Bizarre Setting for “Way of the World”

The entire Way of the World series takes place in two distinct settings – The Island of Paradise and a town called Gnashing.

The Island of Paradise is a metaphor for the garden of Eden, and in later books becomes the kingdom of heaven.

Gnashing is a metaphor for the world – and in the town of Gnashing there is a wilderness that features rattlesnakes, wolves, and bears. There are green ferns from the east coast, and giant redwood trees from the west coast. To one side of the wilderness is a beach, to the other a desert. The extravagant homes in Gnashing are based on early 20th century Edwardian models. Here is a sketch of the Dunlap’s residence:

Dunlap's estate front view

Across from the luxurious houses are farms, where the lowly class of Loyalists work (they were slaves not long ago).

The setting of Gnashing is meant to be timeless and multicultural. The “Way of the World” series has a Spiritual message at its heart, a theme which each and every generation of man has questioned since the beginning of his existence.

What do you think of this setting? Is it too ridiculous and unbelievable to have a rich wilderness within close proximity of a desert? Should the bizarre setting of Gnashing and non-existent time period be established within the first few pages through direct narration, or should that be left up to the readers to figure out as they go along?

Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

9 thoughts on “Bizarre Setting for “Way of the World”

  1. I don’t think that countryside right next to a desert is that unrealistic, especially if human activities such as deforestation is allowing the desert to grow and consume more land.

    • Thank you for the insight!

      As long as the unique layout of Gnashing doesn’t impede the story I’ll be happy. I just don’t want my readers saying things like “this guy’s an idiot!” fifteen pages into the book.

  2. Hey Thomas, I agree, it’s your book and you can create any world you want. In a futuristic setting, the climate could have been controlled/manufactured to enable one special ecosystem like the Redwoods to flourish and to enable one area to be agricultural out of what might otherwise have been all desert. Also, on the subject of whether you should explain all this, I always find it really intriguing when a book with a complex setting includes maps. That way when places are referenced you can view the map and work out for yourself the proximity to other things. You don’t need the author to spell it out for you as you can use the visual to make your own connections… feels more like a successful treasure hunt that way

    • Thank you for your outstanding recommendation, Joanna. A map would surely help, and would not take that long to design. Currently the story takes place in an alternate universe, so I suppose that gives me the right to apply/disregard whatever natural laws I’d like, as long as it seems within the realm of possibility?

      Thank you again for your map recommendation. I hadn’t thought of that, but think that would be great asset to my series.

      • You are most welcome, my friend. I really dig your idea of coming at spirituality from wild angles. I feel like I try to do that, too, though not through fiction.

        It’s sort of a way of sneaking up and pouncing on it so the readers are jolted into a fresh way of thinking about something as old as time. So good for prying open the mind.

        Stay fierce. 🙂

  3. I think grand metaphors depend on the tone of the writing.
    Is it simple and poetic like holy literature?
    The point of view, is it personal, internal?
    Is it grand and godlike?

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