HOW TO CREATE YOUR LANDSCAPE
Creating the terrain is essential for setting and for everything else that your story needs. Without a landscape, you will have trouble moving your characters through your story. It’ll feel like driving up a long mountain road with no end in sight. There’s nothing that can come of it except for motion sickness and the loss of precious vacation days.
Thinking about the falling bark premise from LET THERE BE LIGHT, what do we have? We know that the food supplies are damaged and that the government is rationing it, but what else do we want? Here we can choose fantasy or sci-fi. Sci-fi says that we are an industry destroyed environment. But let’s take the more challenging approach of going the fantasy route. Why is fantasy more challenging here? Well think about it. Everyone can agree that if industries boomed, then trees would be dying. But the challenge of making people believe your fantasy excuse for the falling bark will be more interesting for our “workshop”.
So let’s say that our land is full of towering trees and plush vegetation. But with the death of the goddess of plants, life forms are deteriorating. We can start here. A lot more has to be defined since we are using fantasy instead of sci-fi. But for the sake of our terrain, we’ll stay on the landscape. We’ll envision a land with rolling hills and mountains.
One final thing. What else is affected? We have a dwindling food supply for humans which means that people are dying of starvation. How does that change the landscape? Do people start to migrate? What are they migrating towards? What’s the resistance to the migration? Who decides to stay and wait to see if the bark will stop falling from the trees? How does this decision to stay by one character affect your other characters? See how a few simple questions lead to complex answers? This is progressing well. Let’s keep going tomorrow!