Today I'm happy to have a wonderful new fantasy author, Terri Rochenski, talking about her world-building process. Be sure to check out her new release, Make Believe, as well as her giveaway at the bottom of this post.
Which comes first? The plot or the world? For me, every story is different. Sacrificial Oath, my contribution to J. Taylor Publishing’s Make Believe Anthology, came about by a picture prompt. The plot came first. I then built my world around the idea of what the MC, Alesuela, would face. The country of Vecina was born with a Turkish-feel and flavor.
My current WiP was influenced by one of the best fantasy writers of all time—Tolkien and his British-like Middle Earth. I had my world created months before the actual plot evolved. Maps and weather patterns. Flora & fauna. Yes, I’m a bit of an over-achiever when it comes to organizing.
The problem with this second way is that as the plot and my characters reveal themselves, some parts of their world need tweaking for believability sake. And my muse grumbles. And grumbles some more.
Because I’ve spent hours upon hours floating around in my own little world. I’ve envisioned it to completion. Animal, creature, man—how they live, what they eat, where they live. I sit back and enjoy their sunsets. Listen in as their government or churches argue over what they believe and how to rule their lands.
Strange, I know. BUT … how can we write a story in a world that hasn’t consumed us to the point where we know it inside & out? If we did, there would be inconsistencies—reasons for the readers to have believability issues. Reasons for the readers to put our books aside with an ‘Eh’ escaping their lips or their eyes rolling.
And herein lays my weakness with getting caught up in the worlds I create—needing all my i’s dotted and my T’s crossed. I love research. I could literally sit for hours pouring over books at the library (my favorite form of research) or staring at the computer screen, pen in hand.
Notes upon notes upon notes. All in 1 fat folder. Eventually each novel WiP ends up with a three-ring binder & page protectors.
Obsess much? Yup.
The research for me is play. The writing itself is work. Then comes editing. UGH.
My current WiP is in the final editing stages—has been since earlier this year. I had gotten caught up in a few shorts, one of which is Sacrificial Oath. The 2nd is an historical romance that will be in Still Moment’s Publishing’s Christmas Magic Anthology also releasing this month.
While I’ve enjoyed my little ‘break’ from the fantasy novel I’ve been laboring over for five years now (labor of love, of course) it’s time to finish. Button up those little plot issues that arose as my characters grew. Clear up any inconsistencies to keep my readers turning pages.
What comes first for you as a writer—world or plot? Does your character dictate the story? Or is it the world you bring to life what rules your muse?
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.
Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.
Stalk Me Links:
Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski
An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.
With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.
The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford
There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death.
After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.
Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.
She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.
Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.
Petrified by Kelly Said
A mysterious storm has replaced summer with winter, devastating crops and smothering Castle lands in snow. Prince Sterling August stands alone as a leader, lost in personal grief as well as a desire to help his people but with an inability to do either.
The answers he needs await him, but without Lochlyn, a woman who’s just as isolated as Sterling, he’ll never see what stands before him, cloaked in illusion.
Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton
Emily is a Red, a woman whose sole purpose in life is to produce offspring. When her husband dies and leaves her childless, she risks her life and forsakes the safety of Terra—a disease-free city born after the nuclear holocaust. Beyond its boundaries, she knows, survives a man with whom she can be properly paired.
The Outside, though, holds secrets the government struggles to keep, and what Emily discovers on her quest for a mate will change her life forever.
Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield
From a charity auction, to a stroll in the park, to the craziest night of her life. Nicole Harrington can’t help but wonder how a simple event went so drastically wrong.
Of course, the male escort she booked is wholly to blame. Not only charming but shrewdly intelligent, Benjamin Gold drags Nicole into a platoon of unimaginable problems—ones from which she’ll have to find the courage just to survive.
Excerpt From Sacrificial Oath:
Alesuela’s knees ached, but she didn’t dare cease her prayers. Father had to return. He had to.
Blessed Goddess, bring him home safely. Please.
Continuing with her supplication, she lit another candle as she had vowed to do with each sunrise. Alesuela shifted on the woolen rug. A drip flowed down the taper’s side, pooling on top of three month’s worth of hardened wax.
Her beloved father, Amant, Sovereign of Vecina, sent weekly reports of the war’s progress—of small defeats and battles won. Although her intended, Lord Pedre Ashin, also rode at the army’s front, Alesuela’s thoughts rarely lingered on the younger man. No anticipation stirred in Alesuela’s breast over the postponed wedding, for Pedre never treated her with anything other than indifference.
Hands clasped, Alesuela lifted her gaze to the window above her chamber’s gilded shrine. The opening framed a picturesque view of the snowcapped Craesor Mountain where the Goddess dwelt. Looming in the east, the crater-topped peak blocked the summer’s rising sun. Scarlet smeared the sky, and the sweet scent of red poppies from her flower garden below drifted in on a dry breeze.
Red poppies. Death.
A shudder rippled through Alesuela.
He can’t be dead. Blessed Goddess, I am not yet ready to be Vecina’s Sovereign.
Dread wrapped Alesuela in its cold embrace.
Giveaway: Use the rafflecopter below for chances to win a signed cover & two signed bookmarks (contest runs Dec 3rd – Jan 11th)