Monday, 5 August 2013

World Building with TC Southwell - Guest post and tour

Please welcome guest TC Southwell, scifi/fantasy author, with a post on world building.

One of the most important aspects of writing is to set a good scene in which to tell your story. Readers need to be able to envisage the environment, especially in fantasy and science fiction, since the world is alien. Building a vibrant world will make your story more profound and increase your readers’ enjoyment. However, do not use info dumps! Never spend pages describing your world’s flora, fauna, society and government, or lack thereof. It’s boring!

Weave your world building into your story, whenever an opportunity or need to describe something new crops up. Ensure your descriptions are interesting, vivid and succinct. It’s best to start a story with a bang, to engage your readers, then take time later on, but not too late, to paint a picture of your world. Below is an extract from The Broken World Book One: Children of Another God, as an example of interwoven world building.

From its bright, warm sun and profusion of life, he guessed it was one of the Lakes of regeneration, like the Lake of Birth or Renewal. A vista of burgeoning growth stretched away in all directions, plants and trees so alien they defied description. Bulbous growths supported disk-shaped leaves of brilliant magenta, turquoise and indigo. Tall spindly trees draped the air with long streamers of vermilion, maroon and saffron. A soft haze of pollen filled the sky; countless airborne seeds drifting like gilded dust motes in the sun. A velvet bed of bright aquamarine grass clothed the soil in a rich fur of sweet-scented succulence.

Below is an extract from The Cyber Chronicles Book Two: Death Zone, describing Sabre’s first encounter with the Zone.

As the sky paled with the first blush of dawn, Sabre became aware of a strange phenomenon ahead. At first, it looked like a low band of mist, faintly luminous in the weak light. The scanners showed nothing unusual, and he plodded towards it, wondering if he was hallucinating. As the light increased, the mist looked more solid, and he realised that it rose into the sky in a weird, translucent wall that skirted on the edge of invisibility.

It played tricks on his eyes, and he could not discern exactly what it was until he was only a few metres from it. The sun rose over the horizon, and its first golden rays shot across the sand to illuminate the misty barrier. A shimmering wall confronted him, gleaming like mother-of-pearl. Rainbows flickered within it, warped by billowing water vapour.

It’s important to describe the world as your characters perceive it, and never do it from god’s point of view, as this distances your readers. They should experience the world as your characters do, see what they do and be as puzzled as they are when they encounter something they don’t understand. When they discover what it is, so will your readers, and this will enhance their interaction with the characters. Try to put your readers in the character’s mind. Below is an extract from Slave Empire Book Two: The Crystal Ship.

The alien entity filled the screens with a dreadful, awesome beauty. Scintillating crystal spears radiated from it, and refracted light weaved webs of brilliance through the space around it. Immense beyond imagination, alien beyond belief, it scattered shards of radiance from numberless crystalline facets. No form or shape confined it. No words could accurately describe it. Vast webs of crystal surrounded it in huge butterfly wings of gossamer glass ablaze with liquid light.

Be careful when describing magical or amazing things. Never say things like ‘it was awesome’ or ‘it was magical’. That’s telling your readers what to think. Try not to use ‘it was’ at all. Remember, it’s your character who thinks it’s awesome, but you also need to describe, as clearly as possible, what he or she sees, without ever saying ‘he/she saw’. Also, be sure to describe all aspects of your world, not only what it looks like, but the smells, sounds and weather, etc. When it comes to things your characters don’t experience first-hand, such as legends or rumours, have them discuss it or think about it, and weave in a bit of conjecture, opinion and fabrication.

Author bio:

T. C. Southwell was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the Seychelles when she was a baby. She spent her formative years exploring the islands – mostly alone. Naturally, her imagination flourished and she developed a keen love of other worlds. The family travelled through Europe and Africa and, after the death of her father, settled in South Africa.

T. C. Southwell has written over thirty novels, ranging from fantasy and science fiction to romance and adventure, as well as five screenplays. Her hobbies include motorcycling, horse riding and art, and she is now a full-time writer.

Purchase links:

Find TC Southwell online:

Twitter: @TCSouthwell

Introduction to Southwell’s series 
All the below books are permanently free.

A doomed kingdom, a young queen’s sacrifice and a killer who will bring an empire to its knees... In a world where men share kindred with beasts, an ageless seer predicts a child who will end the Endless War. One man is the instrument who will change fate. He will usher in a time of strife and pain that will live in legend, and forever bear his name... the time of the Queen’s Blade.
When Queen Tassin is forced to flee her kingdom on the backwater planet of Omega V, she has no idea that the strange warrior who helps her is a cyborg; the deadliest hi-tech killing machine ever created. Her world has forgotten the technology that almost destroyed it, but then a freak accident damages the micro-supercomputer that controls Sabre, and he is free to take charge of his destiny…
Seven blue wards have imprisoned the Black Lord in the Underworld for aeons. Now he has stolen a human child and made him a mortal god. After eighteen years of torturous training, Bane sets forth to break the wards with aid of a dark army. The Demon Lord will release Arkonen and destroy the Overworld unless an innocent young girl can turn him from his savage path...

Alien hunters invade a dying Earth in search of a saviour, and an ancient prophecy predicts a golden child who will save a galactic empire. A mysterious black ship is Rayne’s guide and a masked outlaw known as the Shrike her guardian. Others want to slay her and prevent the prophecy from coming true. In the midst of two great empires’ strife, the Shrike holds the power to save or destroy her.

Mujar do not use their powers for good or evil; they simply exist, immortal and apparently purposeless. The mounted warriors are known as the Black Riders, but no one knows where they come from or why they seem bent on exterminating every man, woman and child. Talsy uses her father’s knowledge to trap the Mujar with gold, which has an odd effect on his kind. Her father intends to throw him in a Pit, from which he will be unable to escape.

Talsy does not believe the Mujar deserves such a fate, so she frees him and begs him to take her with him on his journey. He agrees, and they set off across Shamarese, continuing his quest to find an old hermit’s lost son. There is far more at stake than Talsy realises, however, and she has innocently stumbled upon the last free Mujar, who has the power to decide the fate of her race…

And during the tour, there will also be promotional discounts on other books by TC Southwell. The special today is -

1 August
Demon Lord II, Dark God, for only 99c for 5 days, 1 – 5 August Promotional price: $0.99Coupon Code: XX57H
and from tomorrow, you can get -
6 August
The Queen’s Blade II, Sacrifice, free on a 3-day promotion, 6 – 8 August Coupon Code: EN88H

For other special promotions, follow along on the rest of the tour below -

TC Southwell Virtual Book Tour Itinerary
1 – 14 August 2013
Thursday, 1 August
Tour kick-off: author showcase, hosted by Glynis Smy and Fireblade Publishers
Friday, 2 August
How to Create Good Characters, hosted by Rebekah Grow
Saturday, 3 August
Author & character interview, hosted by Nicole Hill
Sunday, 4 August
Showcasing The Queen’s Blade fantasy series, hosted by Chris Graham
Monday, 5 August
World Building, hosted by Pippa Jay, and showcasing The Queen’s Blade on Glynis Smy’s Virtual Bookcase
Tuesday, 6 August
Familiar’s Relationships with Humans in The Queen’s Blade, hosted by James L. Wilber, and author showcases, hosted by Mathew Reuther and Louise Blankenship
Wednesday, 7 August
Creating Original Fantasy Creatures, hosted by Michelle Louring
Thursday, 8 August
How to Write a Good Fight Scene, hosted by Fireblade Publishers
Friday, 9 August
Why Reading is Important, hosted by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa
Saturday, 10 August
Inside the Mind of an Author, hosted by Tracy Falbe
Sunday, 11 August
How to Deal with Book Pirates & author interview, hosted by the Indie Author Network
Monday, 12 August
Literary Characters TC Southwell would Date, Dump or Marry, hosted by Nicole Hill
Tuesday, 13 August
Tips for New Writers, hosted by The Independent Bookworm
Wednesday, 14 August
Extract from The Broken World fantasy series, hosted by the Indie Author Network, and The Magic Systems in Southwell’s Books, hosted by Marsha A. Moore
For daily tour updates and a tour overview on Thursday, 15 August, visit TC Southwell’s blog.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post.
    Though I prefer simpler description than in the examples(too many fancy words personally make me skim the paragraph, if used in description), T.C Southwell makes some very good points!


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