Sunday, March 31, 2013

World Building A to Z: Architecture, Ancestry, and the Arts

Welcome to Day 1 or Day A of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. A big THANK YOU to Arlee Bird and his awesome team at Blogging from A to Z for setting this whole thing up. 

This month, I will share details I've noticed in world building and establishment of setting.

Architecture: How do houses and buildings look like in a world? What does the architecture of a place tell you about how design is valued within a culture, and what construction materials are available?

Examples: The architecture in The Flintstones have quite a down home appeal with its chunky boulder rock models. Real estate from The Flintstones is different from houses and buildings in The Jetsons, which appear sleek with rounded edges and lots of glass.

Ancestry:  What position or use(s) does an elder have in the family and in society? How do people view their elders?

Examples: In CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (MG) by Roald Dahl, Charlie's grandparents snuggle together in a quaint little bed as if they're having at a 24/7 slumber party.  Charlie choosing his grandfather to accompany him on the tour of the chocolate factory hints that the story is also about the bond between a boy and his grandfather.
 


In THE GIVER (YA) by Lois Lowry, elders don't seem to be valued much. In the community Jonas is raised in, once someone has reached a mature age, they die by lethal injection. 

The Arts: What do people consider the arts? What does the appeal of a certain art form tell you about its consumer?

Examples: In the TV show Frasier, Frasier loves the opera and couture art. He and his brother Niles are proud of their refined tastes and even consider themselves superior to others because of this. 

I like watching dance movies. So I recently saw Magic Mike on DVD with a girlfriend, and while I will pass on sharing commentary about the chief attraction of the movie- this is a family-friendly blog after all- I will say the dancing and choreography was very polished, and the male lead was appropriately cast. In Tampa, Florida, where the movie is set, male exotic dancing is considered "the arts" to college girls and bachelorette party goers who comprise of a significant demographic of this world.

What other examples can you offer from books, TV, movies, etc....where architecture, ancestry, and the arts make a distinctive appearance within a world or setting?

36 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

You've reminded me I have The Giver on my shelf and have been meaning to get around to reading it!

Karen Tamara said...

You said the Flinstones and I instantly thought of the Jetsons for architecture! They were some of my favorites. ;)

And, the reference to people dying by injection in the Giver reminded me of the exact same thing happening in Matched by Ally Condie. I loved that book. I haven't finished the series and I didn't enjoy the second as much as the first, but Matched was so beautifully written. If you haven't read it but you liked the Giver, I'd highly recommend it!

Brett Minor said...

I think of many horror films and how the architecture of the haunted house is so important.

Dropping by from A to Z Challenge. This is my first year participating.

Brett Minor
Transformed Nonconformist

Nick Wilford said...

This is a great theme! Look forward to some great tips on world building. The Lord of the Rings would be a good example. Ancestry is important, and you can tell the Hobbits like to be cosy, stay-at-home people with their holes in the ground.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips on world building. Can't wait to read more.

Blogwati Gee said...

World Building brings to mind so many aspects that make us a global community. Nice theme, look forward to more.

Teresa Coltrin said...

Hi, Cynthia!!! If I could choose a career again, it would be architecture. I love the two books you've given as example for ancestry and arts too.

Great theme!

T

Elise Fallson said...

I've got an epic fantasy that I really want to start working on, and world building will be important. Your theme definitely interests me so I'll be around for AZ. Also, I have to say the amount of magic in MAGIC MIKE was AMAZING! (;

Mark Means said...

Wow, very ambitious post and you pulled it off well! World building can be daunting but, also, a lot of fun :)

Donna L Martin said...

I love architecture...especially gothic European buildings dating back for centuries...;~) Good luck with the challenge! I participated last year and had a blast!

Donna L Martin
www.donasdays.blogspot.com

Laura Marcella said...

I watch Chocolat every year at Easter and this year I really noticed how lovely the old buildings are in the film. It's such a quaint, old-fasioned town. Buildings aren't made like that anymore, sadly.

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Cindy Dwyer said...

Definitely some of the TV shows from my childhood. The Jetson's, Mister Rogers and the Magic Garden come to mind.

Judy said...

I loved The Giver. And I'm with Cindy - - the Jetsons for sure come to my mind. Maybe even Lost in Space :)

Look forward to your B-Z :)

DL Hammons said...

My son went to college to be an Architect. He switched majors after one year to Industrial Engineering. Didn't turn out to be what he thought it was. :)

Charlotte Cheng said...

Great points to think about it when building a world. I'm doing that right now for a story so this entry helped a lot! Looking forward to learning more from your A to Z challenge :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Great comments about world building. I hadn't though of all of those with the my latest fantasy so I'll have to go back and look at it.

randi lee said...

Great subjects you have there. You're making me think about my world building!

Dawn Malone said...

I think many people think world building applies only to fantasy, but it's important in any fictional genre. Interesting theme! Looking forward to other posts on this!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All good things to get us to thinking! I admit the last one hasn't come up in my writing yet.

Cherie Reich said...

Great theme! I love your comparisons. It reminds me that I need to think of the ancestry a bit more. I can't remember if I have many really old people in my fantasy worlds. Oops!

A to Z Participant
Cherie Reich - Author and Surrounded by Books Reviews

Christine Rains said...

I love this theme and you've had a fantastic start. All very important things to think about.

John Wiswell said...

Television is becoming more referential than ever. Just yesterday I watched an In Treatment where the therapist and patient compared themselves to Nabokov's Lolita. Silver Linings Playbook has the main character rant about Hemingway's sad endings and throw one of his books out a window. Film has always adapted works, but it's more invigorating to me to see works incorporating fiction into the lives of characters (even if Silver Linings was, itself, an adaptation).

Clarissa Draper said...

It's funny you've mentioned Frasier. I've been recently watching old episodes of Frasier on Netflix.

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

This is something I struggle with in writing. Setting the scene and being consistent. My current WIP has to set the scene of a beach town, but also a military base. Challenging, but fun. Thanks for the tips.

Nicole said...

Great pillars of world building.

Ella said...

Well done...I enjoyed your Amazing post :D

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I liked Magic Mike too. How about Black Swan?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Those are all important. One of my books is set in ABQ, NM, and fortunately I lived there for 4 years and was able to infuse the culture, the arts, and the design of the buildings into the story. I still miss adobe...

josna said...

Terrific idea for a theme for the month. I enjoyed this and learnt something, too. Will definitely check back.

kathy said...

Oooh, I LOVE this! Excellent advice and I love how it's all geared to A. Can't wait to read more.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I think it's Matched that has the same thing, where elders are killed at a certain age. Theirs is a peaceful end through a poisoned meal. Love the comparison of the Jetsons and the Flintstones. Funny how the historic one is all squares and hard angles (appropriate for the time, really), and the futuristic one is all sleek angles and curves. That has ended up being how modernization has worked in a lot of ways.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Lynda R Young said...

I love world building and your examples are brilliant for getting the point across.

Cynthia said...

Thanks, everyone, for all your comments!

Denise Covey said...

My protagonist is an architect. Lots in your post.

Jay Noel said...

I believe architecture is very important in a book's setting. I always include it my stories. In one of my manuscripts, a general is admiring the architecture of the people he's about to conquer, and he wants to preserve as much of it as he can.

The Wicked Writer said...

Brilliant, I'll be staying in touch with this as much as I can.

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