An Insight into World Building from Curtis Jobling

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of author, Curtis Jobling, who is the ideal person to shed a little light on how to create believable alternate worlds in our fiction. He is the designer for Bob the Builder, with its world of talking machines; creator of Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, full of adventures set in the Jingly Jangly Jungle; and author of the fantasy series, Wereworld, an epic journey of fantasy and horror.

Here’s what he has to say about World Building:

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How to Write a Book in Four Drafts

I’ve learnt a huge amount from writing this blog. One of the most important being, ‘you’ve always got something else you can learn.’ But now I’m back to writing a first draft, I find all this information on writing techniques buzzing around my head is getting in the way.

It’s like buying a new house and trying to re-decorate everything at once. Nobody chooses the colour scheme, paints the woodwork, puts up the wallpaper, and changes the light fittings all at the same time.

Learning so many wonderful and useful things about writing craft is all well and good, but I’m beginning to feel like I’ve gone to B&Q and bought the whole shop, so now I have no idea where to start.

What I need to remember is a first draft is just that; the first draft of many. So I’ve come up with a plan and it compares surprisingly well to my decorating techniques. Continue reading

Creating a Believable Story World

I like routine. It helps me get into the right frame of mind for writing. Watching Judge Judy in the morning while I’m eating my porridge, sets me up for the day.

If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true,” is one of Judge Judy’s little sayings. It got me thinking about fictional worlds, and how as writers we ask the reader to ‘buy into’ the story we’ve created for them. It’s called, suspension of disbelief.

If something in our created world doesn’t ring true, it throws the reader out of the story. By ‘true’, I don’t mean factually correct (although it is important to get our facts straight). I mean, do our created world’s rules, laws and behaviours remain consistent throughout? Here’s a few example ‘worlds’ to explore. Continue reading

Philip Caveney Tells How Real Locations Inspire His Fiction

I was very fortunate to meet today’s guest author, Philip Caveney, at a writers gathering in the Armenian Tavern near St Albert’s Square in Manchester (England) last Christmas. As with every author I meet, I smiled sweetly and asked if he could write a post for the blog. Being the lovely man he is, he said yes, so here it is: Continue reading

Gillian Cross Shares the Secret to Keeping Things Simple

I’m delighted and honoured to welcome to the blog today Carnegie Medal winner, Gillian Cross, who has some revealing things to say about writing style.

Plain and Fancy

I once told another writer that I try to avoid using adverbs and adjectives unless they’re absolutely necessary. He looked at me as though I was crazy. ‘But adverbs are where it’s at,’ he said.

I went away feeling incompetent. How could I call myself a writer if I couldn’t even manage a few measly adverbs. Was my writing laughably simple and lacking in refinement? Maybe I should try a more elaborate style. Continue reading

How to Describe Your Settings Without Boring Your Reader

Think of your setting as a painting, only instead of using colours on a canvass, you’re using words to describe a picture in someone else’s mind. The good thing about words rather than paint is you can use them to explore all five senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight and sound can all be used when describing a setting.

Every scene happens somewhere. It could be on a pirate ship, under a bed, or walking through a desert. Wherever your story is set you’ll want your readers to close their eyes and imagine they’re there. Continue reading

Giving your Setting a Little Character

I read somewhere that you should treat the setting of your story like a character. Give it a strong identity, allow it to have mood swings, ask it to interact with other characters, watch it drive the plot. Think of Wuthering Heights. How different that story could have been if Cathy hadn’t ventured out on to the moors in a storm.

Characterisation

Good characterisation is expressed in the detail and a little detail goes a long way towards creating a convincing story world.

Here’s a short excerpt from my first novel, Wolf Soul, in its first draft form: Continue reading