ng_nighthawk (ng_nighthawk) wrote,

A Whole New World

I have this idea knocking around for some fiction. It's likely to be light fantasy (some possibility of changing it to light sci-fi). By the time I actually get around to spending time on this (a couple years) I'd like it to be at Z-man's reading level, but also be interesting for adults. Not exactly easy, and with my track record on these things by the time I get it figured out I won't have any interest anymore.

There' a lot figured out about plot and format which I'm not going to share. I've been told (and observed in myself) that if you express too much about your ideas you don't actually want to do anything with them.

The funny thing is that it's the world-building that I'm feeling a bit stuck on. That is normally my favorite part. And I know that the plot is going to flex quite a bit as the world develops... maybe having so much of the plot figured out is actually an impediment to world-building, because I'm too tied to my little plot to give myself the freedom to break the plot with the world.

Either way, I know there's plenty of folks here who might enjoy brainstorming with me. And I do mean brainstorming--at this point, I want ideas that are contradictory, crazy, or incongruent because approaching this by rationally building from what I already have has gotten me a bit stuck.

The core of the idea is the Roanoke Colony actually passed through a gate to another world called Croatan. Native American tribes were intent on destroying the colony, so they escaped through this gate and destroyed it so their enemies could not follow them. The plot of the story takes place in the modern day, so centuries have passed since this event.

Since then the colony has expanded, discovered other people from other cultures who have also come through other such gates. However, in modern times anyone who passes through the gates now is hunted down and attacked by a mysterious force.

But still, there were only a few people in Roanoke. Even with immigrants and centuries to expand, there's only so much potential for population. So one foundation point is that Croatan looks a lot like North America (including for the most part North American ecosystems and climates), but a North America that has a very sparse human population.

Because we are so haunted by the Enlightenment, what interested me here was to take a group of people from a culture on the verge of the Enlightenment, and let them develop on their own. What results, I think, is very similar but with some notable differences. One of those difference is that representative democracy as we understand it doesn't develop. There's a governor who still claims authority based on the king of England, whoever that may be, although there are representative institutions which do not hold authority over the governor but do represent the people's interests to the government.

What I'd like to do is take themes and myths from around the 17th century. Here's a list of the ideas I'm playing with, and if you'd like to add to it I'd love that.

  • Hermetic magic and alchemy (quasi-scientific approaches) vs. herbalism and folk magic

  • Related to the above, accusations of witchcraft

  • Individual choice vs great chain of being

  • Secret societies

  • Forgotten knowledge from ancient societies, esp. ruins thereof

  • Exploitative exploration and the romanticization of exoticism, both anthropological and geographic

  • Gothic romance (or rather, how does that particular impulse represent itself in this alternate cultural timeline?)

  • Fairies, goblins, other minor quasi-spiritual entities

  • Religious conflicts

  • Piracy

  • Mountain Man culture

  • Fountain of Youth

  • El Dorado

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