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Friday, December 14, 2012

WORLD BUILDING with Donna Steele

Asked to write about craft? Me? I feel like a fraud, but I'm going to attempt it. Yes, I've been writing for decades, but not for anyone else to actually see, or heaven forbid, read! I wrote for myself for a long time. I created worlds and situations that appealed to me, the kind of thing I could never find at the bookstore. So I did it myself. 

Then it all hit the fan - vampires, shape shifters, aliens, mermen and women, time travel. Thank goodness and where have you been all my life? I usually stuck to science fiction and paranormal myself - I've always wanted to peek inside the head of whoever is talking to me to see if they really believe what they're saying or if they're just checking out that man/woman behind me. 

Okay, every author has to do it, whether they are writing regency or contemporary or steampunk, but those of us that write in science fiction, paranormal or fantasy, really have to do it. For the kind of thing we write, the sky is most definitely not the limit. 

There are as many ways to build a world as there are authors out there. J. K. Rowling took a normal world and added her twist. Stephen King uses even less of a twist, which is why it's so damn scary. But I especially loved Larry Niven. That man took me places I could never have imagined and made it such fun.  

Not all of us are math whizzes or physics geeks, but that doesn't mean we don't know how to create a world. That's where the creative part comes in. Where would you go in your flight of fantasy? What would be the most important aspect of that place? Can you breathe - underwater or out in space. What's the first thing you see? What do you hear? Does anyone else see what you do? Are you taking notes yet? Our minds are boundless and when we let them run free, look at all the trouble, uh no, look at all the fun things they can create.

And there are no rules. Isn't that the best part? I lurked on a thread a short while ago where someone was asking if werewolves were able to do something, I don't even remember what and the discussion continued for a long time before a brave soul finally stepped up and said, hey, it's your story. Do you want them to be able to do it, because it's fiction, and they aren't real. I was ready to applaud. It is your story and you make the decisions because it's yours. And you can write what you want to read. You aren't the only one that likes that stuff. 

Go for it, if you can imagine it, someone out there already wants to read it. I'll end with a quote from someone who didn't write FF&P - 

Dreams, Books, are each a world; and books, we know, Are a substantial world, both pure and good
- William Wordsworth

More About the Author
I’d love to say I’m able to write full time.  Unfortunately my real life demands attention worse than my kids when they were toddlers. Ever since I learned to read I’ve wanted to write. Maybe it was just to escape that "real life" but I managed it! I finally got up the courage to submit a few things and I’m delighted that I finally get to share my passion with you. I write science fiction and mild paranormal usually with an eco-twist, though I am indulging in some contemporary women's fiction. My premiere novel, Rth Rising, was released on March 3, 2012. Learning Trust came out June 7. My women's fiction novel, Homecoming, was recently released. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, FF&P and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. Find out more at:


Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for this. You're right--worldbuilding can be the most difficult aspect of writing. For me, anyway. There's a fine line between describing the surroundings and painting a picture of the setting, along with all of the culture and mythology that go along with the story.

Nancy Lee Badger said...

I try to weave actual historical facts into my fantasy romances and time travels. Merging real and imaginary is a kind of world building? Thanks for a lovely article.

Anonymous said...

"... hey, it's your story. Do you want them to be able to do it?"

I can't agree more with this statement. I dedicated a blog post to this entire point. Mostly in defense of the "Vampires don't sparkle" comments. Am I fan of Meyers' world? No. But I will defend her right to have her vampires do whatever she felt was necessary for her story to work.

Lilly Gayle said...

Great post, Donna. I love world building and the paranormal. Dean Koontz is one of my favs because he makes it seem so possible. That's what I expect from a book/movie. If you have werewolves or vampires, then I want the writer to make me believe it's possible. I want to know how it happened. I have to sort of disagree about the "no rules." If a writer creates a world where vampires cannot go out in the sunlight, then he/she better not have the hero or villain breaking that rule without consequences or an explanation that fits the plot.

Donna Steele said...

Thanks - I'm always amazed when I am handed a new world. The old 'why didn't I think of that?' or 'OMG!' I've never written vampires, but I tend to go with Buffy's type more than anyone elses. This was fun.