ATLA: Abstract World Building

I’ve decided to go on about how much I love the various aspects of Avatar instead of a full on review. The show is over a decade old so I’m sure that there are a plethora reviews that have gone in depth on each of the episodes. I still want to do reviews of shows, but I’ll have to think about it since a lot of the shows that I like are pretty old, but I digress.

I’ve talked about world building before and how difficult it is. In my novel, I feel that the world I’m building is relatively abstract, but the rules are a bit arbitrary. As such, I’m left awe struck at shows that can create this odd and abstract world and make it all so concise. The level of continuity is one of the other many reasons that I absolutely love this show.

When you look at the world of Avatar, there are a lot of fantasy elements. There were people who could bend the elements, fantasy creatures and a fantasy concept of spirituality. And yet it made sense, and even felt real. Why was this the case? The creators of Avatar had a consistent system with air- tight continuity. A rule made is consistently used throughout the entire show.

When it comes to world building, a well defined and consistent system is a necessity. Another show that was a great example of building a world that is rather abstract but still believable is Cow Boy Bebop. They had a consistent futuristic steam punk world that felt like a western. The things in the world are obviously different from what happens in the real world, yet it made sense.

With many aspects of story telling, consistency is key. I know for me, abstract world building is difficult for me. Doing this on your own can be very difficult, but there are ways to combat that. One thing that I like to do is write out the rules of the world. Taking notes is a way to visually see what you already have down and to ensure that as you continue, you don’t contradict yourself. I also use templates to try and keep on track.

The creator’s of Avatar did an outstanding job in world building. I would love to see  the process they took to make such a solid world!


Image found here!


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