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Article - 'Creating a Universe' by Xanqui

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Jan 18, 2004

Blurb

Xanqui gives ideas as to how to not just create the setting, but the entire universe that surrounds your plot.

Body

Well, I’ve decided to step away from the Cruel Intentions stuff for a while, and now I’m going to give some ideas that I’ve used in the past to create your own universe. When I say universe, I mean every single aspect of your story. This means characters, locations, technology, history, species, and maybe even physics and magic. Whether you are creating a storyline that takes place on Earth, or in a galaxy far, far away, there is always some sort of universe that your story exists in. Without this universe, there cannot be a storyline. But now onto the less cheesy stuff.

If you’d like, you should take notes as you read this. This article will serve as a guide as you develop your universe.

First, we’ll start with the framework of your universe. This is really more for those who want to create a magical world where anything is possible. For those of you making a setting on Earth, or similar to Earth, you don’t really need to read this.

What kinds of places will your characters be visiting? It doesn’t matter what they’re doing there, or why they are there, all that matters is that they will end up being there at some point in your storyline. When you have the idea of all of the places your characters will be visiting, you have the framework of the universe. To the storyline, this is all that exists. Outside of it, there is nothing.

Secondly, what types of physics are there? Is it possible to leap hundreds of feet in the air? Are psychic powers possible? The possibilities are endless, and I have no intentions of listing them all. Now you’ve set the limits of what your characters can do. Your characters should never exceed these limits unless it’s for a dramatic action sequence or something.

Finally, if you love fantasy, what types of magic exist in this universe? Or does magic exist at all. With RPG Maker 2000 (and probably many other game makers), this is fairly easy to set up. Everything is pretty much set for you in that case. But if you’re using this guide for something written, it’s best to write down all the different types of magic to keep track of them. Usually, there are counter-magic for every type of magic (fire and ice, water and lightning, dark and light, etc.) and I’d recommend that you know these if you plan to use magic in your story. However, there are always exceptions.

Now that the framework and physics are set, it’s time to move onto what exists (other than dirt and air). Is one of your worlds a dead and dusty place where nothing can live for more than ten minutes? Or is it a world full of life, with trees and strange, magical creatures running around? Again, for Earth, this is all pretty much set…that is, if you are setting it in today’s world. In the future, however, Earth has many different paths it can take. Earth has the possibility of turning into any type of world you can imagine. After all, it’s your storyline, and your universe. But any other planet also has this possibility.

SIDE NOTE: If you’ve ever played Final Fantasy VI, you will se a dramatic change in the world about halfway through the game. This sudden change in both setting and storyline was what seemed to make it such a popular game.

But if you have no intentions of changing the setting at any point in the game, that’s fine too. There are countless different settings you can choose from, but it’s best to choose based on what types of technology there are. For example, you wouldn’t want a story with people who still live in trees fighting with laser guns. So…yeah, pick a setting that fits.

Now onto technology and history. Why are these two in the same section you ask? Well that’s a silly question. Technology and history are intertwined. It is because of our history that we have so much technology today (After all, if it weren’t for the Trojan War, we wouldn’t have the nuclear bomb!)…anyway, if your story begins well after the universe was created, there were undoubtedly many conflicts, and possibly wars…unless, of course, your story takes place in a utopia and gets attacked by aliens or whatever. But even if there was a utopia, it had to have SOME sort of history in order for everyone to live so happily.

As I was saying, technology exists because of what happened in the past. In your universe, the same thing should apply. Give everything a history, even if the history is not actually mentioned in the story at all. With this information, you will subconsciously add detail and depth as your write (or create). This has worked wonders for me ever since I started doing it.

And finally, the characters. If you’re creating a storyline, you probably thought about who the characters are and what their goals are. Well, with the information you’ve gathered for yourself, you can place the characters into this universe that exists only within your mind. Of course, not all of the information will actually make it into the game/text, but at least you, as the creator, can answer every question you’re given about your game/book. That’s always a nice satisfaction to live with.

Fortunately, if you’re not into creating your own universe, you can always use one that’s already been created! From what I’ve seen, there are a LOT. Cyberpunk and Middle Earth are all that I can think of. But since this article isn’t about universes already created, I’ll just tell you to ask other people about what kinds of worlds/universes there are. Personally, I like creating my own because…well…it’s just cooler that way.

Well, I hope this article helped/will help guide you through creating the setting for your storyline. I haven’t written any articles recently, so I felt that I owed GamingWorld one.

Right…I need to end the article now. I just like writing…it feels so much better than using the mouse to select commands in rm2k. I guess I’ll get carpal this way. Oh well. It was worth it. Now, to end this article, I will write a single word. And that word is… “Belly button”.