Some Rambling On World-Building, and an Awesome Quote

Fraggles and bow-ties are cool!

My friend Dave, puppet-maker and artist extraordinaire, just wrote the Awesome Sentence of the Week on Facebook: “I orbit around my desk like a fraggle-haired moon.” Sorry Dave, I’m “totes” stealing your pic and quote to share on my blog, because it’s just that awesome.

Voice: personality in writing that “shows” character much more than “telling.” Dave’s sentence was a great example of Voice.

Like Dave, I’ve been heavily influenced by the work of Brian Froud. I used to check out books of his artwork from the school library (back when I did more drawing than writing), and I was a huge Dark Crystal and Labyrinth geek. (Still am!) While planning The Moongate, I kept picturing Froud’s faeries as characters, particularly the half-Fey and the wilder forest Fey. I imagined personality types and customs for each different Fey race, based on European myths and legends I’ve read about faeries. But, since I had to keep the word count down, and since world-building is maddeningly difficult, especially for a first book, I had to simplify things. My Fey people who feature as main characters have mostly human-like mannerisms and emotions. I hope this isn’t a mistake. In later books, the half-Fey get to be more in the spotlight, and this is where I think I can develop my ideas of Froud-esque faeries.

Below, I’m posting some of Froud’s artwork that inspired me:

I have a main character who’s very tree-like and wilder than the other MC’s. I’d imagine his race would look like the woman below.

Sadly, even some Fey suffer from seasonal allergies.

I can’t wait to develop the half-Fey. So far they’re only hinted at. I had fun writing a brief scene involving one in the 2nd book, and they really get the spotlight in the 3rd. The predominantly good Fey look upon their halfling counterparts (part demon, part Fey) with contempt. Their natures may lean toward the Dark, but are they really as evil as they’re believed to be?

The Dark Fey are evil. Evil just for evil’s sake though? That’s how I’d planned it originally. Like I said, it was my first book! During the rewrites, I tried to give them a plausible reason for being villains, but they’re bad mofo’s anyway. Some of them might look like the freak below, but others, like one Nissa runs afoul of in the 2nd book, are quite human in appearance and might even be disturbingly handsome.

I’d post some more pictures, except the half-Fey got into Blogger and they keep screwing with the HTML. This post has taken me three times as long to edit as it usually does!

Actually, we have a dog who looks like this.

What about you guys? Any fantasy authors here who have some tips on how to world-build and stay functionally sane? What other artists or authors have inspired your characters?


8 thoughts on “Some Rambling On World-Building, and an Awesome Quote

  1. What I try to do is get all my worldbuilding done on a separate document. Another writer friend calls it the 'bible' of her world. Everything about that world and its people are in that book.

    Then you leave most of it out of your writing, hint at things that are different, show the odd thing here and there and build a picture.


  2. I LOVE Dark Crystal AND Labyrinth! I think I am going to go rent them right now. They are awesome. LOVE Davids quote as well! LOL. That is just plain brilliant. And these pictures are phenomenal! Great stuff!


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