Shannon Messenger author of Let The Sky Fall is stopping by PTB today to discuss world building. This tour is being hosted by MundieMoms.
*waves to all the shiny followers*
Today, I've been asked to talk a little bit about world building, which is something i've had to do A LOT of over the last couple of years, thanks to the whole two-fantasy-series-at-once thing. And it's funny because this is a subject I actually get asked about all the time (apparently it's something a lot of writers worry about), and honestly, I ... don't necessarily have a perfect answer. (Not the best way to start off this blog post, I know--but bear with me, I promise it will get better!)
(I hope...) The thing is, most of the time when people ask me how to build a world, they're hoping I can give them like, the Shannon Messenger Guide To Building The Perfect World! (TM) But ... that really doesn't exist. Building a world is a very personal, individual thing that takes a lot of time and imagination and brainstorming, and there's no shortcut way around that, no matter how much we all might wish there could be.
That being said, there ARE a few pointers I can give you. (see? I PROMISED it would get better!) So without further ado, I give you, THREE TIPS TO BUILDING A SOLID WORLD:
Have a reason for every decision you make. Personally I think this is the MOST important rule to follow when you're creating a world--and no, the reason should not be, "because I want it that way" or "because I think it's cool." Here's the thing: readers are automatically going to be comparing your "world" to the "real world," and if they don't see a logical reason for why something is a certain way, they're not going to accept it. For example, in LET THE SKY FALL, I decided the Windwalker world would have four different languages, one for each direction of the wind. I figured readers would accept that because we're all familiar with the concept of winds that flow from the North, South, East, and West. Had I gone with seven languages just because I like the number seven I'm pretty sure I would've had people asking me, "but why?" and calling shenanigans on me when I didn't have an answer. So don't make a world building decision until you have an answer--preferably an answer that makes sense. It takes a lot more thought and effort, but it will make your world SO much more solid.
Create rules and stick to them. We live in a world full of rules. Our governments have laws--and consequences for breaking them. We're bound by the laws of physics and nature. It's what allows our world to function and have order--and the world you create should be no different. They can be big, fundamental things, like how Katniss knew that every year, two children from every district would be chosen as tributes to compete in the Hunger Games. Or they can be smaller, detail-oriented kind of things, like how every chocolate frog in Harry Potter comes with a card about the great wizards. But they need to EXIST. They need to create patterns readers can expect, so they can feel like they understand the way your world works. Bonus: the rules are the greatest place to turn for plot ideas. But you have to build the rules in a way that you can stick to them, because there's nothing a reader will shred you for more than having an inconsistency in your world. Don't make something a rule unless you can hold the story to it,
Poke your world with a stick as many different ways as you can. A solid world needs to be able to hold up to questioning, because trust me, readers will question you. The last thing you want is to have someone come up to you at a signing and say, "okay, if your characters can do Thing X, then why does THING Y happen?" And the only way to avoid that is to ask those questions yourself. Believe me, I know how hard it can be. I can't tell you how many times I've had to completely drop an idea I loved because it just wouldn't hold up to close scrutiny. But it has to be done, because if you don't ask those though questions your readers will. And I know they can sometimes be hard to spot on your own--but that's why I HIGHLY recommend working with Crit Partners. I tell my CPs to question everything and call me out if something doesn't make sense. And they do, trust me. It's painful and frustrating, but so worth the extra effort.
About the Book:
By: Shannon Messenger
Published by: Simon Pulse
To Be Released on: March 5th, 2013
Pre-Order it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Add it to GoodReads
Series: Book #1
READ the 1st 4 Chapters
A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel.
Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.
Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.
About the Author:
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned--among other things--that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES is her first novel, with LET THE SKY FALL, a young adult novel, to follow in 2013. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.
Shannon is hosting a giveaway - The Epic Let The Sky Fall Pre-order Giveaway of Amazingness!
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