How much of reality can we rely upon when building fiction? The movie Inception argues that you should create your dreams without external stimuli, otherwise it falls apart. While John [right] and Trishna [left] are purely fictional, the world of “The Story” is mainly based on our reality; it’s more broad constructive criticism than narrow escapist recreationism. That said, once something is named, even a fictional town like Lanada, it can become its own “reality.”
Spoilers?: Minor (broad worldbuilding brainstorming)
Lanada is John’s pre-narrative home town.
After bouncing around places similar to the midwest, he finds himself in a valley of poverty and chaos. Perhaps there was once a salvatory oasis there, but by the time he arrives as a teenager in his high school years, there is only grime and crime. It’s a rough place to eek out an existence, and as an outsider with a physical impairment, he is victim to ridicule and dogma.
Exaggerated Small Town USA stuff.
I’m stealing primary locations from reality because it’s easier. Eville, a seaside town of wealth and high-society, is based on Seattle, Washington. Lanada, then, should be based on Washington’s other metropolitan city, “oasis” in the desert Spokane, which is like Seattle, except for the lack of resources and culture that could make it a good or even decent city.
(Was that too harsh?)
Both are baselines. They are places I know well, or decently well, so they are intrinsically tied to my subconscious. As I develop my writing abilities, from communicating ideas effectively to capturing ideas to communicate, I will travel more. I want to soak in more of this reality than what I have so far, and I see where my own limiters impair that dream.
Building Lanada, or writing “The Story,” takes time.
Now that I’m writing innocent short stories within the Sammohini Arc twice weekly, building elements within “The Story,” I can start to practice observing and writing fiction more naturally. Not all of it is great. No use dwelling on the details. Cities are built and rebuilt. A building can dilapidate and newer technology can build better buildings.
The same is true for fiction.
We seek perfection where it cannot exist. Seattle is not a perfect city. There is grime and glitter there. Why, then, should we kill the vitality of fiction, sterilize it with constant rewrites, all in the name of some cohesive whole? Let the gas station of Lanada be on the west or east side of town. What’s more important than geographical detail is narrative weight.
That’s what I’m building through these update essays.
Places and objects have importance. Lanada, to John, represents a terrible place with one grand opportunity for escape. For others John meets in college, Lanada could be a once-beautiful town. So while it is “the nothing,” just as Eville is a pun on “evil,” there are good and bad in both. It’s just a matter of finding or avoiding either one.
Let’s soak in more of our reality.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: Taking the bus into and out of Seattle.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Photo: A seemingly quick shot, but the tan plate piece is supposed to represent the blank slate of Lanada…|
|Written On: June 12th [45 minutes]|
|Last Edited: July 18th [15 minutes]|