20 November 2014


Some months ago I was happy to say that I had (for the first time) finished the first draft of novel. Though in some ways that achievement felt a bit unreal as I know there's loads of work still to do. I've been letting the story percolate in my brain while I wrote other stuff (mostly TNG blog posts as you've seen, but also some short stories). I know it needs loads of work, and so far I've been able to identify big things.

The biggest thing I need to do next is worldbuilding. It's a secondary world fantasy story, and so that means I'm creating the whole thing. I already have a feel for the setting, I had to in order to write the story, but I skimmed a lot of detail that I know have to fill in (at least in my head, if not in the story itself). At Fantasycon I went to a great worldbuilding session by Tom Pollock and Kate Elliott, who both had some great things to say and gave me a lot to think about. I like the idea that worldbuilding is not about piling on details, but thinking about what is different to your setting, what assumptions you bring with you and why, and how your own assumptions and those of your reader can be challenged. I also liked that they mentioned worldbuilding being about what you don't show as much as what you do. 

I don't want to do a traditional pseudo-Western Europe setting, which is used a lot in fantasy (which is not to say it isn't done very well in some cases). As someone who has lived her entire life in Western Europe (apart from a couple of holidays) I know that I am going to have to step outside my comfort zone and do my research. I'm a bit out of practice with research, having last done it seriously 7 years ago when I was studying. Luckily I now work at a university, so I have easy access to vast amounts of research material. I'm hoping that researching is like riding a bike (something else I haven't done in years).

I'm looking forward to the process, as well as feeling a little daunted by it. I want to create a world that feels like it makes sense, as that is something that so often jolts me out of stories. I know that while I'm trying to create something different from what I'm used to my own ideas and assumptions are going to influence whatever I write. I will try to be aware of that and keep questioning myself.

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