Indie Wednesday!!! And I am so excited to have Regan Claire on the blog today!!! She is going to give amazing insight into the process of world building. So if you are an aspiring author, this is a post that you really want to pay attention to! And don't forget to check out her fabulous book, Gathering Water!!!!
Thanks Rachel for having me today! My name is Regan Claire, another one of The Rebel Writers… You remember Caylie and Theresa, right?
If you don’t know who I am, and really you probably don’t, I recently published my first novel, Gathering Water. It’s a YA paranormal romance about a girl who discovers who she is, by discovering where she came from.
Enough about that, though. I’m really here to talk about world building. Annnd I LOVE world building. Well, most of the time I love it.
World Building. What is it, and how do you do it? I can’t speak for all authors, but world building is one of my favorite parts about writing. It’s as important to me as my main characters; after all, they are shaped by the world they live in, just as we are. It can take a lot of research, or just a little. Surprisingly, in my experience, the more realistic the world is, the more research that goes into it….
For example, there are two stories that I’m currently working on. One, a fairy-tale/fantasy book is based in a world that I created. It is not our world, or an alternate timeline, or anything. It is solely a product of my own imagination… and I barely had to do any research for it. Didn’t have to worry about getting things wrong, or misrepresenting anything. I’ve done a little research of similar era’s of similar technology, a little on proper horse care, but not that much. And, if I made up the riding animal, I could have made up the rules for it too. I didn’t, though, and just used a horse.
The other one is a prequel to Gathering Water, and it’s based in our world… in 1968. I’ve had to research outfits, and beer cans, news reports, laws and colleges. Why is that necessary? Because a great story is in the details. It’s in the mustard-stain on your shirt, the flickering street lamp, and the old man muttering over a newspaper nearby. But you need to know what type of shirt it is, what the street lamp looks like, and what the old man is reading that’s making him so upset to really get a feel for the world.
Here’s what I mean: I pulled my coat around me and shouldered past the lamplighter extinguishing the flickering gas-light of the lamp post with my head down, trying not to panic at the thought of my mother’s reaction to the stain on my brand-new white blouse. The sun had only just risen despite how late it was, and already an elderly gentleman was muttering about railway crossings as he flipped the page of his newspaper, clearly upset about the recent runaway carriage crashing into the train.
As opposed to: I pulled my coat around me and stepped around the hobo sleeping beneath the white flickering light of the lamp post with my head down, trying not to panic at the thought of my mother’s reaction to the stain on my brand-new white halter. The sun had only just risen despite how late it was, and already an elderly gentleman was muttering about morality in the white house as he flipped the page of his newspaper, clearly upset about the Lewinsky scandal.
See? Do you? When do you think these two paragraphs are based? Did you notice a difference? Haha, sure you did. I could have left those two sentences without any world building; just a white shirt, a flickering light, and an old man muttering about the news. You wouldn’t have missed the extra information, but you wouldn’t have any clue when it was taking place either.
How do I create my worlds? Well, sometimes I start with my character. What’s he like? Then I work backwards. Why is my MC so closed-off to others? I know that his parents are from two different countries, maybe it’s because his mother’s homeland is very judgmental and he’s been persecuted because of his heritage. Why are they so distrustful of outsiders? Was there a war in the long past which still influences current mind-sets? Was it about resources, or religious beliefs, or something else entirely?
Sometimes it’s the story that jump-starts the world: Two races of beings, one is human and the other isn’t. The non-humans are hidden from the world, but where can they hide? In the ocean? Okay, so my setting needs to be by the water.
And sometimes… it’s the world that just pops into your head, unbidden, and the story follows. Either way, the world a story takes place in should be treated as its own character. Something that has a history, and a future, and quirks unique to it.
Of course, those are just jumping-off points. I could talk about the subject for days… but before I start boring you, I’m going to go ahead and sign off.
Well, after I tell you to check out my fellow Rebels at our new website (by clicking THIS link). And, of course, if you’re in the mood for a true ‘coming of age’ tale with a dash of humor and a pinch of sexy-surfers, then check out my book, Gathering Water. You know, if you want ;)
Oh oh oh, and… if you’re in the midst of writing your own book and want to know more about my process, or need a little help ironing out the details, feel free to PM me on Facebook!