Ok, this is a literary blog, but I think the genre of fiction can stretch across many different outlets. One of my favorite fictional series is Final Fantasy, which is a series of video games for Sony Playstation. The originality in plot, music, and visuals is always enough to inspire me when I’m feeling disconnected from my muse.
There are countless inspirational settings in the series. And I do mean countless. One of my favorites that I would like to talk about today is The Tomb of the Unknown King. The tomb is a ruin of what used to be a temple, or castle, or crypt. The outside is overgrown with lush greenery as though nature was taking back what belonged to it. There is also water around the ruins, but not running water. Not from a source. Just a still pond or reservoir that is churned only by a single waterwheel in the heart of the tomb.
Inside is a labyrinth of rooms and hallways. The tomb is a dungeon in the technical sense. In video games, dungeons consist of puzzles that the player must solve to advance the story. In this case, you must find your way through the maze of rooms to achieve your victory. As you walk from room to room, the hallways are lined by waterways, as well as having what appears to be water above you as well. Sunlight can be seen peeking through the cracks of the stone above you, and water drips down.
The mixture of the ruins with the natural greenery and water creates a truly gorgeous atmosphere. I remember playing through this area the first time. I didn’t want to leave. The music they played also added a dreamy sort of atmosphere. This location was separate from all the other drama of the game. It stood alone as a sanctuary, a solitude of slight mystery.
Who was the king? Why was he unknown? Upon digging deeper, you can discover that the king was the first emperor of Deling City, and was buried nameless so that no one would remember his legacy. Nothing else is mentioned of this king. He is, for all literary purposes, unknown. But it is that mystery that makes this one of my favorite settings in the game. This is an example of world building. Creating history for a location you visit in the game but purposefully being sparse on the details. It leaves you wondering and wanting to piece together some other story there.
After all, most things in history can be researched, but they will still largely remain a mystery as we cannot go back in time and relive those experiences. History adds so much depth to a story. Tell of the fallen kings, the nameless warriors, the evils performed by humanity. It is the dark history that can be truly horrifying. Even if your story is not supposed to be scary, adding in haunting history can add a whole other level to your world.
As you write, leave some pieces untied. Leave your readers wandering about the things you briefly mention in passing and that have no relevance to the plot. This is how to weave a three dimensional story.
Thoughts? Opinions? Do you touch on the history of things and locations in your story? Or do you find things like that boring and unnecessary?
Talk to you later,