Summer Camp 2022 - Day 2

Hello everyone!
  With the first theme being Expanse, I wanted to look at the Geography template and explore how we write geographic regions. Some of these are going to feel pretty obvious to some of you, but I think they're worth to raise, in case we can approach them from a different angle. You know my approach: make it weird!   Some of the things to think about are:  

Telling A Story

Whenever anyone talks about not being sure what to add or include when writing their region, this is the thought I always come back to: What's the story you want to tell with the region?   Everything has a story to it - obvious or subtle - beyond the characters trekking through it and what they experience. When we think about deserts, we usually think about the grueling heat, endless vistas of sand and stone, mirages, and desperate survival. When we think about space, it is the paradox of such an infinite expanse of space, and our claustrophobia onboard a small, metal container that's hurling through infinity.   If you're ever stuck when thinking about your region/expanse, think about what kind of story and what kind of essence you want it to have.  
On Negative Space
Sometimes, it's worth including the opposite of what your region's story is, as a way to highlight it. A particularly fecund region might have a single blighted region at its heart, giving readers something to contrast it for - and an idea of what might be lost if the big bad gets their way.

Terrain, Regions, and Diversity

Few regions are completely homogenous. Even space, vast as mostly empty as it is, has things going on, from nebulas to black holes, stars and planets, galaxies and spiral arms. For our purpose, lets look at the Sahara desert:  
Show spoiler
by Unsplash (Andrzej Kryszpiniuk)
by Unsplash (Azzedine Rouichi)
by Unsplash (Cristiano Pinto)
by Unsplash (Azzedine Rouichi)
by Unsplash (Sergey Pesterev)
by Unsplash (Azzedine Rouichi)
  These are distinct part of the same expanse, to use the terms of the prompt, with their own identities - and stories.   What are the different regions of the expanse?
What's similar? What are the outliers? Are there any abberations?
How does those differences interact? What are the borders between those different regions like?
Has something caused parts of the region to change, and become unfamiliar or alien?
What are the negative spaces?
What are the stories you want to tell, and how does each region build on or supplement that?

Another example: Death Valley

One of the least invitingly named placed I can imagine, but no less varied:  
by Unsplash (Jaime Street)
by Unsplash (Katie Musial)
by Unsplash (Christian Garcia)
  But during the blooms, this is also Death Valley:  
by Treehugger
  Finally, if you want to see some great examples of geographic worldbuildery, look no further than these three, by EmilyArmstrong, Stormbril, and Serukis.    
And if you want to see how I put these sort of idea into action with my Expanse prompt, you can find it here:  
Patala, the Descent
Geographic Location | Jul 28, 2022

An expanse at the edge of the known world, beckoning the brave and the ambitions.

And some inspiration:

by Unsplash (Veronica Reverse)

by Unsplash

Cover image: by Unsplash (Ethan Robertson)


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4 Jul, 2022 00:04

I'm not very practiced in describing locations so this has been a great help! Thank you!

4 Jul, 2022 05:44

Oh, I'm really glad it looks helpful! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.