Friday, April 26, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Working on my World Building

Several months ago I received a response from a literary agent regarding my middle grade novel. Unfortunately, it was a rejection. However, it was not only encouraging, it was helpful. In her response she mentioned that a weakness in my work was the fact that the world building was not developed enough to support some of the scenes in my first ten pages. While I winced, I knew she was correct. I also knew how it had happened: In learning that a MG novel needed to get to the action straightaway, I had primarily focused on that task, neglecting world building.

Since receiving that constructive criticism I've been studying up on world building. While setting is a big part of developing your protagonist's world, it's also important to develop her personal world: friends, family, current events, conflicts, antagonist, etc. Blending the correct setting to the set of events your main character will experience is important; it's also important that the personal world of other characters be sufficiently developed. (That's where I had failed.)

I've often received positive feedback on my ability to create a setting - it's something I love to do. However, when introducing a scene into your work it's important to ask: Does the world I've developed support this action? In other words, does it feel like this plot point came out of left field? It's wonderful to reveal a surprise in your story, essential in fact; however, it must feel as though you can follow a thread to where that surprise originated. World building is like constructing a castle - it takes a long time! That being said, doing research (including travel) for a story is one of my favorite things to do.

Visiting the iconic bookshop in Paris, France.
As I mentioned last Friday, we traveled to Europe in 2014.  Experiencing the sights and sounds of a location provides the writer with information no amount of reading can provide.

I recently created an outline for a new middle grade novel, also set in France. It will be historical fiction, set in WW II. (Once you've visited a country, you never know what inspiration it might provide in the future!)

Click here for just one of many great articles regarding world building.

Wish me luck!

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