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Blog Hop: Irresistible World Building!

Today I’m celebrating the release of Janeen Ippolito’s latest world building resource, Irresistible World Building For Unforgettable Stories: A Creative Writing Guide For World Building That Sells. World building is one of my favorite parts of writing, and in honor of this awesome new release, I’m going to share a glimpse into the world of my Star-Fae novels!

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Name your spec fic subgenre!

Epic fantasy mashups! The Star-Fae Trilogy is a fusion of epic fantasy and steampunk, plus a large splash of whatever I want. 😉

Why this subgenre? What makes it awesome?

Epic fantasy has a special place in my heart because of the vast stories and worlds, intricate world building, and high stakes. That said, I love a wide variety of speculative subgenres, and I get bored when trying to stick too strictly to a single category. Epic and high fantasy are the foundation of most of my stories and worlds, but I also weave in elements of steampunk, science fiction, superhero stories, and older folk tales and balladry. The fun thing about epic fantasy is that it’s easy to fuse it with other genres in new, creative ways!

What is fresh and different about your world building that hasn’t been done before?

The world of the Star-Fae Trilogy combines ancient Celtic fae mythology with modern speculative fiction tropes and concepts. There’s also a mix of magic, alchemy, and technology, which makes for some unique conflicts and situations.

What universal feelings do you explore in your world building—and why?

Love, friendship, and unconventional family. Embracing your true destiny and finding your place in a confusing world.

What cool superpowers does your character have related to your world building?

Thanks to her mixed fae/human heritage, Sylvie has a double set of superpowers. She has soul-sense, an hereditary ability in some humans that enables them to do alchemy. She also has fae magic, although it manifests in unpredictable ways…much to her chagrin! While most fae have convenient powers like illusion-casting, shape-shifting, or elemental manipulation, Sylvie suddenly gains dragonfly wings, plus a few other abilities that may or may not be useful and that refuse to work on cue.

Tell us about an aspect of your world that causes problems for your characters. Any dangerous weather patterns or geographical complications?

Faerie is a treacherous place! Tunnels that change locations, pools that burst into flame if you touch them, swamps that don’t want you to escape—you name it. If you travel it with someone who knows the lay of the land, you might be okay, but many hapless mortals have wandered into Faerie and never been heard from again.

Are there any cultural or racial tensions? What are they?

Quite a few. Fae and humans have very different cultural values, and they aren’t fond of each other. The different fae clans don’t always care for each other, either—the Solasa and Dulahna are assumed to be evil because of their past abuses of power, pookas (horse shifters) and the Wild Hunt (hound and wildcat shifters) are often seen as uncultured rednecks, and so on. All of these tensions play into the story.

How is your character special/significant in your world building? Note that this doesn’t have to be a good kind of special!

Sylvie is significant in the world building because SPOILERS!! Seriously – can’t share too much, but she’s the latest link in an ancient, magical legacy, and the Fate of the world depends on her. No pressure or anything. 😉

What was the first thing that inspired your world building?

The world-building (and story concept) for Halayda began with a dream in which someone got dragonfly wings as the result of a mad science experiment. That opened up a bunch of questions: what kind of science (or magic, perhaps) would give someone dragonfly wings? Do the wings have any special significance? Why did THIS particular person get dragonfly wings when no one else did? The story started to fall into place from there!

Name at least two aspects of your world building that you want in the Real World RIGHT NOW?

The ability to create alchemical potions! Especially the ones for healing and unlimited energy. Also, I want a storm dragon. Just sayin’.

What are two aspects of your world building that you never want to see in the Real World?

Fate threads, and the fact that certain powerful people are capable of messing with them. I love playing around with destiny in fiction, but I’m glad those things can’t actually happen.

What is your favorite made-up creature from your world?

The storm dragon!! Sirugan is ancient, made entirely of rain and storm clouds, and has an unshakeable sense of fairness. He’s also really good at counting for some reason. He showed up, unplanned, while I was drafting Halayda, and now he’s found a way to appear in Rothana as well. I’m not complaining. 😉

If you could fix anything about your world building (something that is broken “on purpose” for plot reasons), what would it be?

I’d fix Fate so the characters’ lives wouldn’t be screwed up and they could just be who and what they were meant to be! But, since I’m a terrible person and actually want to have a plot to write, Fate gets to be tied up in knots for a while!

 

I had the privilege of receiving an ARC of Irresistible World Building, and it’s a fantastic resource if you’re a writer who wants to create worlds that will linger in readers’ minds. Check it out below!

Irresistible World Building Cover

Write stories with worlds that create lifelong fans and fandoms!

Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories contains key methods and tips on how to weave your world building into every aspect of your story, from theme to plot to character arcs.

-Use writing prompts and exercises to jumpstart your creativity
-Get ideas on how to refresh world building genre tropes while still hitting reader sweet spots
-Learn to embrace your inner geek and passions to connect your world building with readers

Vivid world building is great. Vivid world building that sells? Even better!

Find the book here:
Amazon
Goodreads

About the author:
Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes urban fantasy and steampunk. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. She believes that words transform worlds and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com

Find Janeen online here:
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Windswept is live!

My new fantasy romance novelette is now available!

Windswept Cover

Princess Zhenya is in love with the rain.

Heir to a century-old curse, she spends her life in royal captivity lest she be carried away by the wind. Her one solace is Yori, the handsome storm wraith who comes to her window on rainy nights. But he can never be part of her constrained palace life, where she must tread cautiously and follow the rules.

On the eve of an arranged marriage, she makes a fateful choice that sets the curse in motion. But the wind she fears may hold the key to her freedom. Hounded by vengeful wraiths, Zhenya must risk her soul and uncover the truth about the curse.

Or else she may become the very terror she flees.

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How My Characters Change My Life

My characters have a lot of opinions.

They’re very talkative, even outside of the confines of their own stories. They like to hang out in my brainspace and make snarky commentary while I write. They make friends with characters from other stories, and sometimes even with my friends’ characters. They often start talking in my mind as I process life, commenting on little things that resonate with them or that connect with their stories and worlds.

Most of all, they speak up if they don’t like what I’m doing with their stories. Writing for them means I have to listen to them, and it’s often a growing experience. Here are a few ways in which my characters challenge me as both a writer and a person.

Fictional Characters

1) My characters challenge my own priorities and perceptions of the world.

It took me months to nail down Sylvie’s ultimate goal in the Star-Fae Trilogy. I kept trying to give her a goal that resonated with me: saving the world, becoming a competent leader, something along those lines. Sylvie didn’t respond to any of my ideas, and I finally had to admit something:

Sylvie’s deepest dream is to have a family, including a traditional-looking marriage and ALL the children.

What?? My personal sensibilities did not know what to do with that. But Sylvie wouldn’t budge until I reworked my plans for the trilogy in order to give her what she wanted. Granted, I’m still having fun finding unconventional ways to make her dreams come true, and she’ll have to save the world before she can have the life she wants. Ultimately, though, I had to set aside what I thought my protagonist should want, and instead acknowledge and value what she really desired.

2) My characters force me to see new angles and possibilities.

My first draft of Halayda was tight. Super tight. There wasn’t a single extraneous scene, because everything fit together just. That. Well.

Until a character appeared out of nowhere and demanded a major role in the story.

Diza wasn’t in the first draft, but once she showed up and set her sights on Zad (as a husband) and Taylan (as a friend), there was no stopping her. Zad insisted too, and he completely blew off the love interest I was originally planning to set him up with. But just because Diza immediately saw a place for herself in the story didn’t mean I did. Working Diza into the story in a way that was satisfying, well-integrated, and true to her personality required me to rethink the role of each major character (including much of Taylan’s journey), figure out a lot more world-building (like the fact that Kyure is part of a vast multiverse. Who knew?), and delve more deeply into the villain’s backstory and motivations (more on this in book 2!).

It was a frustrating process. There were times when I resented having to pry apart my tight draft in order to work in new storylines. In the end, though, it made for a much richer, deeper story. And all because one character wouldn’t shut up.

3) My characters keep me humble.

While drafting Halayda, I’d planned a scenario in which Taylan was supposed to hunt down his traitorous general and deal with him. Just one problem: Sylvie had been captured in the previous chapter. Taylan informed me, in colorful language, that he would not deal with any other threat or follow any subplot until Sylvie was safe again.

Taylan
This is Taylan’s face when he is judging my plot.

I told him he should go along with the plan for the sake of the plot.

He said my plot was dumb.

In the end, I had to admit he was right. I couldn’t make Taylan do something that was out of character, even if it served the plot or made sense to me. I reworked the last quarter of the book’s outline because of the critique of a person who doesn’t exist in a conventional sense, and it was worth it. The ending wouldn’t have been nearly as strong if I’d gone with my first plan.

I don’t have a label for my relationship with my characters, because it takes many forms. They’re friends who keep me company on long, lonely drives and fill the silence when I can’t fall asleep at night. They’re reflections of me, often in enlightening and unflattering ways. They’re grown-up children who challenge the way I raised them. They’re mentors who give me insights into the world and human nature. I’m grateful to have them in my head… even when they don’t know when to hold their tongues. 😉

Do you have fictional characters who share your brainspace? How do you interact with them, and what role do they play in your life?

Halayda Cover Reveal!

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A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.

Coming March 23 from Uncommon Universes Press!

PREORDER EBOOK ON AMAZON

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