Wednesday, June 26, 2019

World Building With Tara Tyler

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today, I'm turning My Pet Blog's keys over to awesome author Tara Tyler, who will be talking about world building as well as her brand new release!

Take it away, Tara!


Thank you for having me over, MJ!

Ever daydream about being somewhere else? A sunny, secluded beach with the sounds of the surf gently washing onto the shore at your feet, a salty sea breeze blowing through your hair, the warm sun tanning your skin to a deep blue...

Wait, blue? That's right, blue. You're in another world. Now, wake up. You have to get back to work! JK, finish reading my post first =)

Were you able to imagine that scene? Did the fact that you were blue change how it looked and felt?That's one of the parts of

Fantasy World-Building

Disclaimer: Most of the work you put into Fantasy World-Building is backstory that no one will know except you. The important pieces should be revealed as the story goes along--never told in a big chunk all at once (that is "telling") But building the world is severely important. Just like a skyscraper: no one sees the foundation, but the building would fall down without it! Got it? Good.

Step One: The physical. These questions can help you solidify the beginnings of your world.
  • How big is your world? A planet? A solar system? or just a village? or even a closet?
  • What does it look like? Plants/Desert? Light/Dark? Colorful/Bland? Air/Water? 
  • Who lives there? And what do they look like?
If you want to make things easier on yourself, you can choose a setting that "builds itself" - one you don't have to describe in too much detail. A reader can imagine what an underground tunnel city looks like, you just fill in details of the characters' specifics and lives. 

Emax lives with his grandmother and works at a library in an underground city. Even though his eyes take up most of his face like the other Undeez, he has to wear glasses to read, which makes him well-respected and distinguished.

Step Two: The hierarchy. Who's in charge and why? What are the rules & consequences? Magic is usually involved in fantasy, so that has to be defined, with limitations (no one is invincible or it won't be a good story) Most importantly, why are you telling the MC's story? What makes her/him special?

The library is an amazing labyrinth of knowledge. Only the most educatable are allowed to work there. It's Emax's responsibility to bestow the information in the library to the rest of the Undeez in their weekly congregations. Though he is highly respected, he feels his life is being wasted with these dullards, and that's why he started digging. Up.

Step Three: Language. I respect anyone who can develop a new language that needs translation--that is intense and takes a ton of time and effort--not for me. BUT! You must have special words for things. Modern things we have that they might use need new names. You wouldn't say: a phone, a computer, a toilet, a baseball bat, etc. You'd use unique-to-your-world things like: a vine-line, a pulse-wave decoder, going to the hole, and a whacker stick... plus whatever special items that only your world has. Words are ultra-important to making your world real. You also need to come up with:
  • slang terms
  • hand gestures/body language
  • magic terms and uses
  • habits and rituals
His wrist vibrates, making Emax fumble the high stack of books he was carrying. From under the pile, he glances at the glowing clepsydrator and taps it off. He's going to be late. Again.

Step Four: Incorporate your world into your story. Sounds easy enough. Don't bring up the past, don't tell how things work, don't explain the magic. You have to weave the backstory and details into the story. It's a normal day, and this is what happens... slip your special words, backstory info, and magic pieces in as you go!

After divulging a very important lesson at the congregation, Emax sighs. The brainless Undeez laugh as if it's the funniest joke ever told, when in reality it's a historical catastrophe where their ancestors were destroyed by the Great Flood.

On his way home, he walks past the Sludge Room and feels a tingle making his hair stand on end. He wonders if it's a sign, reminding him of his dreams of another disaster that have been haunting his sleep. He's afraid to tell anyone about his portends, even his grandmother. If the Grays find out, they'll lock him in a zap station to share his foretelling dreams with the rest of the clan's minds and he'll be trapped until it comes true. He quickens his pace to work on his digging. He must to find a way out!

That was fun! Hope you enjoyed my little demo.

Knowing your new world inside and out will also help you answer curious questions from readers--like J.K. Rowling gets bombarded with all the time. That could be you!

Side note: MJ's Coilean Chronicles are a fabulous perfection of fantasy world-building. I'm reading SECOND NATURE right now and loving every fantastic, dramatic minute of it!

Thanks again, MJ, for letting me come over and babble. And especially for all your support and help with my WINDY HOLLOW release! I had fun writing this post with a story-on-the-fly example.

In Beast World, fantasy creatures can barely get along with each other, nevermind admitting humans might exist. It's the young beasts who have the courage to take charge and open the adults' minds!

Beast World MG Fantasy Series, book #3
by Tara Tyler
Available NOW!

This summer, Gabe and his friends fly over the Great Sea for the wedding of the century: a dragon prince and a beautiful harpy. But Gabe can't relax on this vacation. Besides competing in rigorous wedding events, he overhears the nearby human village WINDY HOLLOW is in danger from an evil human scientist and a vengeful were-ogre experimenting on beasts. Gabe and his friends risk crossing the mountains to help, despite several warnings. 

Maybe he's going too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband and one boy left in the nest. She has two series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!

twitter: @taratylertalks
Instagram: taratylertalks
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  1. I have no problem not explaining how things work!
    Congratulations, Tara.

  2. Great tips, and grats on the release!!

  3. Worldbuilding is hard. (Although, I think research is harder, so I'll stick to world building...)

  4. Alex, you are a mystery--I have a feeling your answer has something to do with your job...
    Loni, thank you squirrel-sweetie!
    Liz, I agree! but I do a lot of research for my sci-fi stuff...
    thanks again, MJ! (back to reading!)

    1. Come back anytime. My blog enjoys being not-ignored for a change. :)

  5. A lot of fantasy writers seem to struggle with how many world-specific terms to put into the story at a time. I recently put aside a book because it had seven made up words in the first paragraph. Too many for my limits. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  6. World building is one of my favorite things about reading fantasy. I love when extra detail is put in because it makes it that much more real.

  7. I love the way you wove examples into your explanations on World-Building, Tara! love world-building, but there are layers upon layers and sometimes I forget one.