Writing out the trails of a world - and avoiding many traditional tropes

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Callan S.

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« on: May 01, 2013, 07:28:56 am »
So I've kind of set myself a few handicaps in working out some writing. I'm keening away from violence as being the thing to get everything revolves around. And let alone focusing on a last unicorn, I don't really want to focus on the dudes who have the special (and uncommon) power (whether it be martial power or magical).

I'm thinking of a world mostly covered in wilderness, with small villages scattered around. The main focus would be those peddlers who travel on foot in between. The world has magic and occasional trans dimensional portals opening randomly. Raptors hunt amongst its forest (they are too tough to fight, and they are actually the smallest of threats, really).

To add more handicaps, I don't really want to fall into the trope of heavy, heavy social interaction focus (probably also cause I'm male!) in villages then gloss over the many hundreds of kilometers of walking in between villages. The traveling aught to be focused on, instead of just a plot device to get to social interaction in so and so village (which is what most journeying stories seem to do).

Basically the focus is on the peddlers who are poor. Traditional stories are about dudes who get swept up into some big dealio because they have some useful resource (skills, items, lineage, etc)

I just don't have it in my heart to so genuinely believe such a miraculous resource story enough to earnestly write it.

So now I ask, and I know all the trope handicaps I've put in will make you think 'sorry, is there anything you are cool with?', what can I have the character doing? Sliding down slopes, shuffling over slippery log bridges, suffering lunge attacks from wolves and starving dogs, swinging across chasms, etc.

The thing is, violence typically has a climax point, potentially an unexpected climax point. Traveling just doesn't build up to a climax, unless you count arriving at a destination and exchanging goods for a few coin (which lacks any unexpectedness as a climax, pretty much).

Thought I'd think out loud on the matter.

Crtha

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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 08:19:44 am »
It doesn't have to be violence, but there needs to be some action to propel events.  Conflict is an intergral part of most stories - but that doesn't need to mean violence. Man against wild sounds like the conflict you are aiming for?

Social interaction affords dialogue, which is a valuable means to inform the reader of things above the menial level.  Perhaps some internal monologue would work, otherwise it sounds like it might be a very dry travelogue.

Narrative lends itself to an episodic nature.  It might be villages scenes or any other informing scenes - action or other social intercourse.  We aquire meaning in our lives by linking internal scenes in a meaningful manner, so it is natural to do the same in a more 'properly' fictional story.
Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.

Callan S.

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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 10:48:35 am »
Fair points. Perhaps I need to emulate the climactic build up - the thing with a enemy that they can cause problems as you build up to a climactic show down. But with a mountain range - well...might be able to use that same build up pattern. Will have to think about that one.

And ooh yeah, do I use alot of internal monloging!

I think working up to a climax is the dealio - yet I don't want the climax to also result in 'oh yeah, and now you're rich and shit'. I'll have to think about that one as well. Thanks, Curethan.

What Came Before

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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 04:22:02 pm »
It doesn't have to be violence, but there needs to be some action to propel events.  Conflict is an intergral part of most stories - but that doesn't need to mean violence. Man against wild sounds like the conflict you are aiming for?

There're a lot of arguments towards conflict's integral innateness in narrative.