Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#WWoW! Building A World.


It's Wednesday again and time for another Writer's Words of Wisdom post. Today, guest author Dani Collins is sharing her experience with world building.

Building a World Where Anything Can Happen

My first lightning bolt of an idea for The Healer was an image of a warrior leaping off a cliff. I wasn’t sure who he was or why he was jumping into the fray. Highlander romances were hot at the time, so I thought this would be a historical romance.

Then my heroine started healing the warriors in the battle and I knew I had something else on my hands.

Fast forward through a couple of kids’ birthdays, a move to another town, various other distractions, and a sudden looming goal to Finish This Danged Book during an upcoming NaNoWriMo

For those who haven’t heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, it’s a personal challenge to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. You can register and find support groups through their website, or do it with a couple of friends, or all by yourself. There are no prizes or fees. You do it for bragging rights.

And to get a book finished. 

By that October, I knew I was writing a fantasy, but how does one create a fake world that rings true for the readers?

Enter 30 Days of World Building by Stephanie Bryant. These 15 minute exercises walked me through mood, history (recent and cataclysmic) economy, politics, language…. My notes were quick and dirty, but they forced me to think about these various aspects until the world began to take shape in my mind.

Have you ever seen the movie Wonderboys? In it, Katie Holmes’s character points out that Michael Douglas’s character is struggling with his second novel because his character isn’t making any decisions. Neither is the writer, we learn. Well, these exercises help you make some decisions.

They also provide springboards for all types of conflict. Suddenly I knew why Vaun, my hero, was leaping into battle to save Athadia. (He thought she was Kerf, like him, because she appeared to have tattoos, which his people favor while the Shote enemies regard them as heathen.)

Athadia isn’t Kerf, however. Nor is she Shote. She’s an Alvian—a race nearly wiped out by fear and hatred from Shotes and Kerf alike. Except, lo and behold, she senses Vaun is a half-breed Alvian.  How did that happen?

I won’t kid you. There was a lot of rewriting after the first draft was completed, but the story wouldn’t have been as rich or complex without those exercises helping me create the world in the first place.

TALK TO ME... Ever thought about writing a fantasy, but dreaded the world-building? What story worlds have seemed real to you despite how bizarre they are? What makes a fake world believable for you?

ENTER MY CONTEST... Now through Mar 2nd, visitors to my website can subscribe to my author newsletter and enter to WIN A KINDLE

ABOUT ME... Dani Collins contracted The Healer to Champagne Books a mere five weeks after making her first sale to Harlequin Mills & Boon. You can reach her through her website at www.danicollins.com and can buy The Healer here.


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WoW is a Smart & Savvy Group of Authors who host this weekly feature each Wednesday. While we don't claim to be experts, the goal is to impart what we've learned about writing, editing, getting published, book promotion, and more along the way.


Follow along and read all this week's posts.
Melinda Dozier http://melindadozier.blogspot.com
Tammy Dennings Maggy http://tammydenningsmaggy.blogspot.com
Paloma Beck http://romancebeckons.blogspot.com
    You can follow us on twitter at #WWoW. Or find us on facebook at Words of Wisdom. And soon we'll be opening our official WWoW blog - details to come!
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