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Sunday, August 14, 2011

World Building

This is not a world building how-to, this is just me musing for a few minutes about world building in general.

In the past six months I've read a ton of fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy novels. I read lots YA titles, including A Need so Beautiful, Matched, Wither, Divergent, Delirium, White Cat and Red Glove, The Demons's Surrender, Blood Red Road, Across the Universe, Black Hole Sun, Clockwork Angel, The Dark and Hollow Places and various others that I am forgetting, not because they are forgettable, but because it's early on a Sunday morning. I also read some great adult titles. I read Jacqueline Carey's newest trilogy, and (like everyone else in America I bought A Dance with Dragons the day it was released) and in preparation I reread the entire series, which was quite an undertaking. On the plane back from LA last week I read His Majesty's Dragon, which I loved. In fact I just ordered the next 3 books in the series. Oh, and in between books read several of the Dresden Files novels. Those are always fun.

Anyway, I have to admit that I don't notice world building unless it's bad or doesn't work. I'm much much much more aware of characters.

I think that my favorite world building is a sort of vague world building that grows as you you don't have to take in too much at once. A sort of hazy fairy-tale style world building. I like figuring things out, and I guess I just open books and believe in the world...I have complete suspension of disbelief until something makes me not believe. Anyway, I tend to begin things as a vague world-builder. And I know vagueness isn't really a positive attribute when it comes to world building. Specificity and detail are the goals you want to set. As I go through revision 3.5 on A Masque of the Red Death, I find myself very grateful to my editor because she's forcing me to get a subplot that's clear in my head, clearer in the manuscript. And I'm getting a chance to scatter in a few more details to make the world move vivid, and one more chance to streamline (and what author would do that on their own?).

While I would love to be done, and to be able to focus 100% on the sequel, which I am getting pretty excited about, I'm glad that this book is going to be the best it can be.

I don't read many reviews, but I've seen some of the books from my spring/summer reading spree have been criticized for world building issues. I'm well aware that books get criticized by reviewers, and that taste is subjective. But if Masque does get criticized, it won't be because I didn't work hard enough on this manuscript. At the end of this revision, I think the world, and the motivations of the people within the world, will be as clear as I can make them.

I realized this week that the opening of my sequel, which I LOVE was working on every level except setting. I was missing the dark dreary landscape of book 1 (because the sequel starts outside the city). So when I created a new dark and dreary landscape, it all just worked together, and I'm so ready to dig in and really write this thing.

So that, is my Sunday morning musing about world building.

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