Fantasy Fiction—World Building

World Building—How Much is Too Much?

Gnomes as Wil Huygen saw them. Illustration by Rien Poortvliet

World building, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of creating a believable backdrop of your fantasy story. As writers, we must create a world that our readers will understand and relate to without having to concentrate too much on what is being presented. One must find the balance of too much new information and too common of information to create this world. Replacing every common word or reference with a newly invented word makes the head spin to have to remember everything. However, using basic references that would clearly not belong in the world you're creating takes the reader out of the story.

For instance, my husband and I have been crafting the world for our YA steampunk fantasy series—The Keystone Chronicles—that takes place on a planet called Evanterra (see map in progress). We have gnomes, but not your typical garden gnomes like Wil Huygen envisioned and what most people are familiar with. We used to play (quite heavily) the MMORPG game Everquest 2, and their gnomes are all about steampunk—gadgets, gizmos, inventions and even airships! (By the way, if you follow that link to Everquest 2, you can learn more about gnomes on the Neutral tab of races.)

What is this reference all about? Well, we're on a completely different planet, in a different galaxy and solar system that doesn't even know earth exists…so I can hardly say, “These weren't you usual garden-variety gnomes. They were…” Garden gnomes don't even exist on Evanterra. It's a complete Earth reference. BUZZ! Nailed!

Tinkerfest in Everquest II – the Gnome holiday

This world we're creating from scratch has magic and mythological beings such as unicorns, centaurs, merfolk, faeries, etc. I struggle with names. Do I call them unicorns, centaurs, merfolk and faeries? Or do I reinvent their names and let their descriptions speak for themselves? Do I reference cotton and wool material? Or create new names and let the descriptions lead my readers to the conclusion that such material is like wool and cotton? The challenge has been both frustrating and exhilarating! We're finding a delicate balance. The familiarity of such fantasy creatures draws in those readers who are in love with them, but then we do our best to make them unique to this new world—centaurs are very Native American in culture and art and they're vegetarians, for instance. Of course, I can't say they're Native American….Earth reference again. LOL But I leave it up to the showing instead of telling to handle that.

What about you other writers? What struggles have you experienced in creating your worlds? As a reader, I'm taken out of a story if things are TOO familiar…and I'm also jarred when I can't keep track of all the new information. Your experiences, readers?? What do you love about newly created worlds? What are some of your pet peeves when reading fantasy or sci-fi? What are your favorite examples of world-building where you became lost in the world and didn't really notice any difference in such references to their world compared to the world in which we live?

That's my two pence…I'd love to hear yours!

Arial 😉

 

Anne Rice Going to RT Convention in Chicago!!!!!!

My Literary Heroine – Anne Rice – at RT Convention 2012

OMG Anne Rice will be in Chicago!I'm a little slow, but I just found out that my literary heroine – Anne Rice – is going to be at the RT Convention in Chicago. She'll be at the Saturday, April 16th Book Fair from 11am – 2pm at the Hyatt Rosemont Hotel in Chicago, just adjacent to O'Hare Int'l Airport. If you're an Anne Rice fan and you're in the area, you don't want to miss this!

I swear…when I read this in the RT Book Reviews newsletter, I stopped breathing for 3 seconds and sat there at my computer with my mouth hanging open. Then I cried tears of joy and called my friend Genella de Grey to screech like a bahn sidhe (pronounced ban-shee). I'm relieved I didn't almost pee myself…like I almost did when I received a personal response from Anne Rice after I announced the release of my debut novel MIDNIGHT CONQUEST…which she inspired and to whom I have dedicated. Anyone who missed that…I'll be more than happy to recap for you…

Personal E-mail from Anne Rice

From: Anne Rice
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:13 AM
To: Arial Burnz
Subject: Re: Thank You for Your Inspiration – Publishing After 20 Years!

This is so moving. You are kind to share this with me, and I'm extremely happy for you that your book is being published.  I wish you every blessing with this adventure.  I'm convinced that the writer's buy xanax online america life is worth the struggle, the patience, the courage.  Take care, and thank you again for these very kind words.

Anne.

On Fri, May 13, 2011 at 11:03 PM, Arial Burnz <arial@arialburnz.com> wrote:

Dear Mrs. Rice,

*VIRTUAL HUG*

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much of an inspiration you’ve been to me through the years. I started writing back in my high school days (1983) – vampire poetry inspired by your Vampire Chronicles. In 1992, I started my novel MIDNIGHT CONQUEST and as of June 1, I will finally have it published. (Whew, that was a long road!) It’s the first in a six-book series that will follow my main character, Broderick MacDougal, through the centuries on his quest for revenge and finding his true love, Davina.

My book is being dedicated to you and here is my dedication page:

A Thank You to Sting
For “Moon Over Bourbon Street
He fed me the intro
To Anne Rice’s treat
She’s planted the seed
To all that I’ve written
If it wasn’t for her
I’d have never been bitten

The eBook will be out by June 1, the trade paperback by June 10.  😉

Thank you again for your inspiration! My heart’s wishes and best to you and yours.

God’s speed to you,

Arial Burnz

I have to remember to bring my camera and I told my mom to bring hers, too. I just hope I don't faint in front of her…or pee on myself. 😉

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

Fantasy Fiction Author Finds a New Home

Welcome to My New Fantasy Home!

Ahhh! A warm fire crackles beside me. The cushy chair craddles me as I sit before the hearth and absorb the warmth from the flames. I put my book down upon the table to my right and smile at the faeries flitting around the room, decorating my new home with sparkling dust. My spirit guide and friend, MaeDawn the unicorn, curls before the fire. Raja the dragon swoops by my window and I enjoy the overcast sky. A perfect day for writing. Broderick MacDougal saunters into the room and sits in the adjacent chair, his roguish smile setting my insides to fluttering. Would you like to join us?

I welcome you to my new home. I haven't moved physically…just in cyberspace and in genres. In realizing my clarified role as a fantasy fiction author instead of a romance novelist, I thought it fitting to surround myself with the images and atmosphere of the genre…the things I love. Unicorns. Mystical places. Dragons. Vampires. Werewolves. *sigh* I believe I've finally found my home. Yes. It feels right now.

I struggled with being a romance novelist, as I was told my romance stories were more about the layers and the details I'd woven into the plot versus the romance. The final resolution of my stories was NOT the relationship, but the journey the chacters traveled with each other. No matter what story I penned or planned, romance was not the center of the story buy ambien with overnight even though there were strong romantic elements and I tried to hard to fit into that mold. I felt lost. Homeless, if you will.

As such, I could not live up to the expectations of my audience, which influences my sales and by which I gain more readers. Though the romance community never shunned me, I did feel out of place, like walking into a Regency ball, unsure of how to behave under the social scrutiny. I don't blame them at all. It wasn't their fault I went to the wrong party. In directing my attention to the fantasy fiction community, however, I was welcomed with open arms. It was as if I'd walked into the Prancing Pony. A mug of ale was shoved into my hand, I pulled a chair up to a table surrounded by hobbits, dwarves, wizards and elves. We laughed and spun tales and I felt the freedom to be myself. How refreshing! Pass the brew!

Now that I've accepted the idea and settled into my new home, I look back on my old place, surprised I thought I belonged there. I write fantasy fiction with strong romantic elements. It's as simple as that. I welcome you to my new home and invite you to sit awhile and explore. You'll find, as I did, it's not that much different. Just a little more magical.

Anne Rice Made Me Do It!

Anne Rice - Inspiring me for 30+ years

I just started using Pinterest and was pinning pictures of women who inspire me…one of which is Anne Rice…and it just made me want to post about how she inspired me to start writing.

I was an avid reader as a kid, but nothing moved me as much as her Vampire Chronicles and tales of Lestat De Lioncourt. Whew! The poetry of her prose. The vivid descriptions of the dark settings her stories took place. The emotional torture her characters experienced. The twist she gave an old legend. I felt her stories were so real, she MUST have interviewed a vampire. She MUST have the inside scoop. What a delightful journey she led me through! I enjoyed The Vampire Lestat so much, I'd read it four times.

Now, I'm dating myself here because I read Interview with the Vampire in the 80s a few years after it came out and I was in high school. As such, I was NOT enthralled with her books because of the Twilight craze. My love affair with these creatures of the night started over 30 years ago, so this is not a bandwagon I've jumped on. The world is just now catching up to me. 😉

I devoured vampire novels like vampires devoured their victims. I'd read every book of vampire fiction I could get my hands on and, at the time, I didn't think anything could compare to the genius of Bram Stoker, who was the father (or known as such, at least) of these gothic and tragic beings with his novel Dracula. (Incidentally, if you haven't read it and you're a vampire fan…you should or you're not officially an avid reader of vampire fiction. It is truly and surprisingly enthralling and unique…even compared to modern fiction.) Though I was writing, my stories were about dragons and unicorns and knights in shining armor.


Sting wrote a song called Moon Over Bourbon Street and my sisters and I were intrigued. Being huge Sting and Police fans, we read all the fine print on all their albums, scouring the inserts for bits of information about their personal insight into their music–and so we learned this song was inspired by Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire. We HAD to get the book just because Sting read it! All three of us–my two younger sisters and myself–became obsessed with Mrs. Rice's stories and began penning poetry. One day I will compile these poems and publish them. They're haunting, beautiful and tragic…just like vampires.

I carried this obsession into my twenties–still reading anything related to vampires, both fiction and non-fiction–and eventually wrote my first novel, then known as Bonded By Blood. Through the years, more stories evolved and now I've developed a six-book series from the first story and use the original title as the name of the series.

And thus is the reason for my dedication page in my debut novel MIDNIGHT CONQUEST:

A Thank You to Sting
For “Moon Over Bourbon Street”
He fed me the intro
To Anne Rice’s treat
She’s planted the seed
To all that I’ve written
If it wasn’t for her
I’d have never been bitten

I had the wonderful privilege of corresponding with Mrs. Rice, letting her know I dedicated my first book to her and how she has been my inspiration. I could have sworn that I blogged about it, but I can't seem to find that entry. Oh well. I guess that's for another post. Thanks for reading!

That's my two pence…

I HATE TECHNOLOGY!!

Okay, I'm venting and the truth is I really don't hate technology. I'm just having major issues with it today. I have this AMAZING program called SWiSHMax 4 that is a 3rd-party Flash program which creates SWFs. Why use this and not Adobe Flash? Because  SWiSHMax 4 is a helluva lot easier to use AND it's a fraction of the cost. I use this program to create animated banners and book trailers with wonderful effects. Presently, I'm working on a book trailer for my awesome author friend, Brenda Hill and her up-and-coming release of WITH FULL MALICE.

So, what's my problem, then, if I have this kick-ass program? Unfortunately, I can't seem to export the audio I've added to my movie. I've got really neat sound effects and background music…and it won't buy ativan france export.

The last time I did this, I had to…

  1. Export the file as a silent FLA
  2. Import it into Adobe Flash
  3. Add the sound files manually AGAIN to specific frames
  4. THEN export it as an MPEG
  5. Then YouTube.com didn't like the MPEG, so…
  6. I had to find a program to convert the MPEG to an AVI.

*Stops to take a breath*

HOLY CRAP, I do NOT want to have to do all that again.

However, trying to find the right driver to capture the audio is turning out to be almost as complicated! If I can't solve this problem in the next day or so, I will have to resort to that tap-dance approach to get the darned movie in a format Brenda can use. GRRRRR…ARRRRGH!

BLAH! How's that for venting?

That's my two pence…

Pseudo Moving

I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to make the move permanently to Blogger. Some friends in the industry have told me I should stick with WordPress because of it's flexibility and it's ease in integrating with your web site. I haven't moved my blog to my web site yet, so that doesn't really matter to me now. However, I may do that in the future. Hence why I am reluctant to make a complete move.

I will keep this blog, but put my full posts on Blogger for now, linking from this blog to that blog. Confused yet? 😉 I will keep you posted.

If you're interested in seeing the new blog, click here.

If you'd like to argue why I should stay with WordPress or complete my move to Blogger, I'd love to hear your comments.

That's my two pence…

Update on MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE – Book 2 of BBB Vampire Chronicles

I've had a few of my readers begging me for Book 2 of my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles, so I thought I would post an update on where I am with it.

I'm so sorry! I should have listened toAmanda Hocking and NOT put a release date on future projects until the book was near completion. I stated at the end of Book 1 that Book 2 would be done in October order ativan online 2011. My day job (editing) picked up and I just have not had the time to write.

I did put a lot of effort into the novel in December and was about three-quarters of the way done with the first draft…and then the holidays hit and then Star Wars: The Old Republic came out and I also got sick (see previous spew about that). Read more…

Catching Up – Sick of Being Sick and Tired!

I really hate to be one to bitch or complain, because honestly, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. I have my romance-novel-hero husband (pictured right), a roof over my head, a career that I thoroughly enjoy (editing / writing / cover design / recording audio books / creating book trailers) and pets that are adorable and love us. Read more…

Summer Scorcher Blog Tour – Week 6 – The Perfect Hero

Welcome to part two of my blog post on the Scorcher Blog Tour.
If you missed part one, please go here: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

Thank you, Arial, for hosting me on your site!

In my last post we were about to breakdown our perfect hero into sections. But before we do that, we need to welcome our five heroes into the room. They’ve graciously allowed us to perform a little experimentation.

Let’s start with our hero’s personality. His personality must shine. AJ, Lisa, Arial, and Sarah like their hero with a good sense of humour, patient, committed, and good natured. While Amie likes a hero who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Amie wants her hero to let her show him how it’s really done. Amie, you naughty little girl! Continue reading

Scorcher Blog Tour – Week 5 – The Exception to the Rule

In case you’ve been skipping around during the Man Candy Post (tsk, tsk…naughty, naughty) go back now. You won’t regret it. Trust me.

Post #1 is here:  http://ajbooks.blogspot.com

Post #2 is here:  http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

Post #3 is here:  http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com


In my experience, rules were made to be broken – I am a writer, after all. My exception to the “he needs to smile” rule is David Gandy. David doesn’t need to smile. In fact, he can just show up. Free passes all around for David.

I’m wondering about the texture of his lips in this photo. Look soft, don’t you think? Hmmm…makes a girl wonder…

And David can go ahead and scowl all he wants. I’m not sayin a damn word.

For those of you that read Jezebel’s Wish, this is Matty. For those of you that haven’t, this is Matty. Here’s the buy link: http://tinyurl.com/3b89ogb  Just a little sumpthin-sumpthin for ya. You can thank me later. Continue reading