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The Devil is in the Details posted 08 Jul 2005, 17:07 by Kidruhil Lancer, Auditor

I'm flowing smoothly with my world-creation, but the further I get and the more details I create (especially where the metaphysics are concerned), the more I'm starting to worry about one thing. How do I explain the complex metaphysics to the reader? I'd really rather not have to go with the cliche of creating a character who knows nothing of said metaphysics... I'd really like to write a story that doesn't have to hold the readers hand. But then, I run up against the problem of... if I don't use the old method... What method do I use? So far, my only ideas have been to 1) Put most of the information in the prologue somehow, 2) write some sort of essay on the metaphysics and have that be the forward (an idea I really don't like, although I am good at writing essays)... or 3) just letting the reader fend for themselves and trying to explain as I go along as several other authors have done. The problem with the third method is that the metaphysics of my world are drastically different from the norm. The only series I've read so far that seems similar is the Roger Zelazny books... ( And he used the cliche method)... My world (or rather, my universe) is your basic multi-world theory... but with alot more random tiny details than Zelazny put into his books. A different mythology... different rules... There are really only a couple of ways that my idea is similar to his, now that I think of it.. but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, back to my problem. How do I get the reader to understand what the hell I'm talking about without diverting from the flow of the story with lengthy explainations, and without using the Jordan method? Any helpful suggestions would be very welcome. If anyone would like more details about my metaphysics, just say the word and I'll throw something up here. I'm still working out the rules and the randoms. Thanks in advance! view post

posted 08 Jul 2005, 18:07 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

How important is your metaphysics to understanding the world and what is going on? Do we need to know everything now? Metaphysics is important in the Prince of Nothing, for example, and we are shown pieces of the metaphysics through the internal dialogues of Kelhus and Akka as well as showing us what is occuring in the world. There are still pieces we don't know, but we try to anticipate what they may be before they are unveiled, because we can figure out more pieces are out there. In the Malazan books, the metaphysics matter but we don't need to know nearly as much. Erickson reveals those points as the characters encounter them or as they become relevant. The Warrens of Sorcery are revealed as they are travelled or used and not really explained until the third book (although we have a fairly good idea on what they are by then). view post

posted 11 Jul 2006, 21:07 by Tilldusk, Commoner

The best way to do it, is to make it seem like the reader should've already known about it, if you don't want to use the age-old method of, "WHAT THIS EXISTS?" type of a thing. Scott Bakker does it in A Prince of Nothing, and though the old method inspires a sense of suspense of what it may be, this other way (I believe your 3rd option) makes it almost more fun because it makes the curious elements almost left to be interpeted by the reader. Of what they are and what they do, keeps them even more further and strangled into the depths of the story. That's my opinion at least. -Tilldusk view post

posted 03 Dec 2006, 23:12 by Sorcerous-Words, Auditor

I believe the best way to go about this is to simplify somewhat. explain two things and your good. what is done - and what the result is the why isnt as important and should be left up to the readers imagination. what do you think of this approach? view post

posted 08 Apr 2007, 02:04 by Moigle90, Commoner

Yeah, you don't need lengthy explanations just throw some details in here and there as they become relevant to the story. And add some in dialogue. Plus I'm sure theres at least one character in your story that isnt privy to every aspect of the world's metaphysics. I'm not saying you need to create a character completely ignorant, but hey not everyone's going to know everything? I guess what I'm saying is I'd use a combination What [i:ppehz3um]is[/i:ppehz3um] your metaphysics, by the way? view post


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