fruityloops wrote: ↑
20 Feb 2018 18:50
So if you had an idea that’s been done before, how did you execute it differently?
I think this is the wrong way to think about things.
I think if you go into things with that perspective, you focus too much on "ideas" - little "hey wouldn't it be cool if" slogans - and you get the idea that the solution to a failure to implement one idea is just another idea. That is, if you go in with this mindset, you start asking questions like "what variation on this idea could I introduce to make it different?"
...and I don't think that works, because ideas are the wrong level to be working at - they're vague, repetitive, distant. When you try to solve problems with ideas, you find it very hard to get good ideas, and that ideas by themselves don't really fix anything. You need ideas, of course, but I think that, particularly if you're not certain about the ideas, it's good to transition from ideas to content as quickly as possible.
What do I mean by content? I mean filling in the folder that has the 'idea' as the name on the front page. Metaphorically speaking. Take an idea and ask: OK, so what does that mean?
Specifically in fiction you ask: what does that mean for what can and will happen in my plot? In conworld it's less clearcut, of course, but it's probably still useful to think about what the idea means for which plots can take place in your setting.
If the answer is "this makes no significant difference", then the idea is just fluff, not a real concept. There is a role for fluff, of course. Fluff is window-dressing, and it can change how people feel about a work. But fluff doesn't fundamentally change anything - you can't build on fluff. It's like trying to build a house out of cool wallpaper. Instead, to form a story, you need some sort of content - something that makes it a different story from other stories. And when you have content, you find that content is always slightly different, so that the problem of an 'overdone idea' goes away.
So think: which ideas are going to be fluff, and which ideas are going to be content? The latter, you need to take seriously (fluff can be serious or silly depending on genre, but even in a comedy it's wise to take the core content seriously, or else it all falls apart). How does this idea actually change things?
My take on dragons are that they're a race of beings that descended from power beast when the world was still young.
This, for instance, sounds like fluff. Whether you call something a "dragon" or a "power beast" doesn't change anything about the story.
In there mostly human form, they have markings on their backs that turn into wings they need them.
This is also probably fluff. "Unusual physical features that don't stop someone from being attractive" are a very easily and widespread form of fluff in SF&F settings. Wings could be content, but I suspect they aren't in this case, if they're wings on a shapeshifter.
I'd also take the opportunity to suggest: think about your assumptions. Why on earth do dragons have "a mostly human form"? I know it's traditional in D&D for dragons to be spellcasters who can use shapeshifting spells and for narrative purposes often appear looking like humans - but you don't have to copy D&D. But if you do - why wouldn't the dragons just make themselves look like humans, rather than humans with a visually-identifiable aberration? There could be a reason, of course - and that reason could even be content. But not until you actually interrogate that assumption.
Many of their kind served as warriors
Probably fluff (what species doesn't have many of their kind serve as warriors?).
definitely fluff, 'protector' isn't a job description.
of my setting until they all were killed off
Potential content! How does everyone being murdered affect their politics and psychology? Well, the obvious answer would be that it eliminates it because they're all dead, but...
by mage that could raise the dead
(i'm still trying to find a different name for necromancer).
Fluff! Finding a different name for things we all know the real words for is, at best, something you can leave until the actual book/conworld/whatever has been made - that's an editing decision of no actual significance. I'd also suggest that you not try too hard, because "calling things by silly names even though we know what they really are" is one of the most irritating clichés in bad writing, which tends to make people suspect that the rest of the worldbuilding may be equally superficial.
Thankfully they can reincarnate into new bodies when they die.
Well, that sounds like content. What consequences do immortality and invulnerability have? Of course, it means that the whole 'killed by necromancers' thing is definitely just fluff, since nobody's actually died and nobody's been killed, they've just been inconvenienced...