I’m SOOOO excited this amazing author wrote me a quest post to share with you!! And its about one of my FAVORITE things as a fantasy lover… world building!!! Come check it out!
I LOVED the world building in Zara Quentin’s new book, Airwoman and asked her if she would share her world building process and she said… YES!!! WOOT! I’m so excited for my writer book blogger readers… It’s great to get an insider look at how a pro develops her world… Here’s Zara…!!
My 3 Stages of World-Building
People often ask me how I came up with the different worlds that I created for the Airwoman series. I love rich fantasy settings and I love creating worlds that I’d like to visit myself. However, for me, it’s difficult to separate the process of world-building from the other parts of the story creation process—like creating characters and coming up with the plot of the story.
I don’t do a series of world-building exercises to create a world, then set my story in the place I’ve created. I consider my world-building to evolve organically through the process of getting to know the characters I’ve created and brainstorming the plot. My settings continue to grow and deepen, often as the story progresses.
Stage 1: Ideas Generation
Obviously, a lot of world-building happens in the idea-generation phase of story development. I’m a planner, so I spend a lot of time developing characters and plotting before I start writing the first draft. It probably goes without saying that many of my major world-building ideas will come to me at this stage process.
During the ideas generation, and planning phase for Airwoman, I started with the vision I had for Jade Gariq—a winged woman—then started asking questions about her: Why would a person have wings? Because they need to access something in the air. What? A portal to another world. Why? Because these winged people can move between worlds. Why? Because their Gods created them for that purpose. Why? Because they need to protect the worlds from something through the portals.
As you can see, during the process of asking questions about why a young woman might have wings, I came up with a multi-world universe, with portals leading to other worlds, with a winged people created to protect against something or someone through the portals.
Stage 2: The First Draft
While many of the big world-building ideas come to me during the brainstorming phase, much of the detail emerges during the drafting phase, because the story goes from what I describe as an ‘out-of-focus’ vision my head, then as it hits the paper (or the screen, to be exact) the story takes on a more concrete form. During this phase, I find myself asking other questions which help me to flesh out the details.
For example, how would the life of a winged person be different from a non-winged person? A winged person would be more likely to live in a place accessed by air or build their houses, towns and temples in places that are accessible by air, but perhaps not by land. Such places might be clifftops, treetops, or other high places. However, a winged person is likely to have a large wingspan, so a densely-forested area might not leave enough space for a winged person to take off or land. Thus, I decided that my winged people were more likely to live at the top of, or in, the cliffs.
During drafting, I imagine myself in the middle of the world, moving around it like one of my characters, to make it real for them. To bring the world to life, I use sights, sounds, feelings and smells from the character’s perspective. In Airwoman, one of the places this was a real challenge was when I was writing about Jade’s journey through the Betwixt—the place between worlds. I didn’t have a clear vision for the Betwixt until I got to the drafting phase, then I made myself put together several terrifying feelings—of feeling trapped, lost, blind, and unable to move—then make it more of an experience for the reader, rather than a normal place with landmarks and maps.
Stage 3: Revision
During the revision phase, my world building is refined. I find places in the manuscript where something I’ve written might be inconsistent with the world I’ve created or some of the world building might not make sense with the actions that characters take.
When revising Airwoman, one of the inconsistencies I found was that I had my main character, Jade, walking too much for a woman with wings. I decided that it would most likely be unusual for her to spend a lot of time getting from one place to another while walking. I had to decide whether to put her in the air more, or if it was necessary to the plot for her to walk, then I needed a reason for her to do so. This consistency helps the world-building because the reader can to sink deeper into the vicarious experience of the story.
Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments and I’d be happy to answer them. (Such a great opportunity! Pick this author’s brain…)
Published October 25, 2016
by Zara Quentin
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
A father murdered by magic. A daughter’s cosmic quest for clues could make her the next victim…
Jade Gariq dreams of a new calling. While she wishes she could join the elite force that protects her home world from interdimensional threats, she’s stuck working for the family business. But everything changes when her father is found dead with traces of magic on him… magic that should only belong to the mythical Dragon-Gods…
To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends stand in her way of the truth. It’ll take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, but can she avoid his fate?
Airwoman is a high-flying YA fantasy novel set in a stunning new Dragonverse. If you like fascinating worlds, memorable characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventure.
Buy Airwoman today to let your imagination take flight!
For a free preview of Airwoman, find it at: http://www.zaraquentin.com/
Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.
She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination.
After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia.
Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.
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*GAH! I’m last on the tour… DO NOT FORGET to enter to GIVEAWAY!!
How do you feel about flying dragon women? And inter-dimensional threats?!
Wasn’t Zara’s guest post on world building informative?!
(For our writer book bloggers…) What is YOUR world building process?
Thanks for reading XOXO