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How to write political intrigues (and wizards that aren't overpowered)

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Nov 12th 2015 at 11:58:39 PM

So...my world is (Possibly. I haven't decided if it's just weird) steampunk, but I'm focusing less on technology and magic and the general world, and wanted to put more effort into writing a setting that felt real while also having a fantastical feel to it. How difficult is it and how do I get started? Please note, I already have 4 noble houses (One of which is extinct, save one member due to a massacre that took place at the beginning of the story.)

DeusDenuo Relationship Status: Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Nov 13th 2015 at 11:43:07 PM

At this point, that's far too little to really help you with, yeah?

Dunno if you've already gone over to Writer's Block or not, but that's more where this sort of question belongs.

...But, since it's here.

The way to make a place feel real is in the details. That's the rule in its purest, most base form. You know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words"? It's like that, but more complicated.

A picture is visual. You need exactly one sense to comprehend it. You can't smell the tropical air, you can't taste the sunny sea breeze, you can't feel the warm sand beneath your feet, and you can't hear the waves gently lapping and licking at the shore (not to mention the seagulls) - and you have to get your reader to feel those other senses.

That's one approach, at least. It's only as difficult to imagine as unimaginative as your own mind is - and hard as balls to put into words others will understand, without years of practice. I say, hit the senses, and make sure the characters all feel slightly differently about the same experience. (You like sunny days because you hate the cold, I like cold days because I hate feeling hot, etc.)

As for politics, it's kinda hard to say anything helpful without knowing more about your world. In fact, at this point, it all sounds like Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter.

So, my advice? Go all Dark City. Three extant factions attempting to win political power (try using UK politics as a base; the two-party system is too solidly ingrained in the US) in a setting where there's an enormous secret no one wants to know the answer to. Main character works their way up one or two of them, A Fistful Of Dollars-style, at first for their personal gain but gradually because they want to know just what the hell is pulling the strings in their world.

(Wizards are only as overpowered as their fellow wizards aren't, is one way of looking at it. The guy with the Gatling Gun may be an overpowered god in 1875, but he's a joke next to a kid with a $25 Kalashnikov or Scorpion vz. 61 in 2015. Alternately, I'd just make the wizards only able to do one thing well with their magic or whatnot - one-trick ponies are still able to do that one trick well, ideally - but are the most learned scholars on the block due to how much they had to study to get there, and thus have skills outside of that one trick. Like accountants who can juggle.)

Man, where is everyone else?

nekomoon14 from Oakland, CA
Nov 14th 2015 at 1:19:42 AM

[up]Actually, you said it pretty well.

@Sephirot Aero: Just keeping asking "why" and "how" questions. Why are those four organizations important? How do they impact the setting and the characters? Why steampunk? How does your tech/magic impact the setting and the characters?

edited 14th Nov '15 1:22:53 AM by nekomoon14

Level 3 Social Justice Necromancer. Chaotic Good.
Nov 14th 2015 at 1:20:27 AM

The creation of the Houses is mired in mythology and religion, and it will seem confusing (Yes, the names of the Houses are named after card suits, and their founders are chess pieces. If it sounds ridiculous, keep in mind I revolve a lot of symbolism around this), so bear with me.

Each house is ruled by a four man council. The King (A rook fills in this role), the Queen (Filled by a Queen, obviously), a Jack (A bishop sits in here), and an Ace (Knight). Though the King and Queen's word is generally more respected, all members technically have equal say.

  • The House of Hearts, founded by the original Queen, Chosen of all the Gods.
    • Motto: "To dying days, with undying passion"
    • Strength: Diplomacy, trade and commerce
    • Virtue: Leadership

  • The House of Diamonds, founded by the original Bishop, Chosen of the Moon
    • Motto: "True vigilance is blind"
    • Strength: Magic, natural sciences, knowledge, studies
    • Virtue: Faith

  • The House of Clubs, founded by the original Rook, Chosen of the Sun
    • Motto: "Ever ignorant to fear"
    • Strengths: Military, defense of the Continent, warriors
    • Virtue: Courage

  • The House of Spades, founded by the original Knight, Chose of the Archon (Extinct, save one member)
    • Motto: "Honor unseen, but not unknown"
    • Strengths: Political intrigue, sense of morals, finding secrets
    • Virtue: Honor

There is a lot more than what I have here (I haven't even described the creation myth yet). I already have 5 main characters, 3 of which I still need to work on and yes this story is something I consider ambitious.

edited 15th Nov '15 2:22:13 PM by SephirotAero

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