Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Shiver of Snow and Sky Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the A Shiver of Snow and Sky blog tour! I had the pleasure of reading this magical book the other week and I absolutely loved it. Lisa Lueddecke's writing completely sweeps you away to an icy land where warnings are painted red in the skies so I'm very excited to be hosting a fantastic guest post from Lisa on magical world-building today and I have 3 copies of the book to give away to three of my lucky readers over on Twitter!

Magical World-Building by Lisa Lueddecke

If there is one part of writing I am here for, it’s the world-building. With A Shiver of Snow and Sky, I had elements of the world long before any of the story came to me, but because the world was so concrete and realized, the story fell seamlessly into place. I always knew that the northern lights would play a huge role, and I always knew that I wanted the sky to speak to those on the island, and so the rest of the story just followed, like it had existed all along and was just waiting for me to find it. That was very much the sense I got while writing this story: that I was discovering something that had always existed in my mind, and it was very exciting.

When I’m creating a fantasy world, I tend to picture landscapes, settings, and jot down notes on the imagery. Sometimes I scroll through pages and pages of pins on Pinterest, or do image searches for relevant words, or just free write in a notebook for a while to brainstorm ideas. For A Shiver of Snow and Sky, I wrote down a list of words that would complement the world (and I still have the list.) This was what I wrote down.


I knew early on that the world the book was set in would be every bit as big a character as the actual characters, and it would be the first one I’d need to fully understand before I could move on. I think the setting-as-a-character thing is true of all fantasy, if not all books! If readers can’t believe in the world you’ve created, it leaves room for them to not believe in your book. Writing down that list of random, wintry words helped me to set the tone for the book I wanted to write, even if I didn’t expressly use them in the story. It’s also very important to fully understand the parameters of the world you’re creating, because it will set the standard by which you mean to continue. If your world has rules regarding magic, for example, you need to either remember not to break those rules, or understand how those rules can be broken. (Breaking those rules does not have to ruin anything; it can be an important plot point, if you have a firm understanding of how to pull it off!)

Magic in world-building does not limit itself to books with systems for using magic, such as Harry Potter, but worlds that contain magical or fantasy elements that need to be outlined and understood. Without going into too much detail for those who haven’t read the book yet, much of that for me was based around my use of the northern lights as a voice of the Goddess, whereas much of the day to day world in which the characters lived could be explained away as an old Norse village, or similar. The most important thing for me to get right in writing this book, and which I sincerely hope I did, was to create a world in which, while daily life might seem simple and normal, there was the idea that anything could happen, and anything was possible. Whether that was through references to their superstitions or campfire tales, I wanted the world to feel richer than what they saw and lived every day, because as a reader, having that feeling that anything can happen is something that keeps me turning the pages of any book. If there’s more than meets the eye, more to discover, and more to learn, you will have my undivided attention!

In closing, I believe that building a magical world is all about layering: start with something simple, like a basic setting, and add to that slowly, fleshing out the bones. I started with the idea of a wintry island, then layered in the idea of the northern lights, the villagers’ superstitions, stories about the mountains, and I just kept going until I had a whole world (and I’m still building it!) I think I’ll always feel like I have more to add to the world, but I’m happy with what I’ve done so far, and I’m so excited to be back on the island working on the next book.

For your chance to win a copy of A Shiver of Snow and Sky head on over to Twitter to enter! 

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

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