Writing isn’t easy. World building is even harder.
It’s been nearly a year since I made the decision to go the self publishing route and one of the main reasons why I wanted to do so was the ability to control your own creative. The only person making decisions on what I will and won’t write is myself. That is such a liberating and freeing experience.
However, that also comes with my large imagination.
Since I can remember I’ve always been a fan of large stories with many characters and various plotlines running throughout the entire story. From Lord of the Rings to Imajica to Star Wars to The Dark Tower series, epics have always intrigued me. They also require an extensive amount of world building and if the creator of such a tale does not have all of her or his ducks in a row, so to speak, it can wind up being a muddled mess.
Use What You Know
When crafting the world of The Dea (the fictional universe that was introduced in The Brothers Locke and will continue in the Dorian Delmontez series) I had a hard time knowing where to start. I knew the world in which all of these characters and stories would exist had to be massive but it had to make sense within its own confines.
How do you get such a massive undertaking mapped out.
Well, I used what I knew, which was painting and outlines. Now, outlines are more common with authors. Some even construct outlines that are over 5,000 words in length. I prefer to use bullet points and continue from there.
But that wasn’t enough. I needed something tangible, something that I could point to and go back to when I hit a dry spot in the story or want to know where to go next. So, I turned to oil painting, a hobby that has come and gone from my life multiple times.
Using what I knew – a brush, canvas, and paint – I was able to start creating over three dozen landscapes, portraits, and scenes that to this day I reference when thinking about and writing future stories in that fictional world.
Of course, if you’re not an illustrator or a painter this may not be the technique for you. However, it does illustrate that using something outside of the realm of pen-to-paper (or keyboard-to-screen as it is now) can be just as helpful, and sometimes more helpful, than banging your head against the desk looking at a blank piece of paper wondering “what do I do?”.
There are many other techniques that can be used from building family trees to writing entire histories and backstories to your various characters to chronicling a fictional historical document about places and landmarks within your world. In the long run, it can take the guessing out of the process of writing when you can pull up a picture or a chart or a graph and know where everything fits.
The main thing is to have fun and let your imagination lead the way. Don’t confine it, let it sprout and grow in any way possible beyond just writing the story. The world will grow with whatever mechanism you use to define it.
There has been plenty of discussion over the last few years about YA (Young Adult) Fiction in the mainstream.
In the 21st Century, we’ve seen an entire market grow out of the Young Adult genre. Of course Harry Potter was the catalysts for the massive appeal to teen fiction and that was quickly followed by Twilight and The Hunger Games, mainly due to their big budget blockbuster movie adaptations.
Now, every movie studio has rushed to find the next big thing in YA Fiction but unfortunately not all have worked. While the book series is still highly popular and regarded, the film version of The Divergent Series is woefully panned and the Percy Jackson franchise just never got off the ground. Even classics like Narnia were cut short.
Still, the literary world finds heavy profit in people reading YA Fiction. New series are out all the time, new authors from both the traditional and indie sides are finding audiences around the world who can’t get enough of reading about teenagers going on adventures or having love affairs.
And just why is that?
There are a number of factors but the main one these days is nostalgia. Most well-adjusted adults fondly remember their teenage years when they had no bills, didn’t have to go to work every day, and when the world was new and fresh in their eyes. It’s a safe place, where dangers aren’t all that dangerous and ideals seem monumentally important.
Nearly 50% of the young adult fiction audience is over the age of 30. While this is a surge, again it really isn’t anything new.
The best reason however is that the writing is not “dumbed down”. There was a period of time when fiction for teens and young adults was seen as something that had to be watered down, sanitized, and rinsed to a point of blandness. We don’t think of youth as that fragile anymore in this respect. Generation X has always had a fondness for the teenage years, we were marketed that message when we ourselves were that age, and never really let go of the fascination with being at the end of childhood and on the cusp of adulthood.
As long as the stories remain solid and the writing is captivating, YA Fiction should enjoy a lengthy run as being one of the most sought after genres for readers.
Yes, we are fans at AOE Studios o Clive Barker. And like much of the world, we are wondering when – if ever – the third book of the Abarat series is coming out.
2008 … nope, then fall of 2009 … nah, now wikipedia claims it’s winter (not now, December) of 2010.
What is Clive up to? A lot apparently, but we are fans of his work and hope to see more of the adventures of Candy Quackenbush, John Mischief and others sooner rather than later!
While we still are curious as to the fate of Candy and her friends in the cliffhanger from Book 3: Absolute Midnight, there has been very little news about when the next book in the series, Kry Rising, will ever be released. From looking at his official website you’ll find hardly any information on the state of the manuscript.
It may very well be that Barker’s grand epic work of art and prose might go incomplete like The Art and Galilee series.