So far I have talked a lot about writing--vocabulary, habits, actions, and emotions. I try to hit the finer points that often get neglected in writing. However in my writing attempts I am afraid I neglected the most neglected and the most important part--environment!!
Before I begin I want to give a special shout out to @Thraxis. This is a guy who I have RP'ed with that shows exemplary skills in writing environments. Man, he is legit with these skills. He is totally ten out of ten when it comes to setting scenes and being "Environmentally friendly."
So, whether its a lightsaber battle of the ages or a massive land battle between two armies--it happens somewhere. Even space battles occur somewhere--over planets, in asteroid belts or on Planet's rings. As I learned in sociology: context is everything. For instance: "Get me a glass of water" means something different when you say it to a waitress as opposed to your girlfriend. Then it means something different at her place (where you know where nothing is at) versus at your place while watching the football game. See what I mean?
Setting the scene is more than "what planet is this on?" though in a galaxy of billions of planets, that is tons important too. Obviously Kamino is totally different from Tattoowine--but Tat has lots of different places on it too such as the Dune Sea and the Juntland Wastes. Look at my home town. You can cross a street in be in gangland where you had best not wear a wrong color. Or you could be in the rich hoods where tiles of the floors are custom made for $12 each. (I know I installed in one of the houses before). If its that diverse in town of 100k, imagine how diverse it is on a planet!
Now that we have established that, let me give you a few tips on what you can do to help get the ideas flowing for your environment.
1) Start with a concept. Just like building anything, its best, in my opinion to start with a one word idea. Then you branch off by giving three words that describe it. A few examples bellow:
Idea: Cantina
Idea: Farm
Idea: City
2) Use the Garden of your Mind!! Bob Ross said, "You can make magic happen, it all starts in the garden of your mind." The Prince of Painters had a point; we can all start our ideas by using the mental image in our heads. That illustrious imagination that brings forth your glorious fight sequences or quirkly characters can help to give birth to whole realms if you let it. I like to get in a quiet place all by myself, curl up in my favorite chair and think about the concepts I made. I pretend I am a director filming and I say, "what does the set look like?" I have been known to be induced in a trace-like state during these times and it has helped my meditation occasionally. After several minutes of just "being" there, the next step just kinda naturally happens.
3) get sense-ational. Yes, while we are very visual, this is the most prominent and relied on sense that we have, there are others. I actually suffered a chemical accident when I was four years old and now cannot smell--and can barely taste. Sorry, @Sasha Voss hate to disappoint you. But even then there are other things you can point out. Things I ask myself are:
-What is the temperature? hot/cold/warm/freezing, etc
-How is the lighting?
-What smells would I be able to smell (provided I could smell, what would it be?)
-How does the air feel? Crisp? Muggy? Dry? Humid?
-Is there anywhere to sit? How do these feel? Soft? Firm? Metallic?
-What are things made of? Colors?
And I could go on for hours.
Now, using these methods, let's try it shall we? Here is the base line:
John walked into the bar. He took a seat on a stool and ordered a scotch.
Now, let's make it awesome:
John walked into the dimly-lit bar and the smells of backed-up sewage assaulted his nose. He took a seat on a rickety stool and ordered a scotch.
John walked into the crowded, noisy bar. He took a seat on a green stool and ordered a scotch.
John walked into the bar that smelled of frying potatoes and roasting beef. He took a seat on a padded wooden stool and ordered a scotch as country music blared around him.
John walked into the empty, muggy bar. He took a seat on a stool near the end and ordered a scotch, breaking the silence.
John walked into the dark bar. Strobe lights barely lit his path as he took a seat on a stool and ordered a scotch over the din of techo music.
Ok, I admit skimped on these this time. But, well, dinner is almost ready and I am hungry. So, you share with us; how do you maintain an "environmentally friendly" mindset? Do you have a technique? Share bellow, and as always, fly casual!