I’ve been having a creativity block… which is a terrible thing to have during finals at art school. I had hoped Gravity Falls would help jump start my brain’s imagination… it kinda worked. Mostly it was just fun to draw these guys again.
Creating a world where magic and technology co-exist
Mixing science fiction and magic can be tricky; if everyone in the world is capable of teleporting anywhere at anytime, it probably won’t make much sense for people to own cars, for example. Blending these two forces leads to countless exciting possibilities, but it can also end up creating some inconsistencies that your audience will pick up on if you don’t think things through well.
I have several tips and things you should think about if you want to build a world that mixes sci-fi and fantasy. Ultimately how detailed you get with it is up to you; maybe you want to plot out ever single tiny aspect of how your world works, or maybe you just want to have robot dragons and to hell with whoever disagrees! It’s a story of your making; if you and your audience are having fun with it, that’s what I consider most important.
Either way, here’s some things to think about!
- Of course, it helps to start off with the usual integral factors that tend to define societies; things like geography, language, religion, laws, agriculture, philosophy, etc. Before you even start throwing magic/tech into the mix, what does your world look like? What does it sound like? What does it taste like??
- How does magic work in your world? Is it a gift only available to a select few, or can pretty much any Average Joe summon a fireball? Are all mages Clerics (with magic derived from a powerful entity), Wizards (with magic learned from studying), Sorcerers (with magic just as an innate trait), or a mixture of these (and other?) things?
- How does technology (generally) work in your world? How widely available is it? How well is it understood? What level is it at; are there nanobots in everyone’s bloodstreams, or is a bronze sword considered “high technology”?
- How well do magic and technology (generally) mix in your world? Are they both just two different tools for solving problems, or opposed forces? Can one be used to study the other? Can someone be an expert on both things? What problems have been solved (and created) from blending the two?
- Are either things taboo? How much social friction do either things cause? Is the use of one meant to be secret or forbidden? Why?
- Are tech-favoring people/societies generally on equal footing with magic-favoring ones? They don’t have to be! The world being skewed in one side’s favor could be a great source of conflict!
- What can only be done with magic? What can only be done with technology? Consider the limitations of both forces in the world. Does one force typically work better in some or most ways than the other? What things simply can’t be replicated by one side?
- Consider how advanced each side is. What methods of communication, transportation, education, fuel consumption, medical care, etc are available to magic-favoring societies and which ones are available to tech-favoring societies? One side may not be exclusively better than the other; a tech-favoring society might have much faster land transportation in the form of huge cars, but a magic-favoring one might be able to magically tame huge creatures that can walk on walls and reach places tech can’t easily get to.
- (When it can,) how does magic solve the same problems as tech and vice versa? A magical stone of far-speech can fill the magic-equivalent role of a phone, for example. A manufactured chemical packet could function like a certain spell. Of course, if one side’s method is so ubiquitous and accessible, it’s more likely that all people’s will favor it.
- On the other hand, the different perspectives will likely produce entirely different problems and methods of solving them. Beyond one side being unable to replicate certain things from another, they may not want to. Mages may have no interest in creating an internet analogue they instead have access to some great collective unconscious tech-favoring people can’t access. How might one describe these things to the other? This is where the real creative world-building comes in; not every problem should be solved by just having an equally viable magic or tech version of it. Different cultures will value things differently, and exploring that leads to lots of creative worldbuilding and conflict!
- Consider what divisions might exist within societies. There are always subdivisions within groups; not all mages are as powerful, knowledgeable, or experienced as one another. Some subgroups may think themselves superior in some way, and/or might look down upon others within their own circle for all kinds of reasons. No group is a hivemind (unless they literally are); groups are made up individuals!
- Lastly (but possibly most importantly), DON’T GET TOO CAUGHT UP WITH HOW COOL YOUR WORLD IS! Consider exactly what information is relevant to the audience and what interesting ways you can show/explain it. Remember that the focus should generally remain on the characters; there’s nothing wrong with having lots of extra world-building details, but they can bog down the story in minutia if you get too off track! You can always explore and explain deeper lore in side material!
I am loving the top 10 lists!! Can you please do one that is like "top 10 vacation/travel stories"
Top 10 Vacation/Travel Stories:
10) The first time they go to Thailand to visit Phichit, they
both try and speak as much Thai as they can to practice the language and be
polite. The only problem is is that Viktor speaks about three words of actual Thai and
the rest of his technique is just have a go and learn along the way and Yuuri
has a really, really strong accent when he speaks Thai so Phichit spends the whole trip just laughing at
both of them
9) Once when they were sunbathing on the beach Viktor fell
asleep by accident and got sunglass tan lines burned onto his face and refused
to come out of the house for days until they faded
8) Once during the NHK Trophy, Chris and Phichit were skating
in it and Viktor and Yuuri had come to cheer them on and before the competition
they went out to get food together. Since they were in Japan they all made sure to go to a café that
was absolutely filled with posters of Yuuri just to watch him slowly die of embarrassment
7) On Viktor’s first visit to Japan he stayed in the onsen
so long that Yuuri was concerned he had drowned because he decided that hot
springs were the best things on earth and he never wanted to leave
6) During Yuuri’s first trip to Russia he met some of Viktor’s
neighbours and they were all really nice but whenever he saw them gossiping in
the halls of the building when he walked past he noticed they kept using the same phrase all the time before looking over at him and
smiling and laughing. He got kind of self-conscious and worried that they were laughing at him or
saying he wasn’t worthy of Viktor or something. When he repeated the phrase to
Viktor it turned out that all of Viktor’s neighbours in his apartment block had
taken to calling Yuuri ‘Viktor’s attractive foreign boyfriend’ and were usually
gossiping about how lucky Viktor was whenever Yuuri walked by
5) The one I mentioned in a previous top ten about them both
being on a long haul flight and Yuuri slept for the entire 15 hours and
felt great and Viktor couldn’t sleep at all and got bored out of his mind
because his boyfriend was asleep and not paying him any attention
4) Once Viktor and Yuuri both went back to Detroit for a
Skate Club reunion for Yuuri and all the skaters there spent the entire time
gawking at Viktor because A) Yuuri somehow managed to bag himself the Living
Legend and they were all very jealous/impressed and B ) They all remembered how
Yuuri used to be hell bent on beating Viktor and then the next time they see
him he has a ring and they spend the entire time calling each other pet names
and holding hands and generally being the cutest couple ever
3) The first time they visit Chris in Switzerland, Yuuri
secretly practices French because it’s what he always hears Viktor and Chris
talking in and he doesn’t want to sound ignorant or feel left out even though
Viktor had already promised to translate if need be. But then they arrived and
everyone was talking in German and Yuuri was like ‘what?’. And then they
travelled somewhere else and everyone was talking in Italian and Yuuri was like
‘what???’ And then they finally went to the French speaking part of Switzerland
but Chris offhandedly mentioned that there was also Romansh as another official
language and Yuuri was like ‘help, I’m not multilingual enough for this’.
2) On Yuuri’s first trip to Russia he finally got to
experience the dubious joy of Viktor’s driving which mainly consisted of him
hanging on for dear life in the passenger seat like ‘we’re going to die, we’re going to die, Viktor I DON’T WANT
TO DIE IN A PINK CONVERTIBLE’
1) Once Viktor and Yuuri were walking around Tokyo on a trip
and lots of people were looking at them and Yuuri was just like ‘oh Viktor,
look how many people are looking at you! There must be a lot of skating fans
here.’ And Viktor was just sort of side-eyeing him like, ‘Yuuri do you think
they’re looking at me, the Russian tourist, or you, Japan’s Ace who has won
multiple gold medals for this country and whose face is on a billboard literally
right across the street from us?’
I’ve heard it all before,
that one day I won’t miss you
I won’t love you anymore
and perhaps that could be half true
that I will not miss you
but I don’t think it is possible that
my heart could forget someone like you.