Before we get to the post, though, here's a bit about the book.
Genre: Christian New Adult Suspense
Release Date: June 14th 2015
Synopsis via Goodreads:
His dark past haunts him. His new life taunts him.
After twenty years in the gangs and a hefty prison sentence, an early release gives Shawn the opportunity to turn his life around.
But that isn’t so easy when gangs are involved.
Only a year into his fresh start, the gang catches on and makes Shawn’s life miserable. After all, once a gang member, always a gang member. His very blood belongs to them.
Threats become promises. Whispers become actions. Words become bullets. He must fight – not only for his life, but to save his honor, prove his integrity, and protect the woman he loves.
An ember of hope glows in the darkness, strengthening his resolve. Will her support and his determination be enough to dispel the shadows of his past?
A story of discovery and faith, love and perseverance.
Now, take it away, Tialla!
Making This World Your Own
By Tialla Rising
Hello everyone! First off, I have to say that I am very honored to be posting here today. I hope you enjoy my ramblings!
My topic today is using the existing world as a canvas for your stories. You see, many authors create their own worlds. This is especially true of fantasy and science fiction writers, but I’ve known authors of other genres to create their own worlds as well. They find it easier to work with, they say. They can create anything they want and they don’t need to be concerned with any real-life inconsistencies or unrealistic expectations when looking at a map. I’m sure this is all very true and I may delve into all-out world building one of these days…but today is not that day.
You see, I like to use our own real-life world as a place for my characters to roam. After all, it seems to work pretty well for humankind. I’d say I kind of like living here. I figure, if I like it, and all the logistics of lands and travel and all that are already worked out, why not just use what is available? Also, it gives readers a starting point and they have a general idea of what to picture, even if it is in a city they’ve never heard of. After all, there is still air for breathing, dirt to walk on, airports for convenience of travel, and Mount Rushmore somewhere off in South Dakota. But what can I do to make sure the immediate world my characters live in—the city, or surrounding cities, for instance—is unique?
There are a couple little quirks I’ve written into my books to hopefully accomplish this feat. First of all, none of the cities in which my characters live are real-life places. I know, I know—isn’t that a bit of a cop-out? Well, I’ve never really thought of it as such. My characters still have all the existing world’s realities, just without living in a known place such as New York or Chicago. This way, I was able to craft the cities exactly as I wanted, without running into possible inconsistencies with street intersections, apartment rates, local restaurants, etc, yet utilize the knowledge and foundation of my characters still living in the U.S..
Secondly, I created a few favorite hang-out joints within the city to give the town a more realistic, yet inhabited feel. They have their favorite café downtown which sports 50s style décor and copious amounts of food per serving. They have the mall where a couple characters spend their Sunday afternoons clearance-rack shopping. The city bus which runs all hours of the day and night and is more affordable than owning a car. The church in which a couple characters find solace on Sunday mornings. The hospital staff rooms where one character learns to enjoy earnings from hard work instead of the dishonest easy street. The newspaper press building which shares a love of words, writing, and the lovely scent of paper and ink.
There is one more step to this process that I must mention. Even when using the real-life world, authors tend to map out their cities before letting their characters loose. This is probably a great practice and it sounds rather fun, actually. However, I discovered my city right along with my characters as I wrote the book, and then finalized the details, mapped it out, and smoothed the rough edges when I started editing the story. I don’t know if this was more fun or productive than mapping it out first, but I did enjoy learning what lay within the city alongside my characters.
Once again, I hope you enjoyed this. Feel free to visit my blog or website. Thank you, Katheline, for allowing me to guest post today!
Tialla Rising is a Christian young woman living with her family in the mountains of Arizona. She loves to write and will work long into the night developing her stories. Like most writers, Tialla spends her spare time reading. A good book, a stormy day, and an iced coffee comprise her favorite moments.