Monday, 15 April 2013

Living the Fairy Tale - World Building

Living the Fairy Tale - World Building

A few weeks ago I posted about the world building for my WIP, Journey to the Bone Factory. I spoke about the depth of research and about the methods I use to store all this vital information so that my mind is free to be creative and write [Press here to read].  This got me thinking about the differences between the world building between Bone Factory (YA SCI-FI) and my first book Through Mortal Eye's, and so I decided to post about the world building in Through Mortal Eyes.

Through Mortal Eyes, is a very different book; but it is still one that’s heavily reliant on world building for success. Its fantasy told in a duel narrative, but it’s a fantasy based in this reality and time. You’d think it’d make world building easier but that’s not easier it’s just different.

Through Mortal Eyes, is about Fairy tales, but not fluffy one ending with happily ever after, or ones set in different worlds. In the world of Through Mortal eyes, fairy tales are real, the characters moving around in the shadows, and eventually they get entwined with seventeen year old Ruby, who has to bring the all the tales to an end.

Of course I need not have to worry about gravitational pull, and the proximity of planets to their suns, or population density but I did have a whole lot of reading and world building of two different views and times within our world. But instead of the  physics of the world I was looking more at species of the world, and making a normal setting seem dark and fairy tale like.

So for the world building I looked at fairy tales, stacks of them. Then I also had species to work out so research veered in the direction of ghouls, beast and the un-dead from mythology and folklore across the world.  I noted down species profiles, much like character profiles, but with anatomy, and social histories.  I also researched actual history to slip things to make the species history more believable and add depth; researching the dog-headed Saint Christopher and the Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory who murdered and bathed in young maiden blood.

For places I used the little love town of my youth, using the oldest house in town, and the oldest church with the hollow tree.  Both these places in the right light with the right words look like they belong in a fairy tale. Also In the novel there is an abandoned town, which was burnt to the ground in middle ages, only leaving the church standing. This actually happened to a town about fifteen miles from the  in the novel, but not knowing what it was called I found a great web-site detailing all the lost medieval town of Berkshire Press here.

Of course sometimes a simple object can be enough to set your mind working, dictating to be used in the narrative and that the world is built to include it. This happened with my dad's old dagger that he dug up on a building site years ago.

All these notes were spread out over an array of notepads, ring-binders and stored virtually.  Coming together to build a disturbing yet scarily familiar world. 


  1. Loved this post, Sally. I am experiencing something similar with my current freshly started WIP - but I'm writing a historical book. Reading about your own excursions and discoveries was exciting and intriguing. Would love to read your novel!

  2. HI Candy. Thanks! I LOVE research - it really takes to the most unexpected places and pushes your story to new and exciting places. Would love you to read the novel - still working on finding it a home!

  3. The hallow tree looks like it would be a lot of fun. I've sort of been wrapped up in drawing fairy tales in an abstract way for too long so it's nice to get the jolt back to drawing inspiration from things around us as well.

    1. Hi Nukiuk,
      The hollow tree is great fun, and totally eerie. You're right getting out and about is really great way of kick starting your creativity and imagination!