Risky Regencies

Cooking From Scratch

No, this post is not about my amazing homemade pizza or my sad attempts at this crazy chickpea dish that just smelt–and tasted–like old man, but instead, about world-building. From scratch.

As an historical author, I’ve never had to world-build; my world was built over 200 years ago, peopled with Prinny and the Duchess of Devonshire and Byron and Shelley and Leigh Hunt and all those fun folks. The clothes are gorgeous, the art is splendidly creative, the wars are ongoing and the men and women are passionate and intense (at least my heroes and heroines are. I hope).

But now that I am working on an Urban Fantasy, I am having to create my own world; is there a Hell and a Heaven? What’s ‘Earth’ like? What can its people do? What realities do they deal with everyday that I never have to deal with (say, a vampire wandering around after dark, just normal and all).

It’s freeing–and scary! There’s no right or wrong here, but there is interestingly believable and absurdly unrealistic. Each day, I add another piece to the landscape, so that eventually I will have a world as real to me as Regency England.

It definitely makes me appreciate the forerunners in our genre, who picked out the funnest bits for us current authors to work with, and left us a vibrant world for our heroes and heroines.

I hope to do the same for my characters. What’s your favorite fictional world? What do you wish really existed in our time?


Thanks to Diane who posted in my day of internet need last Friday.

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12 years ago

Whew! I didn’t lose track of the day. My favorite fictional world is Middle-earth. And I always wanted a pet dragon. 🙂 Have fun creating your world!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Hahaha, Judy. I, too, tell my days by who is blogging!

Thanks to Megan for freeing me up on this holiday.

I have a hard enough time with all the pieces of the 200 year old world; I can’t imagine what it would be like to make up an entirely new one.
Scary….and fun!

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

The taste of old men, eh? I’m not even going there.

I find I have to worldbuild a lot writing historicals, although I don’t like that term particularly. There’s always a certain amount of informed guesswork involved in the process. Even in my Austen-as-vamp books I’ve dovetailed fantasy in with historical truth. But building something from scratch…that sounds scary and fascinating and exhilarating.

Elena Greene
12 years ago

I love Middle Earth too but the things I’d like to have come from Harry Potter: an invisibility cloak (so I could follow my kids into school and levitate any bullies who mess with them) and a time-turner, so I could get more done.

Susanna Fraser
12 years ago

Oh, I want Hermione’s time-turner SO MUCH. I could finish all those book ideas lurking in my brain, AND learn French and go back to fencing lessons and take up violin and learn to ride hunt seat and…

The manuscript I’m planning to tackle after my current WIP is a Napoleonic paranormal, so if I look like I’m idly waiting for the elevator to come or the light to turn these days, I’m probably really thinking through the rules of my alternate world and how to balance the need to make the changes that would be logical for the paranormal elements while leaving it similar enough to feel like our world.

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

I would love to write a fantasy/alternate historical where I can make up the atmosphere and inhabitants and rules! It would be hard and stressful and fun. But in the meantime I have to keep building the historical worlds in my WIPs. (and I definitely think there is “world building” involved in straight historicals–the right atmosphere and frame of mind have to be part of the story, and research and details are part of that…)

One thing that bothers me is when an author goes to great pains to set up their fantasy world and bring us into it–then they go and arbitrarily change the rules because of a plot corner that needs to be gotten out of! 🙂

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Oh, and next time I visit Brooklyn I won’t be eating anything made with chickpeas :))

12 years ago

What i wish existed in our time would be a time machine that would allow us to go back as observers, but not be able to interact with people or events. We could be there but not in a form that was physical. That way no one could go back and change history, but we could go back to observe and see what things were really like.

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