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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Build a Story World

Thresholds of Distance 

These include worlds apart in distance, such as East to West, or civilization to wilderness.  Then too, is the distance created by time barriers as found in time travel fantasy to move across historical eras, and science–fiction travel crossing space and time?

Each one of these thresholds often includes a mechanism. How will the crossing and re-crossing be accomplished? What new thresholds happen if stranded? Is there a limit before a character must choose to stay or leave permanently?

The movie Avatar includes multiple layers. First there is the threshold to be permitted to travel to Avatar. Then there is the different stratas of power and influence within the mining colony. Next comes the limited access to the Nav’i, the inhabitants of Pandora, with another hierarchy of status based on qualities almost completely counter cultural to the business based colony. And within each crossing and re-crossing is the threat of death from the poisonous atmosphere.

Take another look at the movie, or another time-space crossing genre, and make a list of all the distance barriers: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and morally.


1.       Choose one of the above categories and put your character into that moment of choice. Overwrite all the sensory details.

2.        Then write up the scene twice, once for each possible decision: to flee or fight, or to submit the accepted ‘dogma’ either socially or personally.

Share: Which one has the strongest emotional reaction? Why?

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