Tag Archive | world building

Series… Serious Work

Writing a series isn’t an easy thing. I have nothing but respect for those authors who are able to jump in and make a series that grabs a reader by the throat and shakes vigorously. Now, despite what I’m about to say about the following novel, I did enjoy it. I finished it, after all (and we all know I don’t do bad books)… But…

 

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Well, we need to have a talk.

The first book? Ripped right through it. And yet this one, well, I circled it for a very, very long time.  The story is still great. It’s just, well… There’s a lot of stuff to get through to get to the story. There’s a lot of historical factoids in this one, which I understand. The heroine is a historian/ buff going back in time and Hey! They never mentioned THIS in any of my research. (From the main character’s  point of view). All the factoids are in character… but…

Well.

I skipped a lot of this book. Maybe a third? But it go me to thinking about working on a series of books,or on any book with a magical system or research involved in it. As writers, we want to put in all this nifty cool stuff. But when we edit, we need to think of the reader. Because I skipped fully a third of a novel and didn’t miss much. Just skimmed through until I got back to the interesting bits.

We spend all this time building a world that we can go play in, and then we want to invite others to come play. The problem mentioned above doesn’t really smack me upside the head too much. I’m more the writer who forgets that you don’t know what I know, and so puts in too little. Kind of why I’m writing shorts right now, but anyways! In my writing, I don’t do a lot of filler.

And it’s kind of leaving me scratching my head because the first novel didn’t have that much filler. Perhaps because it was modern day? I don’t know.

So what do you guys think? If you’re a writer, do you end up cutting and cutting, or like me having to go back and figure out what to add where?

If you’re a reader, do you skip over the filler or do you enjoy it?

 

 

 

World Building

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!

A Perfect Blood Book Review

So what happens when you’ve written several books in a series? You need to keep the pace moving, freshen up things a bit and yet still keep your readers right there with you.

Unfortunately, keeping things fresh and mixing them up often means killing off a character. It’s already happened in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, when Rachel’s vampire love is killed. Again.

A Perfect Blood, by Kim Harrison ( Harper Voyager, hard back) is a great read. Fast paced, great action… but it also feels like a bridge. Because even though boyfriends come and go, there has been nothing that could compare to the little (strange) family of Rachel, Jenks and Ivy.

Instead, something— someone else is popping up more and more frequently. I like the play between Rachel and Trent, find it extremely interesting. But I’m also wondering where Harrison is going with it. Because it felt almost as if Rachel was distancing herself from her family.

There are other minor characters in A Perfect Blood that make things interesting. Wayde, the were-bodyguard who can’t seem to get near Rachel whenever she’s snatched. Winnona, a poor girl who is transformed… her body monstrously, but opening her eyes to loyalty, friendship and magic at the same time.

This was a really good read. I blew through this in a little more than 24 hours (keeping in mind that I had to sleep, and play with my son and feed him and all that mommy stuff too…) and towards the end I was telling my son “In a minute” quite a lot.

It will be interesting to see where the relationships land in the next novel.

Except, since I bought this in hardback I probably have to wait another whole year.

SIGH.

It’ll be worth it!