4 Keys to Crafting an Excellent Setting pt. 2

Before I begin I just want to say that this is Part 2 in the 4 Keys to Crafting an Excellent Setting.  Part 1 is available here.

3. Aids in Suspension of Disbelief

Say you have an important plot point that could be considered borderline off the wall/ Deus Ex Machina.  If you really want to keep that point in, then you could craft the world around it so that it makes sense.  The best example I can think of is James Cameron’s Avatar.

At the end, as Jake Sully and the rest of the Na’vi are being mowed down by space mercs, the planet rises up and helps them defeat the bad guys.  Nature itself intervenes in the battle.  Deus Ex Machina right?

Not necessarily.

I personally think in the context of this story it works perfectly.  In the entire movie there is a constant reference to Eywa, the spirit of the planet.  They keep showing how you can link brains with the other animals.  They even have Jake Sully speaking DIRECTLY to the planet through one of those massive trees and Neytiri say something akin to, “Eywa doesn’t pick sides.”

Over and over again it refers to the consciousness of the planet.  Is it really so hard to believe that this odd semi-consciousness wouldn’t know that its last battle to remain free and undamaged wasn’t going terribly?  Is it so crazy to believe it wouldn’t do anything it could to save itself?

For me it’s not.  For me I think it was excellently played and totally follows the internal logic of the story.

4. The Environment has a Personality all it’s Own.

America is a crazy country man.  We’ve got so many different ecosystems and sub cultures in the US of A that there’s something for everyone.  All the way from rural to urban, and temperate to tropical, you’re going to find a place and climate where you fit.

That’s the same for your story.

For example, my book No Rest for the Wicked takes place in Los Angeles, despite starting in Upstate New York.  Why you ask?  My main character Nico is looking for a fresh start.  When planning this story, I pulled up a map and followed a straight, diagonal line across the country.  That was the farthest major city away from upstate New York without leaving the lower 48.

Also, I liked the idea of a very urban and disconnected city for the setting of my story, because so many different types of people congregate there. (Multiculturalism remember?)

There are a few other reasons but I won’t bore you with them.(Or possibly ruin too much of the story…)  At the end of the day, Los Angeles seemed perfect for me because the very disconnected sense and feeling of L.A. let alone any big city, is exactly what my main character wanted.

If you ask me it worked out perfectly, and it can for you too.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Think I’m nuts?  Whatever you do think, please make sure to leave your thoughts int he comment section below.


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Featured Image shared under license of Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0: Made up of: Futuristic Setting courtesy of:  Jonas de Rio Kenilworth Castle courtesy of: Tilliebean Charles Marion Russel’s, Smoke of a .45 in Public Domain.  Thomas Cole’s, Cora Kneeling at the foot of Tamenund in Public Domain

One response to “4 Keys to Crafting an Excellent Setting pt. 2

  1. Pingback: 4 Keys to Crafting an Excellent Setting pt. 1 | Vincent Alcaras -- Author·

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