets, parks, businesses, etc. With my sci-fi romances, I also create a world. Along with what I have to come up with for my mysteries, I get to have more fun by creating customs, religions, governments, even climate. Did I mention I love creating worlds? LOL

Crystal Collier said...

World building is the best! I think it's easy to get a general scope of things though, and think that's enough. We often forget that the more detailed the aspects, the more real the world feels. I'm reading one right now that reminded me of all this, but then the plot fell apart. *sigh*

CJ Burright said...

I love worlds that have their own rules and give the reader new things to learn, new cultures to explore. It's part of the joy in reading paranormal for me!

Nancy Gideon said...

I've always believed in My World, My Rules . . . as long as you can make it believable! The familiar setting that coaxes the reader into accepting the fantastic exists within it is my favorite part of the paranormal!

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Yes and yes, the fun for most speculative fiction writers, or at least part of it, is creating the world within the world and making sure the reader will believe it!