Building Worlds

I’m back after an unfortunate bout of pneumonia!  But back on track this week.  I’ve been hard at work on my newest novel, The Darkness.  I’ve finished the first draft of it, which basically means that it’s an absolute mess!  But it is complete, at least until I begin tearing it apart.

The Darkness is a high fantasy book loosely based on Slavic mythology.  I’ve been doing a lot of my favorite thing (next to writing) – researching! As a history buff, I tend to research my books to death, adding historical detail to every piece.  The Darkness has been especially fun because for the first time, I’m creating a completely new world.  My first two books, while they contained a fantasy element, were set in a specific time in history.  That requires careful study and a creative merging of events to make certain nothing is grossly out of place.  I was constantly concerned about following the language, dress, and customs of the time.  High fantasy is a whole new ballgame.

Creating a new world is fun, but also challenging.  Rules, customs, language, religion, and on and on. It all has to be defined.  Even if a detail doesn’t make it into the book, the author still must know it.  It takes planning and constant revision to build a fantasy world and if your premise is shaky, then the whole world will collapse.  But include too much information and you’ll put your readers to sleep.

While we have hundreds of fantastic examples of fantasy worlds such as Westoros, Hogworts, the Shire and Rivendell, we don’t have as many guides to forming a fantasy world. Some knowledge comes with writing, inventing characters and stories.  I recently found a good guide to help build fantasy worlds, featured on Dan Koboldt’s Blog: Author and Scientist.  He hosted sociologist, Hannah Emery who pinned the article, “On Dothraki and House Elves:  Developing Fantasy Cults.” Emery has a blog called the Socialist Novelist.  All contain great advice on building a fantasy world and writing in general.

As a sociologist, Emery has a different perspective on the subject of different cultures and how they grow and change. It brings home the point that as writers we can only improve our work by researching our subject and by taking advantage of the many writing blogs full of information.  Check out some of these blogs and if you have any favorite blogs about books or writing, feel free to share in the comments.

Thanks as always for reading.  Till next week!