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- author Jackie French

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Guest Post: Avril Sabine on World Building By Committee

Normally when I start a book, I tend to research, create characters and do world building as I need it. 

For Rosie's Rangers I wanted to create the world before I started writing the series. I had ideas for various novels in the series and even a few ideas about some of the characters, but that wasn't what I focused on. 

I wanted to know the history of the world, the way the different countries interacted with each other, what sort of technology they had and all about their societies. I wanted to know about their animals, their plants and their environment. That way, when I started to write my series there would be a completely formed world to drop my characters into. A world that would in part dictate what was possible and what resources would be available to my characters when they solved each problem they encountered.

Knowing how much fun my boys have creating Dungeon and Dragons worlds to play in, I invited them to help me create a steampunk world with a western flavour. They jumped at the chance and we spent hours coming up with all kinds of ideas. It was a lot of fun. One of us would suggest something and another would add to it. When it came to things such as wars between countries, I was adamant that there had to be reasons. At times my boys surprised me with their insightful suggestions and it was great having differing opinions to help flesh out the world and make it more realistic. After all, in any world there is more than one viewpoint.

There were times when their suggestions had me saying 'ewww', but I let their ideas stand or built on them to create a world with greater depth. It reached a point where they decided they'd love to make a computer game from Rosie's Rangers and there was good natured arguing over whose world it was when any of us differed on what we thought should happen with the world. The rule became that if it was logical, there was a reason for it and it fit with the rest of the world, it stayed. 

It will be some time before my boys create a computer game based on Rosie's Rangers as one or both of them need to learn how to make games or find someone who can. In the meantime they keep coming up with ideas for games while I come up with ideas for stories set in Rosie's world.

Creating a world by committee, for one of my stories, was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Overall it was an experience I would repeat, as long as it was with the right people. Which I think is important. The other considerations, when choosing to create a world in this way, is to know what type of world you wish to build, have some ground rules to prevent serious arguing and decide on what aspects need to be created. 

Some of the things we looked at were climate, terrain, literature, currency, education, weapons, transport, medicine, magic, alchemy, politics and entertainment. 

There is a lot to be said about having a world you know as well as the place where you live. But then again I also enjoy writing stories set in worlds that I discover while I write about them.

Avril Sabine is an Australian author who writes mostly young adult and children's speculative fiction. She has been writing since she was a young child and wanted to be an author the moment she realised someone wrote the books she loved to read. Avril is the author of more than fifty books, including Rosie's Rangers series, Dragon Blood series, Realms Of The Fae series, Elf Sight and The Irish Wizard.

Visit her unique worlds and discover the critters that inhabit them at: www.brokengatepublishing.com