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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Spectacular Settings

When I first began my story, I created a hand drawn map and searched for images that would fit with my fantasy.   It is three years now and I am still working on the Kingdom of Asteros.  Some of my ideas have been discarded but others have become well known and well loved places.  
 There are three main settings in the story.  It opens in the Ecclesian Forest in Spring.  In the Ecclesian forest there is the Chapter House where the Healing Order lives.  I particularly enjoy this setting because a remote, stone castle at the edge of a forest captivates my imagination. I've added wood panelled Dining halls and Meeting rooms as well as secret trap doors.  Vines grow on the outside.  Also this is where the Weaver's workshop is - a room dominated by a large weaving loom and with a full glass ceiling.  
Also in the Forest is the village of White Oak which supplies the House with staff and food. 

To the North is the city of Rhaegaard, the administration centre of the Kingdom.  It has tall buildings and a river running through it.  It has more advanced technology than the Chapter House. 
My original idea for the Chapter House was that it was remote and if you look hard in the bottom right picture,  you might see a building in the left of the picture.


The southern kingdom of Calaren is where the king lives in a castle above the town nestled into the side of the hill.  (top left).  Here there is a harbour for trade with the rest of the Kingdom.  I love the idea of houses nestled in the hillside like that.   

I recently attended an author talk with Tina Marie Clark who talked about how we can make settings iconic and how they become characters themselves.  Settings ground the reader and bring the world of the story to life.  Readers can fall in love with settings as much as they learn to love the characters who live there.  

All that is true as I continue to live among my characters and enjoy the settings I have created for them.  




30 comments:

  1. Hello Rae! This is just like old times. So glad to have you back participating in this WEP challenge. Loved reading about how you're creating your setting for the Kingdom of Asteros. Using visuals is a great assist for world building. I'm pleased to see how it's coming along. Now I want to read an excerpt from your story.

    I certainly agree with Tina Marie Clark that: 'Settings ground the reader and bring the world of the story to life.' I always crave a story with a spectacular setting. Without that, it lacks life no matter how intriguing the characters might be.

    Thanks again for posting for WEP.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Thanks for your continued encouragement, Denise. Places are important to all of us, a sense of belonging. My MC is a feels out of place until she's not there any more, then she realises it might be home!

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  2. I love learning from writers. And learn I am. Thank you so much for tempting me with snippets while alluding to the work involved in establishing a setting which will claim a character of its own.

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    1. Thanks for visiting. We never stop learning.

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  3. "Living among the characters." Truer words were never spoken. I will be glad ton he day when I can read your story. Thoughtful explanation and schooling on how setting is a character itself. I wholeheartedly agree.

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    1. Thanks Robyn. I am enjoying the process of writing this story and look forward to reading it myself!!

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  4. I love the idea that setting can be a character within the story. I write of a home, in one of my stories, that takes on its own personality the more you read it. Sounds like your story will have many layers to it and the setting will pull it all together. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes places certainly do have personalities too don't they. I am enjoying my settings too. Thanks Toinette

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  5. You have certainly created a wonderful world with all sorts of classes and social aspects from the religious aspects to the have's and have not's and that's just from your description. It is certainly whetting my appetite to read the story.

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    1. Hi Sally. Thanks. I didn't think I had the skills to cover cultural aspects and political intrigue but I am learning as the story develops

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  6. Raelene
    Your trek to discover and create this new Kingdom of Asteros is every writer's journey. Your settings will clearly come through in your writing as you've done the work to make them outstanding. This is the first year I've put a map in my book for the readers, yet I've always created a map for my own use.

    With each book I had stacks and stacks of research, but especially pictures so that I drew the setting as I'd imagined. Tina Marie Clark is spot on, but so is your statement "I continue to live among my characters". . . I do too!

    Thank you for participating in the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. I look forward to reading about the Kingdom of Asteros.

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    1. Hi Yolanda. Thanks for encouraging Denise to keep WEP going. I sometimes wonder if I am not insane with the people and places in my head. They are certainly more interesting than suburbia for me.

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  7. Thanks for sharing all of this with us! I love your method for creating and fleshing out your magical world!

    I, too, continue to live among my characters. Sometimes they even argue. It's a great thing.

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    1. I've not argued with my characters yet although for a long time they refused to tell me their story! The details of the settings continue to emerge which I love.

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  8. Fascinating. I've drawn maps for my stories but hadn't thought of actually illustrating one. Brilliant idea. Glad there's a castle. Can't ever decide whether I most want to live in a castle or a light house. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Castles are cool. So much opportunity for all sorts of places and secret places and fire places and tapestries and creative lighting. Lighthouses can be castle-ish. This castle is on a rocky hill above the harbour, perhaps it can serve as a lighthouse also ... oh now you've got me thinking. !!

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  9. I so admire fiction writers for their ability to create entire new worlds from imagination. Your process is thorough and fascinating. Thank you for sharing it. The Kingdom of Asteros has come to life!

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    1. Hi Debbie. Now I just have to get the book itself to be a reality!!

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  10. Hi Raelene!
    Great to connect via WEPFF challenge.
    I think you have to have an 'extra-special imagination' to write fantasy.
    The ability to create an entire world from scratch? To me that's a bit daunting. I really applaud those who can do so.
    The Kingdom of Asteros is fascinating! I clicked your illustration to have a better look. Because my fiction is more reality-based, I've never used illustrations. But I can see how valuable it is when creating fictional worlds in the fantasy genre.
    I enjoyed this! Thank you for the lesson.

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    1. HI Michelle. Worlds in literature have always enthralled me: Narnia, Dune; Mars etc. Even for another story I have based in the Beach suburbs of Sydney, I still searched for pictures and found a picture of the house my main character lived in. It helps to put me in the picture and to write my way around it.

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  11. A setting can fire the imagination, as yours does. I also drew a map of the universe I was creating in my world building for one of my novels. I then can write about the distances between and make the story more believable. I like maps and believe they add to the experience when we are creating. Like the photos you have used, too.

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    1. Thanks D.G. I love researching for images of things that are in my head. I also have pictures of characters, objects and the animals in the story. I helps me be there when I am writing.

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  12. You are so correct about settings. Some stories could do more to place the reader in the middle of the scene without getting too verbose. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. A most wonderful place indeed. I particularly would love a walk in that forest.

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    1. As the story develops, a lot happens in this forest and I have enjoyed trying different seasons and times of day to bring it alive too. Thanks for your comments, Rasma

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  14. Never undervalue a good map! Excellent point.
    Yes, settings can create feelings and be characters themselves. It's a lot to do with getting the characters to feel, which gets the setting to become a character, and then causing the reader to feel.

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    1. 'causing the reader to feel' - that would be my main goal in this story, I think. I am enjoying the process of making the settings come alive too.

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  15. These sound like great fantasy settings :)

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  16. The forest and the village both sound fascinating. So cool! - not just the map, but also that you found images that slotted right into it! Living with fictional characters, either one's own or others, is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend one's days.

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