Posted in books, creative writing, paranormal, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Setting: Creating Unique Settings

Writers can use worldbuilding techniques to create unique settings.

Start With the Basics

There are several important aspects of setting to consider:

  • Layout and geography
  • What lies beyond the immediate setting
  • Politics, laws, and governing system
  • Culture and traditions
  • Weather
  • Local plants and animals
  • Jobs, economy, imports/exports
  • History, enemies, and allies
  • Folklore, urban legends, etc.
  • Details only locals would know
  • The hero’s feelings and opinions about the place

All of these elements will affect a character’s views, way of thinking, actions, choices, and lifestyle and may affect the path of a storyline.

One you have at least one item for each element in the list, consider how each one might affect the character or story, and whether that effect is beneficial and moves the story forward or if it simply adds another layer of richness.

These elements can be integrated into a setting as minor or major elements, depending on what the scene needs. Folklore may be relevant in a non-realistic storyline out a child who’s gone missing under mysterious circumstances, but only mentioned in passing in a realistic setting where adults reminisce about childhood fears. A mixture of major and minor elements give a setting depth and uniqueness.

Develop the Details

Details make the difference in worldbuilding, whether high fantasy or the corner coffee shop. The level of detail often depends on the genre. Unless the color of every mug in a coffee shop is relevant to the story, leave it out.

Developing an intricate system of magical spell-creation ot introducing a non-realistic world readers are not familiar with requires a higher level of detail so the reader can understand the process or place.

Details MUST be relevant, no matter the genre.

Let’s use food as an example to see how something relatively simple and easy to overlook can be an important detail in providing information about a character through setting.

What characters eat can indicate location, such as putting coleslaw on pulled pork sandwiches, which is common in the south but a strange combination in the southwest United States.). Food can reveal income, such as a character having a cupboard full of Ramen noodle packets or a collection of delicious wines in a built in wine fridge. Food could also inform the reader about personality quirks. If all the food in a character’s fridge is yellow, the reader will start considering why.

Irrelevant details have the potential of confusing readers because they cause them to look for hints or twists where there aren’t any. These can later appear to be plot holes or sloppy writing. Remember the advice that if you mention a gun in scene 1, it better be fired by someone by the end of the story!

Add Layers

Once you have the foundation of your setting and world and are starting to add details, do so in logical layers.

Consider a real-world worldbuilding example: Choose the city relevant to the story line>choose a professional that makes sense for the location and character>choose a neighborhood with access to amenities that will help progress the story>choose frequently visited locations that provide opportunities for conversations, action, or conflict>develop hobbies that allow for character growth>etc.

Now consider a paranormal worldbuilding example: Choose a mythology base>tweak the base to suit major plot points>develop main powers/beasts that provide conflict between two or more groups>develop rules for powers/beasts that keep winning from being too easy>develop goals for each opposing group>develop individual goals that clash with others’ goals of the group’s goals>develop individual power/beast uniqueness that needs to develop> etc.

In every genre there is a logical progression to worldbuilding and every element added should impact the characters and story in a meaningful way

Posted in paranormal, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Setting: Worldbuilding

Fictional settings, whether modern-real world, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, or paranormal, require some level of worldbuilding.

Setting should transport the reader to a particular location and not feel like it could have taken place anywhere. To accomplish that, some level of worldbuilding is needed in every story.

Worldbuilding is creating a fictional world that still feels realistic.

Details make all the difference in worldbuilding and keep a setting from feeling generic. Worldbuilding should highlight unique and quirky elements and integrate them into the storyline and character profiles.

The amount of worldbuilding needed depends on genre.

Realistic, Modern Settings

While these types of settings typically require the least amount of large-scale worldbuilding because readers are familiar with the rules and concepts of the world, it is still needed on a small scale.

Consider the mini-worlds within a setting, such as the culture of an apartment building or workplace or neighborhood. Each of these settings will have specific rules that guide interactions, a history that has helped develop its culture, an atmosphere linked to the people and culture, and a character developed by its physical components.

Each worldbuilding element will then interact with the characters and story, such as the tone of an office making a character feel either welcome and inspired or fearful and anxious. Address pertinent elements in description and exposition, or use dialogue between the characters to share thoughts and opinions on the mini-world and how it affects the characters.

Don’t expect characters to automatically understand a setting just because it exists in the modern world. James Pietragallo, co-host of Small Town Murder, mentioned on a podcast episode that he couldn’t get into the TV series “The Office” because he had never worked in an office and didn’t get the culture.

Historical Settings

Historical settings require a great deal of research, because historical fiction readers will catch mistakes and be put off by them. Research should be conducted on two levels, at least: era-accuracy to get historical facts correct and daily-living accuracy get the small details right.

The most obvious elements to be researched for a historical setting are elements, such as clothing, socio-political events and impacts, transportation, and technology. Many of these elements are affected by less-obvious research areas, such as available social services, laws regarding various aspects of life, how the justice system functioned, healthcare and knowledge of diseases and treatments, and similar topics.

Before developing a story line, consider how the time period will effect the events your characters will engage in. Female business owners were uncommon prior to the 1900s in many countries, and even then the types of businesses women would own were often limited. If a female business owner married, business ownership could transfer to her husband in many situations, which could make a woman think twice about marrying. Make sure your storyline will actually work in the time period you’ve chosen by doing thorough research.

Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Settings

Non-realistic settings offer the greatest opportunities for worldbuilding, demanding creativity and organization. Whether working with futuristic machines, dark creatures, or mythological beings, it is important to develop an organized and functional world for them to inhabit.

Research is an important worldbuilding technique for these types of worlds, but it is only one component. Depending on how closely you plant o follow establish science, mythology, or folklore about worlds and beings in a setting, research needed may vary. Even if you plan to vary from what is already established, it’s a good idea to start at common ground so readers have some familiarity before introducing new or different elements.

The second component of non-realistic worldbuilding involves development or rules and structures. Even though these types of stories do not exist in the “real world,” they still need to be realistic enough that the reader can understand how it operates and by what rules characters make decisions or interact. Rules should provide organization to the world and allow readers to make judgments and have expectations about character actions and choices or what may or way now happen. Once rules and structures are developed, they should be followed in order to avoid confusing or frustrating the reader.

Along with creating a non-realistic world that makes sense to the reader, the same types of worldbuilding techniques needed in realistic settings should also be applied in order to develop the necessary mini-worlds of community or neighborhood.

Posted in books, creative writing, ebooks, new release, paranormal, reading

Excerpt: The Children of the Seventh Son by @ScottTheWriter

The Children of the Seventh Son

Excerpt: A riot in Constantinople

By Scott Bury

Andrina returned to the inner courtyard then, carrying a large bundle in one hand and dragging something else behind her in the other. It scraped along the stone floor, adding an irritating note to the clamour from beyond the villa’s walls. “Papa!” she panted, before dropping her burdens with a clamour.

Javor knelt in front of her. “Your armour, Papa,” she panted. She held his steel helmet in the crook of her arm. The bundle was his lamellar cuirass, greaves and arm protectors. But she had not brought several other essential items.

It must have taken all her strength to carry it here.

“Mauricius!” Javor called, loosening his great-grandfather’s dagger in the scabbard he always wore on his side. “Take care of Andrina.”

“I want to help you, papa,” Andrina said before Mauricius swept her into his arms and passed her to one of the slaves he had brought. She struggled until she slipped out of the slave’s arms.

Javor put his hand on her shoulder. “You can help me by staying here with the others and showing them how to be brave. Adam,” he called to his oldest son, “you help your mother stay calm.” Adam nodded and went to Calanthe, who had collapsed back onto her couch. He hugged her and wriggled to find a place to sit on her lap.

Javor picked up his helmet and the armour that his daughter had dragged in and nodded at Gaetan, who followed him to his study in the very centre of the domus. There, he quickly took out the rest of his armour. He pulled on the felt cap that went between his head and the helmet. Gaetan, flinching at every sound from the front gate, helped him with the cuirass and arm braces, then held his long sword as Javor fastened his greaves.

Taking the sheathed sword in his left hand, Javor strode down the corridor to the front courtyard. He took a firm stance in front of the little lemon tree as the pressure on the gate splintered the thick board that, held in place by iron brackets, formed a secure lock.

With a final sickening crack, the gate burst open. A group of young men in ragged tunics, shock on their faces, stood just beyond it.

“Rich man,” said the one in front. He grinned, a gap black in his teeth. He had thick black hair and blood on his cheek, dully illuminated by a flaming torch held by the young man beside him.

“I do not want to kill any of you,” Javor announced in a firm, steady voice. “But if you take one more step, I will.” He drew the long sword with a ringing sound. Under his shirt, Preyatel’s vibration decreased to a dull tickle against his chest.

The gap-toothed man stepped inside, grinning. He raised a heavy wooden club. “There are many of us, rich man,” he said, and spat at Javor’s feet. “Let us take what we want and maybe we will not kill you.” The other men behind him stepped closer, too, but not as far as their leader.

The lead man’s eyes flicked to a vase with gold leaf on its edges, sitting in a little alcove on the wall. “Take that,” he said, and a thin teenaged boy behind him ran up and grabbed it. “What are you going to do about that, rich man?” the leader teased.

Javor moved his right foot behind him, presenting a narrow target to the mob. He scanned them. A number held blazing torches, others pikes, heavy clubs or knives. None of them looked like former legionnaires.

What does a former legionnaire look like?

Shut up, brain.

The leader barked a laugh. “I knew it. Didn’t I tell you, boys? These rich men have no balls. That’s why I father all their children!” Behind him, some of the others laughed.

“Take the vase,” Javor said. “Go home. No one else needs to die tonight.”

The leader laughed, and the followers behind him echoed.

Javor stepped closer. If he leaned forward, he could sever the leader’s head. “One warning. You cannot harm me.” Preyatel thrummed against his chest in agreement. “But I can hurt you. If I have to, I will kill you. But I do not want to.”

The leader laughed again. Preyatel leaped under Javor’s shirt, hot as the torch in the hand of the man beside the leader.

Fast as flame, the leader swung his club at Javor’s head. But faster was Javor’s sword into the man’s neck. His amulet vibrated, filling his head with a keening song. Blood spurted, covering Javor’s face and cuirass. Before he could control it, his sword found its way into two of the men with torches. It sang a death song as Javor followed, dancing into the mob, led by the blade and the amulet’s direction.

When he halted in the middle of the street, the mob streamed away down the side alleys. Javor drew his breath slowly, calmly, his sword comfortable in his grip. Light from two sputtering torches on the cobblestones illuminated one side of a single face, trembling before him. Overhead, the moon filtered through smoke.

“Please,” said the half-face. The cheek below the wide eye glistened wetly.

“Go. Tell the others,” Javor said, shaking his sword.

The eye blinked, then vanished. Javor heard slapping footfalls fade into the distance.

About this book

The Children of the Seventh Son is the second novel in the Dark Age series, which began with The Bones of the Earth.

The year 600 of the Christian Era is the darkest time of the Dark Age. Young Javor the Sklavene has settled in Constantinople, the last bastion of civilization against dark forces that have shattered the Western Roman Empire.

Wielding two special weapons made from the Bones of the Earth, Javor has become the favourite monster-killer of the secret Gnostic Order. As his young family grows, he is sent to distant, exotic lands to eliminate threats and learn more about why the earth is intent on destroying humanity.

Every mission seems to bring more questions than answers—until he finds the greatest danger comes not from forces from beneath the surface of the world, but from the very civilization he has been defending.

Pre-order now from Amazon for just 99 cents US.

Read more about The Dark Age series.

Read reviews on Goodreads.

Follow the latest announcements about The Children of the Seventh Son and the Dark Age series on Scott’s blog.

About the author

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn RootsPalm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about Scott on his:

Posted in books, contemporary romance, ebooks, free book, giveaway, new adult, paranormal, romance, the arcane wielders series, the handbook series, what had to be done, ya fiction, young adult

Off to enjoy the holidays!

warm-and-cozy-1975215_1280

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and getting a little time off to spend with friends and family! I’m off most of the week to spend time with my hubby and kids, so no other blogs this week, but thank you to all my readers for your support!

If reading is in your holiday plans, I have a gift for all my readers! Grab a FREE copy of one of the books below on Smashwords using the promo code paired with each one.

What Had to be Done: ZN49G

WHTBD front

The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook: BX93D

Oblivious Girls Handbook

Life & Being: NA84Z

Life and Being

Posted in books, new adult, new release, paranormal, romance, the ghost host

Release Day! The Ghost Host: Episode 2 #kindle #kindleunlimited #paranormal

The next installment of The Ghost Host is here just in time for the holidays!

The Ghost Host

Episode 2

tgh2-front

It’s bad enough that Echo already has ghosts haunting her 24/7, now her past mistakes want to join the fun and come back to haunt her, too?

Moving to Georgia was supposed to be a fresh start. So far, it’s turned out to be a fresh start at more chaos. After battling Devourers for the soul of her childhood friend, Echo learns the depth of what her abilities might cost her. She’s always been pretty good at failure, which is concerning when the fate of the spiritual world is suddenly in your hands.

If that isn’t enough pressure already, Echo’s personal life is a mess. She and Malachi are both freaked out by her ability to control him and have no idea whether their relationship was ever based on more than their bond as Medium and Keeper. Kyran is keeping his distance from both of them to keep from doing something stupid, things are still tense with her parents, college is proving more than she bargained for, Agent Morton is doubting her stability and brings in his son Griffin to help keep her grounded-which only causes more problems between her and pretty much everyone, and Echo gets pulled into her first case: a young boy whose mysterious injuries and claims of monsters in his dreams has everyone baffled and terrified of what it might mean if he isn’t lying.

Oh yeah, and a past mistake Echo thought had already been dealt with is back to settle a score. It can’t get much worse than that, right? Except, for Echo, things can always get worse.

Buy now for $0.99 or read FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Button

 

Posted in books, dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, romance, ya fantasy, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy

Secrets and Shadows Box Set is here!

Are you ready?

ss-17The Secrets and Shadows Boxed Set is a compilation of TEN not to be missed Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction full-length novels that will have you turning the pages faster than ever before.
Packed with fairies, witches, shifters, ghosts, space soldiers, aliens, deadly magic, gritty dystopian worlds, complicated relationships, and the ultimate swoon worthy love interests, follow ten badass heroines with remarkable powers and gifts as they face extraordinary challenges and decisions with potentially deadly consequences. They will stop at nothing to protect everyone and everything they love. They are fierce!
With over a million words and more than 700 combined four and five star reviews, this is your ultimate young adult collection of mesmerizing paranormal, action-packed urban fantasy, enthralling time travel, gripping dystopian and captivating space operas from 10 Award Winning, New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors!
Check out this epic line up and secure your Limited Edition copy today!

The Ghost Host – DelSheree Gladden
Everyone thinks Echo Simmons is crazy, but being The Ghost Host isn’t just a YouTube hoax like people think. It’s the only way to control the ghosts haunting her…at least until the FBI shows up asking questions.

Waken – Angela Fristoe
The people of Everod have been waiting for Janie and if she hopes to survive she’ll need to confront who and what she really is.

The Midnight Society – Rhonda Sermon
Witness protection has a protocol for every threat – except magic.ss-3d-box-set

The Other F Word – Susan Stec
Even with wings you can’t fly away from fate.

Chosen – Laxmi Hariharan
His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind.

Sunset Empire – Melissa Eskue Ousley
She may be guilty of arson, but she didn’t kill the burned girl haunting her.
When Elyse is haunted by vengeful ghost lurking in the tunnels under Astoria, she discovers her family may be responsible for a fire that nearly destroyed the city, as well as mysterious disappearances spanning hundreds of years. Helping her uncover the truth is Phantom, a boy with a hidden weapon and a dark heritage of his own, that could turn him from friend to hunter.

The Retreat – Kelly St. Clare
Earth was ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

Swords & Stilettos – Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Seventeen-year-old Zoe must devise a kickass plan to thwart evil or watch the world burn.

Saven Deception – Siobhan Davis
The truth doesn’t always set you free…
In a futuristic undersea city, Sadie falls hard for captivating Logan – only to discover he comes from another world! Romance and intrigue combine in this addictive page-turner.

Talented – Sophie Davis
As an exceptionally powerful mental manipulator, seventeen-year-old Talia Lyons can read and control the thoughts of others. In Talented, the first book of her epic story, Talia inhabits a pounding, siren-ready world as she trains to become a highly specialized covert operative.

Buy now for $0.99 or read for #FREE on #KindleUnlimited

Amazon Button

ss-16

Posted in dystopian, escaping fate, fantasy, free book, invisible, paranormal, twin souls, wicked hunger, young adult

Free Books Anyone?

We’re coming up on summer, let’s get to reading! 

I’ll be sharing my official summer reading list recommendations in the next few weeks (There are some awesome books on it!), but until then, you’re more than welcome to grab one of these FREEBIES and share them with your friends. All of them. Seriously. 

Not sure where to get them? 
Well, here are the links!

Invisible

(working on Kindle, they’re slow. Right now it’s only .99)

Inquest

Escaping Fate

Wattpad (full book will be up this month)

Wicked Hunger

Twin Souls

Happy reading everyone!

Posted in free book, giveaway, invisible, meet the characters blogfest, new adult, paranormal, romance

Meet the Characters Kickoff!

Welcome to the Meet the Characters Blogfest!

Readers, get ready for a whole month of some of the most interesting, hottest, attention grabbing characters in today’s YA, NA, Romance, Horror, and Paranormal fiction! 

All month long I’ll be introducing readers to amazing characters through character bios, artwork, interviews, and contests. Check out the schedule below from what you’ll find each day this month. 

That’s Not All…

We’ll be having some fabulous contests, each of which has it’s own giveaway. Readers will get to vote on the characters, and one lucky voter in each contest will win a copy of the book the Winning Character comes from. The character giveaways will include: 

Hottest Guy Contest (10/4)
Feistiest Girl Contest (10/11)
Cutest Couple Contest (10/18)
Steamiest Couple Contest (10/25)

There will also be one MAIN GIVEAWAY starting today where 1 LUCKY WINNER will win a prize pack of 40 books from some of today’s hottest new authors. Additional winners will be chosen to receive runner-up prize packs as well. Scroll down and enter below! 

SO, WHAT CAN YOU FIND EACH DAY?

10/2 — Character interviews with Zadie Stonebrook (My Sister’s Reaper – Dorothy                      Dreyer), Tizzy Donovan (Laid out and Candle Lit – Ann Everett), Kristi Becker (A              Plain Wish – Cyndi Lord), Zander Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden), 
10/3 — Character Bios from Kristi Becker (A Plain Wish – Cyndi Lord), Bryan Sullivan                    (Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi Lea Ryan), Brandon James (Love and Other Games – Aria                  Kane
10/4Hottest Guy Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)

10/7 — Character Surprise Posts from authors RH Ramsey and DelSheree Gladden
10/8 — Character Artwork from The Other F Word (Susan Stec) and Wicked Hunger                    (DelSheree Gladden), The Grateful Undead (Susan Stec)
10/9 — Character interviews with Kate Everett (A Slight Change of Plan – Dee Ernst),                  Jean (In Polester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty), Ben (Twenty-Five – Rachel                    Hamm), Vanessa Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/10 — Character Bios from Kassia (Ice Magic), Maze (The Ballerina and the Fighter –                    Ursula Sinclair), Lucien (Smoke, Wings, and Stone – Marijon Bradley)
10/11Feistiest Girl Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)

10/14 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Kara Leigh Miller, Sharon Kleve, Linda                  Budzinski 
10/15 — Character Artwork from On a Wing and a Dare (Linda Ulleseit), Invisible                            (DelSheree Gladden)
10/16 — Character interviews with David Corbin and Jon Reyes (Sign of the Throne –                    Melissa Eskue Ousley), Rosie (In Polyester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty),                        Ketchup (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/17 — Character Bios from Nadia (love and Other Games – Melinda Dozier), (Karin Rita                      Gastreich), (HL Carpenter)
10/18Cutest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)

10/21 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Stephanie Wardrop, Lucy Crowe, Ana                    Blaze
10/22 — Character Artwork from Haunting Joy (Lena Goldfinch) and The Destroyer                        Trilogy (DelSheree Gladden)
10/23 — Character interviews with Rachel Blackstone (The Reluctant Medium – GG                        Collins), Nell (The King Series – Tawdra Kandle), Arcadia ( Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi                  Lea Ryan), Olivia & Mason (Invisible – DelSheree Gladden)
10/24 — Character Bios from (Karin Rita Gastreich), Sam and Cole (Fate War: Alliance – EM                    Havens)
10/25Steamiest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)

10/28 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Susan Stec, Shauna Roberts, Lisa                          Cresswell
10/29 — Character Artwork from My Sister’s Reaper (Dorothy Dreyer), Twin Souls                            (DelSheree Gladden)
10/30 — Character interviews with Nathan Shaw (Reflection – Kim Cresswell), Nia (In the              Winds of Danger – Linda Ulleseit), Jayden or Marsh (dark Night of the Soul – EM                Havens)
10/31 — Winner’s Announcements!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in delsheree gladden, invisible, paranormal, romance, ya fantasy, ya fiction, ya paranormal, ya science fiction, ya urban fantasy

FAN MAIL!!

INVISIBLE is having a great time on Wattpad right now!

It’s up to just over 300,000 reads, which is awesome!

I’ve had so much fun getting to interact with the Wattpad readers and hearing what they think of Mason and Olivia’s story. What a great group of readers!

One of those fabulous readers, Jayne (Wattpad tag @TheLonelyDarkness) created this fan cover for INVISIBLE and I wanted to share it with every one!

If you want to check out INVISIBLE for yourself, stop by Wattpad today!

Invisible


Olivia’s best friend is not imaginary. He’s not a ghost, either. And she’s pretty sure he’s not a hallucination. He’s just Mason. He is, however, invisible. When Olivia spotted the crying little boy on her front porch at five years old, she had no idea she was the only one who could see him. Twelve years later when new-girl Robin bumps into the both of them and introduces herself to Mason, they are both stunned. Mason couldn’t be more pleased that someone else can see him. Olivia, on the other hand, isn’t jumping at the chance to welcome Robin into their circle. Jealousy may have something to do with that, but honest fear that Robin’s presence will put Mason in danger is soon validated when a strange black car begins showing up everywhere. The race to find out what Robin knows in time to protect Mason from whatever threats are coming becomes Olivia’s only focus. 
Posted in invisible, paranormal, romance, ya fantasy, ya fiction, ya science fiction, ya urban fantasy

FAN MAIL!!!

One of my current projects, INVISIBLE, is currently being featured on Wattpad

In the first week, INVISIBLE has received over 60,000 reads from the amazing Wattpad members and lots of great comments and messages. One of those fabulous comments was from BruisedDreams, who created this unique banner for Invisible. 

This is how BruisedDreams pictured Olivia and Mason at five years old when they first found each other…when Olivia spotted him crying on her front porch…when no one believed her that he was real because she was the only one that could see him. He wasn’t her imaginary friend, he was her best friend, and still is. 

I love the banner, BruisedDreams! Thank you so much!