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Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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More Question Answers

A couple of more questions from the Year end wrap-up and questions post:

curtana asked: How would you recommend someone who has mostly written shorter works go about trying to write something novel-length, assuming they wanted to try? Are there any major potential pitfalls they should be aware of before jumping into it?

I think the only thing you can do is just give it a try. Probably the biggest pitfall is getting about a third of the way into a book and realizing that your plot or character arcs aren't long enough for a book length story. Or that they're too long for a book-length story and you're looking at two or three books instead of one. Working out the plot and pacing of a novel is not something you know whether you can do or not until you start trying to do it.

I do think some people naturally lean toward short fiction, and some toward long, while others are equally happy doing both. So keep in mind that one form may be more suited to the way you write than the other.

titan5 asked: I absolutely love the world you created for the Books of the Raksura. How do you go about building a world (inhabitants, customs, physical world, etc.) for one of your books? Any special source of inspiration or methods that work for you? Or any tips for those of us who are a little intimidated by the task?

Thank you!

For inspiration, the real world is more varied and complicated than anything anyone can make up. It helps to read history, archeology, travel stories, read about and look at pictures of the kind of places and landscapes you find interesting, and see if they spark ideas. (Like the cave of Hang Son Doong, or the Waitomo Glowworm caves or Svartifoss)

For building a realistic world, you're going to need to do research. For example, if you want to write about a city in the desert, it helps to study real cities in that same situation and find out how they work. How they get food, water, materials, etc, so you can apply the same sort of methods to the city in your imaginary world. You don't need to tell the reader all that information, but if you know it you can make your imaginary place feel more real.