Since I've got both Fantasy and SciFi projects I'm working on, I thought it would be interesting if she talked about how authors create entire worlds for their fiction. Take it away, Jaletta!
Building a World
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Donna. And for posing such an interesting topic. How do authors create whole worlds for their stories? I don't know how other authors do it, but my process is like shooting peas with a shotgun. I'm not sure how else to describe it.
I like to start with a general framework, the basic shape of the world. Then I fill it in as I go and as the story needs it. This sometimes means I get to do a lot of editing if something major changes with the story. But it also means I get to play with my imagination and add in cool little details as I dream them up.
Sometimes I'll start with one idea, one picture in my head, that I really want to write about. Then I build a story around it.
For Dark Dancer, I wanted to do elves with airships and a steampunk vibe. And pirates. I really wanted an elf as a pirate captain, with his airship. I blame this idea on my kids watching too much anime where I could watch, too, and on a friend of mine who wrote some very cool books about fairyland. Not the Tinkerbell variety of fairies, but dark and sinister and self-serving and magical and all kinds of interesting. The fae or fey, depending on which translation you read. My elves are a mash-up between Tolkein, Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream, and legends of the wild hunt and the fae from the Celtic and Irish tradition.
I also love this picture. It sparked the idea of a dancer, a human who can open the door to fairyland. I pulled in some of the myths about fairy rings and dancing and the fairy revels and places of power to fill in the idea.
All of these things went into my head where I turned on my story blender. Out came the world of Dark Dancer. It's a fairy world where magic has been harnessed to run machines. The rulers, the Lords of the Seligh, have even gone so far as to divide the world into the Summerlands and the Winterlands. The land between is a no-man's land, a desolate wasteland dying from a lack of magic. It has airships, and an elf pirate captain who defies the Seligh every chance he gets. It has dancers, Sabrina and her cousin Katie, who just might change the world of the fae. It has hints of other lands, other creatures, other adventures that I haven't written yet.
I may have to re-visit my world again and explore new horizons. Because a world is only limited by your imagination. For now, enjoy Dark Dancer and its magical steampunk airships and elven pirates.
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To celebrate the release of Dark Dancer, Jaletta's having a giveaway.