Inconceivable – definition: not conceivable; unimaginable; unthinkable
Writers have the ability to make the unimaginable reality in their narratives. There are no barriers, no limits to what a writer can create. Distant worlds, alternative realities and curious creatures are brought to life for the reader.
It may seem rather ‘easy’ to create a whole new world, but in actual fact there are numerous hurdles you have to jump. Fantasy readers, in particular, are extremely meticulous in ensuring consistency in a fantasy work and the ‘laws’ of the land therein.
This Q&A page is a great way to find out if your creation will stand up to their scrutiny.
Of course world building is not restricted to fantasy. If you are setting your narrative in a particular time period you must ensure everything your characters use and interact with, are from that era. A 1940’s housewife will not have the luxury of a microwave oven, for example. However, when you have time travel within your story greater detail is required to ensure each era is true to its original. This not only gives the reader clues as to where and when your characters are but also gives your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Unless of course you have a time traveler visiting!
With attention to detail and solid back story, every narrative can be believable no matter how fantastical the characters, creatures or situations. Most of us ‘believe’ in Hobbits, Harry Potter and the like because the narratives are so strong in the basics of world building.
I have used reincarnation (The Twesome Loop), an alternative future (life in Slake Patch) and magical creatures (Ockleberries to the Rescue) in some of my novels. If you can imagine the inconceivable – you can write it.
May I introduce N.M. Pondus, who wishes to keep his anonymity with an icon instead of a photo. His work is influenced by mythology and the standards of those era’s, which links to today’s word quite nicely. Probity – definition: honesty, uprightness.
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? I definitely like my main character, Diomedes, the best. He was the inspiration for all my stories so far. I’ve always been a mythology and folklore nut and loved the heroes from Homer’s Odyssey, but we only hear about a few of them. The more I read and did research, the more I kept coming back to Diomedes, Son of Tydeus and King of Argos during the Trojan War. Most people never get beyond Achilles, but much more humble and just as capable was Diomedes, who, according to the stories was far more feared on the battlefield than any other Greek in the war. In fact, he is the only human ever to have wounded, not one, but two Immortals in battle—including Ares. He was fearless, and more importantly, incredibly intelligent on the battlefield, and he was the best fighter out there. He was also honorable and loyal.
Diomedes and Athena attacking Ares (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
His back story is awesome, too. At 15, he and a group of young men lead an army to restore the proper king to the throne of Thebes in the War of the Epigoni, the greatest war until Troy. They did what their fathers could not and it cemented his legacy. The coolest part of his story and the one that played best into the mythology of my stories is that he was so honorable in battle that Athena chose him as her champion at Troy and she granted him special abilities and powers to enable him to see and attack Immortals during battle. At the end of the war, Athena offered Diomedes immortality, but nothing is written much beyond some conflicting stories except he simply disappears over time. That was my cue: A human with the abilities to recognize non-human beings influencing and using humans for their own gains and strong enough to defend them. He’s also got a bit of me in him, too.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? No, I’m pretty much Urban Fantasy all the way. I love to read all kinds of stuff, but I still head there first when I look for something to read. I love the myths and tales, but I also find great inspiration from our modern, real world.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing? I love weaving a story and developing characters. I really like those times when I’m doing research and I find things that seem unrelated at first, but then figure out some way to tie them together. I seriously enjoy using mythological reasons to explain unexplained real world events. And developing characters allows you to live outside of yourself for a bit. It’s all fun.
d) Have you got a favorite place to write? You know I still write on a desktop-based computer so I write in my “office.” It’s actually a spare bedroom with a desk in it. I will say that I use my iPad to do all kinds of research though, which I will do when and wherever an idea strikes me.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? The basic story line and framework is planned, but most of the details are seat of the pants. I know where I want to go, but not necessarily how I want to get there. Again, I do lots and lots of research on stuff, so I constantly get ideas that I want to incorporate and sometimes a perfect opportunity presents itself as I’m writing. It keeps me thinking.
f) What inspires your stories? Partly my background and interests and partly pure imagination. Sometimes it’s more one than the other, but they all play a role. Originally, I was inspired by a crazy thought about creatures that could only be killed with specific weapons. Why wouldn’t a Barrett M107 firing Raufoss rounds not blow the living snot out of a vampire? It’d blow a hole through a cement wall at 1000 yards and still kill the guy on the other side of it. Simple physics would tell you that much energy would do some serious damage to anything, even if it didn’t kill it. Also, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to myths and legends. I like things in their original forms, mostly because they were so much cooler. Now we change things to romanticize them or make them fit into a specific world, and we insist on using the same name for the creature. I’m sorry, but vampires just should not sparkle in the sunlight. I’m really big into accuracy and authenticity.
g) What are you currently reading? A few books. I’m re-reading the Hobbit and I’ve been desperately trying to get through The Naked Edge by David Morrell. I’ve got a big list of books I want to read, but just haven’t yet though. I constantly re-read a lot of classics, too.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories? I am an odd childhood story. My parents considered me the “good” one in the family. That’s odd enough. Other than my addiction to fly-fishing, I can’t think of any really bizarre stuff. I once threw up on our pizza at a Pizza Hut when I was little. In my defense, I was sick. I threw up on my younger brother, too. He slept below me in offset bunk beds.
i) Do you have any pets? Always. Right now, I have a cat and a dog. The dog is a Shiba Inu named Typhon that thinks he’s a Cu Sith. The cat is named Nyx. See, lots of mythology there… and each aptly named.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? You know, I don’t. Writing to me is very private and painful at times and I choose to push through on my own. I have a small group of friends and family that support me and act as my Beta readers and I have an outstanding editor.k) What age did you start writing stories/poems? Technically, not until my late 30s. I wrote academically for scientific journals for years through graduate school and then for magazines, but I never wrote fiction until recently. As a kid, I used to come up with all kinds of stories in my head though.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it? Alas, not yet. I’m still in that search-for-a-publisher/agent phase, even though I’m just wrapping up my second story. You can still go to my website and read the first few chapters of the first book, Humanity’s Fist and see a description of the one I’m just finishing now, The Hanner Brid.
m) If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why? I guess I would say Jim Butcher, author of Dresden Files series. His stories have been a major influence on me and he sounds much more fun and less uptight than so many other authors out there.
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? Anywhere my wife is… but someplace warm, near water would be good, too.
o) What’s your favorite movie of all time? Oh, holy mackerel… a toss up between The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Jaws, The Count of Monte Cristo (the newer one), and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Of course! And even the one after that. I get so many ideas from so many weird places that I now keep track of them. It’ll stay in my same story line, with the same characters, just different problems and issues. The real world provides so much fodder for Urban Fantasy its almost unreal!
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? Easy–my wife. I’d never have been able to do this if not for her support and encouragement.