Thursday, March 03, 2011


Current Project: promoting A ST. PATRICK'S DAY TALE, released March 1
Status: Preparing for a booksigning on March 17

Our suggested blog topic for this month is descriptions and settings. Fits right in with MWV's online world-building class taught by Rebecca Lynn. (Good choice by our Prez, don't you think?)

The class is off to a good start, with a lot of discussion by participants and the instructor, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot. So my blog posts today and on March 17 will probably reflect a "before class" and "almost through class" comparison.

The instructor said she is going to take us through the process of building worlds a couple ways: lots of planning before writing the story and uncovering the world as the story unfolds. (She recommends planning your world before writing the story.)

I think it would have been very beneficial for me to have taken this class before I wrote my part of A ST. PATRICK'S DAY TALE (released March 1). Though most of the characters came from a previous novella, adding a time machine took me to worlds outside my normal expertise: history and science. So some of this world building unfolded as the story did--and as my critique partners pointed out places that needed editing. (Thanks, ladies!)

Fortunately, the series I'm currently writing keeps me pretty firmly in contemporary settings where I'm comfortable. I also made up a small town and had a lot of fun doing that. Most of this "world" was developed before I did much writing, although I am tweaking things as the stories develop.

What about world building beyond our books? Well, the three of us who wrote A ST. PATRICK'S DAY TALE are planning a booksigning with a very Irish feel. It will be on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) at a local pub, Your Place (3165 River Road N, Salem) that will be serving traditional Irish foods such as corned beef and cabbage. Don't know if they will have green beer, but we'll be wearing our wings to encourage the fae people--and their human friends--to join us from 5-7 p.m.

I also plan to incorporate the suggestions I learn from the world building class into updates I'm planning to my Web site to make these stories an interactive experience with audio, video and perhaps a game based on the books.

So where does world building end? Perhaps it doesn't! To paraphrase an earlier post, perhaps the worlds we create for our stories become more "real" than what passes for real life. After all, we do spend a lot of time with our stories and characters...

To close, I'm going to ask a couple questions our instructor asked us: How do you build the world in your story? Lots of planning before writing or do you let the world unfold as the story progresses and the character grows? And one more from me: Do you build a world beyond your story (such as on your Web site?) or have plans to do that?


Sarah Raplee said...

Waving, as I'm in the class with you!
I've built my first worlds using the 'discovery' method, although I did much more up-front planning in the more recent stories. I'm creating my next story world during the MWVRWA Worldbuilding class, THEN writing the story.

Your second question got me thinking more concretely about my future website. I plan to expand my world onto my website, but my next step in that direction is to put up the website. :) I'll keep this future expansion in mind as I build the book world. Thanks for the thought-provoking question!

Paty Jager said...

Fun post, Genene. I've been so busy this week I've only glanced at the class here and there. To answer your questions:

G:How do you build the world in your story?

P:With lots of research into history or the occupations of my characters. Their worlds evolve from who they area and what period in history I need to depict.

G:Lots of planning before writing or do you let the world unfold as the story progresses and the character grows?

P:A little of both. For the historical I need to know the world and how people lived for the contemporaries I use the people to motivate their world and what it looks like and appears tot me as.

G:And one more from me: Do you build a world beyond your story (such as on your Web site?) or have plans to do that?

P: I haven't yet, but have been thinking about that. I have a couple of characters from the Halsey series I could do short stories for and bring back the other characters and have it as a free read on my website or blog. But I have to find the time to write them.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Sarah! Hope you're enjoying the world-building class as much as I am. Though, like Paty, other things have claimed my attention, so I haven't dug into lessons much yet.

Very smart to create your next story world during class. I'm not at a point in my series that I can do that, as the world is pretty detailed at this point in my writing. However, I'm looking forward to using some of the instructor's techniques to tweak that story world.

Hope you have fun planning and building your future Web site. There are advantages and disadvantages for creating and maintaining my own Web site. If I find a goof or need to make a quick change, it's easy. However, I come up with lots of new ideas (just like writing) that I have to rein in so I have time to finish the projects I'm currently working on.

Thanks for stopping by!

Genene Valleau said...

Paty, I'm still shying away from historicals because of the amount of research that would entail. And am still in awe of authors who write in historical time periods.

I also like your idea of extending your story world by offering a free read on your Web or blog site. However, like you said, where does the time for doing that fit among other priorities?

Glad you took the time to comment here, though!