Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year, Supernatural Undergrounders! Welcome to My Year of Wonderful Worldbuilding

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year, dear Supernatural Undergrounders. In a world that often seems increasingly troubled and beset, I hope we can all find a path through 2020 that sustains our hope, our creativity, and our wellbeing.

When set against the larger backdrop of world, national, and even community affairs, posts on a blog with a focus on fiction that makes our hearts beat faster, and books that go bump in the night, seems like pretty small beer.

On the other hand, sometimes finding our path through the world is about focusing on what we can do and then doing it as well, and with as much generosity, kindness, and love, as we can.

So I am resolved, since posting on the Supernatural Underground on the first of every month is part of what I do, to write the very best posts I can. I hope they'll also be fun to read and maybe even brighten the occasional dull day.
Put your feet up & read! ;-)

So Why Worldbuilding?

Last year, I decided to take a leaf from fellow Supernatural Underground (SU) author Amanda Arista's book and dedicate 2019 to a theme. Because the SU has its origins in paranormal urban fantasy, and paranormal urban romance in particular, dedicating the year to Romance in Fantasy Fiction seemed the natural and obvious choice.

Yet we've never been exclusively a romance or even paranormal urban community. We've had YA writers and historical fantasy, as well as epic (hand shoots up :-) ) and fairytale retellings.

The great thing about fantasy is that it's a broad and inclusive genre -- but one of the elements every part of the genre has in common is the vital importance of worldbuilding. This holds true regardless of whether we're building an alternate reality in this world, as many of our authors have done, e.g.
  • The Blood In The Beginning -- Kim Falconer
  • Diary Of An Urban Panther -- Amanda Arista
  • Lost Girls -- Merrie Destefano 
  • Fire and Bone -- Rachel A Marks
  • Where Oblivion Lives -- Teresa Frohock
  • Whistling Past The Graveyard -- Terri Garey
  • Of Blood and Honey -- Stina Leicht
Or alternatively, building a completely other world, as is the case with my The Wall Of Night series, Kim's Quantum Enchantment series (although that's also partially in this world), and Teresa's Miserere.

All of which makes shining the spotlight on wonderful worldbuilding in the Fantasy genre seem like the perfect and logical choice for 2020, and something we can all enjoy: me writing, you reading. :-) #AsItShouldBe

2020: Let's explore worlds...
Our Year Of Wonderful Worldbuilding 

In terms of how it will work, I think I'll approach it pretty much as I did last year, with the focus being on my favorites, i.e. a few of the many worlds that have spun my wheels over the years, and inspired me to emulate the author's worldbuilding excellence.

Conversely, what it definitely won't be is an effort to exhaustively chart worldbuilding exemplars of the genre -- because although that might be Very Worthy, I feel it world also quash the fun quotient. Besides being impossible to encompass in ten to eleven posts. #Just Sayin'

I will try to achieve some historical perspective, though, by switching between older and newer works as I did with romance. I'll also try and keep the range of fantasy encompassed broad, rather than just sticking to the one subgenre, like paranormal urban or epic.

But that all lies in the realm of February 1 and the first #YearOfWorldbuilding post. For the moment we're still in January 1, with 2020 an uncharted landscape before us. Let's be careful what path we track through it.

Take care, dear Supernatural Undergrounders, throughout 2020: Be kind to yourselves and others.


Helen Lowe is a teller of tales and purveyor of story, chiefly by way of novels and poetry. Her first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we.


Kim Falconer said...

I love the topic of world-building, Helen and am so glad you are going to explore it in 2020!

I'll be looking forward to each and every instalment.

And yes, so many worthy examples, starting with Wall of Night. It made me wonder, did the whole thing begin, in your mind, with that wall?

I'd love to hear about the initial brainstorm!

Thanks for a great post.

Helen Lowe said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for commenting, Kim. :)

I haven't yet decided the extent to which I'll discuss my books in this series, only having 11 slots for the year and with so many great books and worlds to visit out there!

In the meantime, I did pen a post away back in 2012 on Worldbuilding: the Wall of Night Series & Haarth --

I think it's still worth a read. :)