Reflections

WEEK 7 REFLECTIONS

Koblizek’s (2009) states that the fictional world [FW] constructed by an author are reconstructed in the minds of the reader. The mental images in this process of reconstructing a fictional world by the reader are there for them to think over and make a part of their experience, just as they would experience the natural world (Kobliek, 2009). I find this theory to be true as imagining comes hand in hand with reading and that there are details and logic that need to be considered for a reason. Having a ‘world’ or otherwise ‘setting’ in any story is important as it caters to the characters, giving them somewhere to live out their story and events (Chapman, H). Building a FW should look like the process of creating a character and as a writer I am expected to get to know the world I create before bringing it to life in a story. I tried to establish this early on in week 5 by making an outline first of the actual body of the story then later deconstructing the elements of my FW outline week 7 – digging deeper into details through my inspirations I thought about from Week 6 though I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of my FW myself.

I found that I hit a wall in Week 5 while trying to develop my FW just yet as I had come to realise that my focus on my inspirations probably should have been in this first week of development. Learning about successful author J.K Rowling’s inspirations and creative processes in creating her Harry Potter Universe seemed daunting at first as I came to learn that something of that success and magnitude that is the golden empire of Harry Potter took months and years develop. I think the self-doubt in my ability to write or imagine came in with the error of comparing and it took me some time to cancel this pressure that whatever I come with needed to be to be great. Deconstructing the fictional world of Hogwarts and focusing on her inspirations helped me consider and engage in my own like I hoped it would. In many ways elements of my FW are homages to a lot of childhood nostalgia for me. They represent my feelings about certain places in life too like that of K Road and Silo Park which serve as the major inspirations for the physicality of my FW.

In the process, so far I have learnt that building a fictional world is so much more than just a ‘setting’ for things to happen, it’s understanding that it goes beyond just houses, buildings and streets but that these places should evoke some sort of meaning or message. I have literally tried to do that with many of the features and elements of my world in hoping that it coincides with my theme of ‘the loss of innocence’.  What I am finding is that I need to be more proactive in taking down notes of when ideas or thoughts come into my head as they come as they often come when I least expect it and by the time it comes for me to sit down and think about it I have often forgotten and I feel stuck again. I’m thinking that I should probably help this situation by using my smartphone to record and take down notes as it is the one device I carry with me everywhere and more convenient then a pen and paper.

WEEK 9 REFLECTIONS

“All writers are cartographers, all acts of creation the inking out of a new landscape, filling in its blank, white spaces. Modern fantasy exists on the boundaries between the real and imaginary, the internal and external, between childhood and adulthood, past and present.” (Stroud, 2011)

I learnt that a study conducted by the University of Virginia on a child’s engagement with fantasy worlds can help a child learn to see the viewpoints of others when imagining a world.  Their findings showed ‘possible causal relationship whereby engagement in fantasy helps children develop an understanding of minds’ (Dore, 2015). There are endless possibilities when creating a fantasy world. Stroud (2011) explains that fantasy is a great way to teach morals or draw attention to an issue or concept and idea which can be found in the theme of a story. For me I have chosen to explore the theme of loss of innocence. Stroud (2011) believes that fantasy is the modern equivalent to oral folk tales and stories of the past. He also goes on to say that in any writers work is usually a response to stories we have already heard before. It is definitely a platform for exploring the imagination and entertaining any idea to any extreme. In developing my own story I have definitely taken stories I have heard into account. My detailing of a portal between my alternate universes are my own versions used by the likes of Rowling and Lewis. I can remember stories where there was literal doorways, TV screens and even bathtubs and so my concept of an item clothing was my attempt in opting for a different type of gateway.

As I continue to develop this story and the details of my fictional world I now realise that the scope of my project may be larger than I had intended it to be. I have grown to really know my fictional world in this process and want to mention so many of its facets in my end product but realise that this would then e the makings of a child fantasy novel instead of a short story. I have definitely worsened with time management with the work set for the last 2 weeks and this is purely down to the fact that I felt overwhelmed by my own development of details. I should of asked for help in this area at the beginning of week 8 or end of week 7, particularly for advice on what I should share in the story in order to establish my fictional world. Time and time again I have read in my sources for learning that my fictional world cannot be the sole focus of my story but I feel that my details have made it seem that way. Apparently it would be boring to only focus on just what is meant to be background support for the plot and characters so I intend on working and improving on this in my first draft through more discussions with my affinity group and other writers.

WEEK 11 REFLECTIONS

The work I have done for weeks 10 and 11 have been very hard due to being thrown off course by a death in the family. What I failed to do was actually map out and plan the plot of my story itself and I had intensively worked on a first draft without doing this in week 10. As a result I found that I was focusing on little details that really did not matter to the story and found that I was taking too long to get to the focal point of my projecgt which is of course my fictional world in this entire story. Reading the ‘Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (Lewis, 1950)  and viewing ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ (Adamson, 2005) helped me get reaquainted with the child fantasy genre I was focusing on as it had been some time I had been emersed in a fictional world intimately which I thnk is better established through a novel. The length of a novel gives room for details of the fictional world to be established and I am worried that I will not have enough space to do this with the time I have. For week 11 I decided that it would be better to use this time to create a plot outline to follow that will hopefully keep me better on track with drafting my story -instead of making comparisons with the fictional world elements of Narnia. This does means that I will have to change alot of my first draft but feel better about having a plan to follow for my first draft.

WEEK 13 REFLECTIONS

The process of developing my fictional world was very enjoyable and I learnt a great deal about what is appealing to children in terms of fiction and reading. But I found that I particularly struggled with writing the finished product due to a lack of input I was unable to gain from other writers because of poor time management and motivation. I realise now how vital this was in improving my story. However, the criteria I had set for myself were quite drastic to begin with considering the amount of time I had set for myself to piece together the details and applying it to a narrative. It also didn’t help that I was unable to think of how to properly execute certain parts of my FW often because of the desperate need to be original and uninfluenced by the other FWs I had read of. As a result alot of the details I had developed in the first few weeks were left out in the final draft of my story. In terms of the criteria I had set for myself in my project plan, I would have to admit that probably only 60% of this was achieved. I took on this project hoping to have created a world that was detailed and believable but I lost sight of this goal while I was writing it’s narrative. In the end it felt like I was taking on 2 seperate projects and became overwhelmed once I stopped sticking to the schedule (project plan) I had set for myself. Next time when working on such a project I should continually be referring back to my notes because I ended up changing details in the story although I added on and took away some too for logical and creative reasons.  I do realise that if I truly want to create a fictional world that it takes much more time to intimately get to develop and know everything about it it in order to write about it -should I want it to reach the calibre and success of worlds like Narnia and Hogwarts. In saying that, I am happy that I have created and developed a world now through this process for future development and exploration to work into a novel instead.

References

Koblizek, T. (2009). The Theory of Fictional Worlds from the Perspective of Structural Analysis. Prague: Charles University. Retrieved from http://old.flu.cas.cz/fictionality2/koblizek.pdf

Chapman, H. (2008). Building Your Story’s Setting | Novel Writing HelpNovel Writing Help. Retrieved 13 March 2017, from http://www.novel-writing-help.com/story-setting.html

Stroud, J. (2011). The F Word: Writing Fantasy for Children | The Patrick Hardy Lecture 2011 (pp. 1-16). Retrieved from http://www.jonathanstroud.com/images_news/jonathan_stroud_patrick_hardy_lecture.pdf

Dore, R., & Lillard, A. (2015). Theory of Mind and Children’s Engagement in Fantasy Worlds (1st ed., pp. 230-239). Virginia: University of Virginia. Retrieved from http://udel.edu/~rdore/Dore,%20Lillard%20-%202015%20-%20Theory%20of%20mind%20and%20children%27s%20engagement%20in%20fantasy%20worlds.pdf

Adamson, A. (2005). The chronicles of Narnia. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe. USA, UK: Walden Media, Walt Disney Pictures.

Lewis, C. (1950). The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. United Kingdom: Geoffrey Bles.

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