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Genres & Age Categories => Sci Fi & Fantasy => Topic started by: John Lucas on May 30, 2019, 09:28 AM

Title: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: John Lucas on May 30, 2019, 09:28 AM
My middle grade fantasy story is portal fiction, basically.

Are readers going to want to know how the portals were created and how the physics of the world works?

For example, my MC enters a world that seems to be underground, but when he gets there he can still see the sky. He notices this and is confused by it, but no explanation is given.

How much are MG readers willing to accept that something is “magic”, without further explanation?
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: Vijaya on May 30, 2019, 11:17 AM
I've read lots of time travel portal books and unless the physics of the portal itself is important to the story, no need to give an explanation. As long as you are consistent with your magic, kids will get it. Enjoy.
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: A. S. Templeton on May 30, 2019, 01:14 PM
Hand-waving & plot convenience.

Drop by https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PortalDoor for numerous examples of the Portal Door trope; the challenge is cooking up a variant that has not been written a zillion times before.

I did just that for a MG sci-fi adventure I'm working on.
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on May 30, 2019, 07:54 PM
Show the reader what the reader needs to know to understand the story at the moment in the story where they need it. That said, it's a good idea to know how it works for yourself. This way, you'll stay consistent in this book and in any future stories set in this world.
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: dewsanddamps on May 30, 2019, 09:36 PM
I think the main thing is not to make things convenient for yourself. Don't back your characters into a literal corner, and then have them suddenly discover they can summon the portal, or something else that the reader will consider a cheat.
 :goodluck
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: JulieM on May 30, 2019, 10:40 PM
As above. Also, read to see how much others explain - especially in your fave SF books.
Title: Re: Do I need to explain how everything works?
Post by: Melody on June 01, 2019, 10:21 AM
The other thing you can do is to have a beta reader that is within the age group you are targeting. If they ask you about it, you know you'll probably have to address the issue.