I am so happy to welcome Nicole McDonald to the Flight Deck, to let us into some of her secrets regarding that essential element for fantasy and SF writers - World building. Over to you, Nicole.
Writing a novel is a daunting task at the best of times. Writing a novel on a made-up planet—well that’s just adding a whole other factor of ‘oh crap’ to your work. It isn’t easy (not if you want to do it well) but personally, it is fun, fascinating, challenging, and frequently infuriating. Worth it? Hell yeah!
So, having spent nearly four years partially on another planet of my own creation (Gar’nyse – gahh niece) here are the points I feel will help to ground your creation and make it believable.
* Get graph paper and nut out a to-scale map. All you need to know for this is how long it takes characters from here to there-via whatever transport (mine was griffon.). You’ll need a basic knowledge of maths and/or google, to help you figure the hourly speed and then you should be good. Create loads of land masses/islands, to give you lots of room to play.
*Remember that if your characters are human then your planet is going to be similar to Earth. Our form/biologic build is directly due to how our planet works gravity-wise/evolution-wise.
*Watch documentaries on Earth – LOTS of them!! Will give you heaps of ideas!
* If you can, sketch your creations; otherwise keep a note book with thorough descriptions so you don’t have to keep skipping back and forth through your manuscript (note to self— must do this…)
*Don’t give your new creatures’ capital letters!! By this I mean, you don’t say ‘I saw a Lion today.’ Instead you say ‘I saw a lion today’. Frequently people get this wrong (even editors have done it at times). So stick to your guns! It’s either a creature, or a creature’s name i.e. in the BirthRight trilogy there is a griffon named Loushka.
Otherwise, have patience, be prepared for writers’ block of another kind entirely, and I recommend this fantasy name generator http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/ to help create names for your creations. Good luck and happy exploring!
Thanks so much, Nicole, that was really interesting - and I've already used the link you kindly provided to generate a name for my current WIP. :)
by Nicole MacDonald
On a foreign and often hostile world, love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' surprising gifts. Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize?
A rude awakening
“The branches we used to make the shelter stunk. I wasn’t sure yet if it was a good smell or a bad smell, just distractingly pungent. The shelter was a pretty basic design but it kept the wind out and might keep us dry.
It was just that smell.
Maybe it isn’t just the branches, I thought, it might be my pillow.
Sighing, I sat up to try and fix it again. Scrunching the leaves into a better shape, I re-fixed the hood of my cloak over them and lay down.
Sleep came quickly and it must have been around midnight when Audi’s soft growl woke me.
What? What was she growling about? Blinking, I peered around. The moon was full, making it surprisingly light in the shelter. I whispered her name and Audi crept to my side then gave another low growl. Placing a hand on her back I was shocked to feel the fur erect, like when we’d been chased by the elgrids.
Oh God, what now?
It couldn’t be anything little, considering Audi hadn’t raced out of the shelter to scare it off. Audrey wasn't a chicken, but she was sensible. With trembling hands, I knelt and strapped on the sword and daggers. The shuffling outside had gotten closer. My stomach seemed to sink to my feet and a wave of dizziness hit as fear swept through me.
Not again, I thought, the village is half a day’s walk away. There was no way we would be able to make it back.
I crawled over to Kassie and shook her, placing a hand over her mouth. She mumbled, then her eyes flashed open in shock.
'Shhh, something’s outside and Audi thinks it’s bad. Strap your sword on and get ready.'
She reached for her sword and I turned to repeat the process with Loi and Sian. “
Nicole MacDonald is the Independent author of The Arrival, and, Awakening, the first two books in the BirthRight Trilogy. Writing had never been a lifelong dream for her until she began The Arrival, but it now is an all-consuming passion.
A proud Kiwi (New Zealander) Nicole dreams that one day Peter Jackson will be in touch to option the film rights for the BirthRight Trilogy. When she's not daydreaming about that she's working on book three in the trilogy - Feel the Burn, available December 2012 - and planning future works.
Amazon US - free: http://www.amazon.com/The-Arrival-BirthRight-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B004HD5WAE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347750674&sr=8-3&keywords=the+arrival
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Sony ereader store - free: http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/nicole-macdonald/the-arrival/_/R-400000000000000340919
Smashwords (any format) - free: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34874
'STARQUEST' 'CHILDREN OF THE MIST' (The sequel to Starquest) Dancing With Fate 'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH
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