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Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Blog! On World-Building in Fantasy


My, my, my! My writing´s on hiatus while I give out OTC medicines and learn my beloved guarani language in Paraguay, but igual no mas I attended a wonderful conference in June that left me with some great advice. Here´s a taste of what I learned from Christine Norris, published fantasy author (the rest is on her blog):

We´ve all read agent bios with that one super-vague line: “I´m looking for writers who transport me into other worlds,” or something to that effect. How, we ask, and what does that even mean? According to Christine Norris, we have to balance between Tolkein-esque info-dumping and naked mental terrains. The reader does not want 20 pages about the history of your Smurflings, and often authors invent much more than the story needs—“Please, for the love of Pete,” she says,“Don´t try to cram it all in.” On the other hand, rich details make the whole story, whether in a real or imaginary universe setting, more believable to the reader.

We can classify fiction worlds into five types, with six components. The first type involves high fantasy, or a whole new world, as in Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars. The second type adds on to the real world in which we live. Harry Potter is a good example of this. We can also predict the future, as in Hunger Games or 1984, or we can do the opposite: we can re-interpret the actual past events with alternative history, as in the Bartameus Trilogy, or recreate an entire historic period in a fantasy style, as with steam punk stories. With the last two options, says Christine, world-building is called research. With any world, we need to have some understanding of geography, history, economics, politics, religions and culture, and technological odds and ends. Christine provided us with a few questions to consider and a few hints and details to flesh out in each category. 

What kind of questions? Read the rest of the post here!  http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/world-building-fantasy/

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