We’re gonna talk about world building tonight, kiddos. I recently realized that I read a lot of series, especially in the fantasy genre. (wow, wyn, great alliteration there!). Successful authors of a fantasy series, or any series, has to do with these things at some point or another.
The author needs to keep it fresh for themselves, allow themselves to grow while still hanging onto the original readership, and keeping from going out of their ever loving mind while doing it. Because who wants to read, let alone write, the same novel over and over again?
This first came to mind with me while reading one of Mary Janice Davidson’s novels (Undead and Unwelcome, I think). Because that book blew me out of the water. While before there had been lots of cute jokes, there hadn’t been a whole lot of growth. Until that book, when it took a hook for the dark side and the main character started to grow up. It was a humbling moment. As a writer who reads a lot, it showed all the ways to grow not only your own writing but your character at the same time, dragging your core audience gasping and yelling at you all the way.
Bridge of Dreams, by Anne Bishop was the second novel to make me wonder about that. Part of a series that is preceded by Sebastian and Belladonna, Bridge of Dreams takes the reader to a portion of the world that feels foreign, new and exciting along with new characters. But the world was built that way from the very beginning, giving limitless options for scenery, potential stories, lots of ideas. (The way the three sisters are handled is amazing!)
Kind of like Anne McCaffrey with the Pern series. You have the normal books, then of course there is the southern continent, and the sci fi element they may or may not go back to but even if she does, the people in the here and now are trying to figure out what feels like future technology.
And of course there’s Lynn Flewelling, who with the Bone Doll’s Twin took me and shook me completely to my core. She went back into her land’s distant past and told the story of the queen. That trilogy is written so differently from the Nightrunner books that it was a “WOW” moment.
So. Writers! Have your escape plan hatched. Because if you’re lucky, you’ll need it!