Guest Post & Giveaway: Hailey Edwards

Worldbuilding Brick by Brick 
by Hailey Edwards

Worldbuilding is hands down my favorite part of the writing process. It’s more than the rush of starting a new series and creating a new environment from scratch, it’s the continuation of growth from a first book throughout a series. In order to create a living, breathing storyverse, it’s not enough for characters to show growth throughout their stories. Their worlds must also evolve.

My first fantasy romance novel featured a race of winged demons enslaved by their wingless counterparts. After the book was released, a reader asked, “Why don’t the Evanti just fly away?”

I realized then, the importance of underpinning my worlds. That one question reshaped how I thought about worldbuilding. It wasn’t enough to say the race was enslaved. I had to have good reasons why a superior race would bow their heads to lesser race and endure centuries of torture.

In other words, I had to answer the question, “Why don’t the Evanti just fly away?”

By anchoring the demons in their world, their struggles became more real.

Worldbuilding is a skillset that is developed over time through trial and error. Or at least it’s been that way for me. There is a balance between how I see a world and how I present a world to readers. It takes time to fully understand how much of that information I should share, and when.

What I see is a vast and unending world, a tangle of plot and origin and landscape. Often it’s full of tidbits that aren’t necessary for the reader or for the story. I hear whispered rumors. See glints of the past that have no bearing on the immediate story. That is where experience pays off.

A writer must know where the line is drawn between critical and superfluous information.

They must also know when to smudge that line or step over it all together. Of course, writers don’t always get it right. I know I don’t. But I like to think that while our worlds are evolving, we are as well.

I have several favorite worlds, so many I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. (Robin D. Owens’s Celta Heartmates, Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files…)

How about you? What are your favorite series? Where are your favorite worlds? What cool places have you read about and wished you could visit?Leave me a comment and let me know.

One commenter will be awarded a $5 Amazon gift card and their choice of any title from my backlist in any digital format.

This giveaway is closed. The winner is Linda.

Comments

  1. I am a HUGE fan of Lilith Saintcrow’s world and character building. She spins such a fantastic story and the world building is so seamless that you rarely (if ever) need a glossary to understand.

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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  3. I don’t read much straight fantasy, but I love urban fantasy. Probably my favorite world building is in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. It’s described so well that you can totally picture it and I love the idea of magic surges that are completely tearing down our technological world.

    jen(at)delux(dot)com

  4. I actually have two favorite series above all others. These two fight for number one spot in my mind.
    1) Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward is a great emotion builder plus great action and laughs. This world that Ward has created keeps me reading fast and drooling for the next story.
    2) Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton. When I read Guilty Pleasures four years ago I almost didn’t follow through with the rest. GP was written in 1995 and is mild compared to today’s standard of paranormal/sci-fi romance. As the series plays out you feel all the main characters go through transformations in power and relationships while dealing with the drama of everyday life. The attention to detail of crime scenes are top notch and the thought process of both enemy and hero come alive with ease and leave you screaming for the next book.

  5. Kassandra, I keep meaning to read another Lilith book. I think I bought a bundled series of hers on Amazon a while ago, but it’s somewhere in my towering TBR pile.

    I just am 2 u, I love BDB. One of my prized possessions is a signed copy of Lover Eternal. 😀

  6. I love the Mercy Thompson 😀 I notice you neglected Patricia Briggs. I definitely love Harry Dresden he is awesome. Im reading the Iron Druid books now and in some ways Atticus reminds me of Harry. I still have to look into the otherworld books.

  7. I loved CL Wilson’s Tairen Soul series & also Kylie Griffin’s LIght Blade series. Admittedly I’ve only read the 1st bk but i LOVED it! But one world which i’ve always wished I could be transported to is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. I would love to be a dragon rider and have fire lizards!

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

  8. Congrats on your new release! My favorite world is P. G. Wodehouse’s Edwardian England. With Betram Wooster and Jeeves, what could go wrong?

    cgnemesis (at) yahoo (dot) com

  9. Okay, about a month ago I would have said that the BDB by JR Ward was my abso favorite, but then I ready the Iron Druid Chronicles and Atticus and Oberon have stolen my heart! The worlds in both books are realistic int he fact that one is an actual place, the other could be an actual place though it isn’t…I love the way Kevin Hearne has made the characters so easy to love and you just want more! Ward has done the same, with much more uh s*x…
    Anyway, I love love LOVE to read new stories with new worlds, I also love reading the series I already have, but there is just something about a new fantasy world, even if it isn’t too far from normal. Thanks for the giveaway chance, and can’t wait to read your book! 🙂

  10. Nice post. I like the Immortals After Dark and Lords of the Underworld series. I’d like to visit these settings.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. I miss reading the new installments of L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legends series, and her Crimson Moon series. I love reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood and I was addicted to the Sookie Stackhouse series when I first started reading it a while ago. And the Demonica series by Larissa Ione.

    sankofa0509@yahoo.com

  12. Hi
    I have some favorite series, but I’d like to mention The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews to name a few of them. I really like the characters and in the kate Daniels series I also like the magic world as well.

    Daniela.
    dany7578 at hotmail dot com

  13. Judy Mays planets especially medira. I’d love to visit them all.
    Scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  14. I love the BDB world, but would only want to visit if I could stay in the Brotherhood compound:) I do like the Night Huntress series too!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

  15. Dawn! You know I love Mercy and Harry above all things UF! LOL As I type that…I notice a Mercy quote on the right side of the screen. *melt*

    Linda, I would race dragons with you in a heartbeat. 😉

    Infinitieh, what could go wrong indeed. LOL

    Sizzle, I snapped up the Iron Druid books too. I like Atticus. Oberon is fantastic. There’s such a great cast of secondaries in that series.

    bn100, IAD is my favorite PNR series running. Totally agree with you there.

    Love, love, love Demonica, Alex!

    I bought the first Kate Daniels book, Daniela. Now I need to make time to read it!

    Cool, Pam. I haven’t read any Judy Mays. Once planet on my to-visit list is Robin Owens’s Celta. 🙂

    Hi *yadkny*. I hear you! Who wouldn’t want to hang with the brothers in their compound. *happy sigh*

  16. Chelsea B. says:

    I absolutely *love* Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dars, Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld, Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love at Stake and Cindy Miles Highlanders! I think I would want to visit Kerrelyn Sparks’ world most, because there is so much going on there for vampires and other supernatural cratures! It would be very cool, especially if I got to be a supernatural crature in that world 🙂

    justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  18. Being ga-ga over vampires, I am always checking out different series. I enjoy the paranormal worlds created by JR Ward, Alexandra Ivy, Jeaniene Frost, Tim O’Rourke and Larissa Ione. Once you read a well constructed story line, you feel comfortable each time you open a new book and smile because you know where you are going. Occasionally they will add a new element to tease,anger or challenge you/ their characters. Creators need to create. I would love to see the compound and the cave of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
    b.juanita@gmail.com

  19. I’d like the chance to visit Antarctica. Maybe not the best place for vampires, but I want to go anyway.

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