Working My Way Through Worldbuilding

My agent and I have been waiting for news on the new direction (which is actually an older direction I wanted to take, and a previous proposal from two years ago, resuscitated). There were two proposals from back then that might have been the one Claire wanted to see, and neither Robin nor I were sure which of the two it was. I found out which one today. I’m pleased; I liked that story.

However, what my editor wants is not just one book. She wants a book plus a world — that is, the full proposal, plus a way for other books to be written using the same rather nifty elements that I came up with for that one, that will be tied in to it.

So.

I’ll be spending the weekend worldbuilding to open up what was planned as one book to make room for any number of books written into my eerie little world.

This will entail mapmaking, writing backstory to anchor the first book and all the rest that could (we hope) follow, and creating a series of characters who will fill in the background and provide connection between the unrelated main stories, and then coming up with at least three solid main stories to pitch.

For the first time in the last couple of months, I’m genuinely excited about writing.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

6 comments… add one
  • Jim Mar 19, 2006 @ 22:33

    Holly,

    That sounds wonderful, and the prospects of such a sale to Claire sound even better. Good luck, continue to catch her eye, and sell us a passle more books.
    (How much is a passle, by the way? 🙂

  • Gabriele Mar 18, 2006 @ 12:24

    You’re so good at worldbuilding, you’ll come up with something cool and exciting, I’m sure. Have fun, and good luck.

    I’m doing something along that lines as well, three standalone books that are connected by the same world and some characters. Only in my case the world is historical: the early 5th century when the collapse of the Roman Empire began. The army leaves Britain under an ursurper who fights the Emperor’s army in the Roman province of Gaul, and thus the borders are left open for invasions from the Saxons and tribes north of the Hadrian’s Wall. The Visigoths invade Italy, sack Rome and then move on towards southern Gaul (where they ally with the Emperor and fight the ursurper), and the German tribes along the Rhine border push across the river into Roman territory. It’s a wonderful mess. One of the books foucuses on Britain (the MC is a tribal leader from the north with a pro-Roman attitude), another on the Visigoths (two half-brothers, a Roman officer and a Gothic warrior), and the third focusses on the troubles along the Rhine (MC is a female Roman physician).

    All books have chapters taking place in Rome, and there are other connections via minor characters. And I think about cameos of more important characters (fe. the MC of the Britain book spends some time in Rome as charioteer and can only escape thanks to the siege the Visigoths lay to the town).

    I wonder, in case you’ll find the time, could you share some tips about how to write loosely connected standalones in one world, what works and what to avoid? Is a subplot that ties in with another book a good idea or would it make the connection too close?

    And is such a series a good idea for a beginner? I know publishers like standalones with an option for more; does that count for genuine trilogies or series with one main character (like Tam’s Dubric books) only, or could a loose series also work?

    Thanks in advance.

  • ca.bookwyrm Mar 17, 2006 @ 15:17

    Yay! I’m glad the enthusiasm is back. It’s always nice to see a good writer and person having a good time of things.

  • Tech Mar 17, 2006 @ 13:06

    It sounds wonderful! And I’m glad the excitement has returned.

  • Lumpy_d_Great Mar 17, 2006 @ 12:50

    That sound great, am excited to know more….

  • The English Rose Mar 17, 2006 @ 12:21

    Woo! I’m excited for you! That sounds like fun. 🙂 I’m glad that you’re enthused about writing again. I’m feeling rejuvenated in my own writing after a few months too. I finished the first one and when the high wore off it took a long time to figure out, “now what?” But I’m happily planning away… Good for you, Holly!

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