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Understanding Your Reference

Selecting Your World


For the duration of human history, storytellers have built upon the words breathed by those that came before them. The earliest tall tales probably centered around saving a friend from the embarrassment of that squirrel scaring him on a hunt. The other men are told of a Giant Rat, with teeth the size of spearpoint. Over years of retelling, Dire Wolves now roam the Northern Forest, and the old tell the young never to step foot in its shade.

Thus too, we as worldbuilders must build upon other creations, adapting and molding the still wet clay of our fathers' creation for your needs. Understanding your personal reference is the foundation for creating a truly living world that is yours.

Most people have some genre they enjoy reading, watching or playing. From the Science Fiction of Halo, Science Fantasy of Star Wars, or to the High Fantasy of The Lord of the Rings, previous created works abound with material that is begging to be lifted up, inspected closer, and dissected for new options. For a recent popular example, look at One Punch Man, an anime which takes many standard tropes of Dragonball Z and takes them down to their logical extreme.

Picking your genre is only the beginning. Finding the pieces you wish to explore, or simply recycle1 and then picking elements from another work, or even separate genre, allows you to really dive into the meat of true Worldbuilding. Some notable mash-ups of our time include Science Fantasy (Star Wars) and Heist (Ocean's Eleven) to create Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This opened up a hundred new possibilities for the Star Wars Franchise, such as the Force Sensitive, the dark face of the Rebellion, and how horrible facing down Darth Vader would actually have been.

Go ahead, pick one element from your favorite Book, Movie, Game or Television Show. Break it down into its core shapes, tropes, and clich├ęs.
 

PatheticBarrels' Choices for 2018

In this series, I'm going to work alongside you in worldbuilding a new project, using examples of some of the closest people to me's favorite movies and genres.

  • My Grandfather- Emerging Technological Progress in the aging Wild West of John Wayne's Big Jake
    This was the movie that led to me being mechanically inclined, and thanks to my late grandfathers' encouragement, has put me where I am today. While the movie was somewhat about family, I'll be pulling the titiular Big Jakes steadfast determination, the emerging Technology, and a tamed frontier for my world.

  • My Grandmother and Great Aunt- Both my Grandmother and my Grandfathers Youngest sister passed away in 2017. Both were fans of classic Musicals like White Christmas and Meet Me in St. Louis. Both were like sisters to each other. As such, I'll be pulling from those two movies, and from their real lives to honor them in this world.
    • Meet Me in St. Louis
      Family, Love and Change were the Pillars of this Judy Garland movie, and as such, the importance of remembering where you've been and who you were there with will be a major element of this world.
    • White Christmas
      A lively and fun Musical about Stage Performance (META!), this Christmas movie focused on Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye opposite sisters Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen as they fall in love, save their WWII commanders failing inn, and crack jokes about finding Democrats in Vermont. I'll be pulling the concept of the Sisters attempting to make it big in a much larger world from this movie.
 

Next Week

Join me next week as I take a look at how to mesh these concepts into a fledgling world. Like my realtor says, "It's all about Location."
I'll also be answering questions from The Coopers Tools, an assistance channel on my Discord for Patreon Supporters.
 
Next Article: @Setting Yourself Up

1 We try to be a Green Community.

Important Resources This Week

TV Tropes-- A great source for figuring out what to use and then how to use it from your favorite Books, Movies, Games, and Television Shows.
International Movie Database-- Movies, Games, and Shows need lists and this is a great way to look at things that might have similarities you can pull from.

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