World Building

By Liz, enjoying a snow-free corner of New England.

I haven’t shared this broadly yet, but I’m starting a new series. I’m excited to tell you all about it when I have more to share, like a series name and an actual book title. In the meantime, I’m deep into the writing on the first book, which is due over the summer. 

It’s exciting, invigorating, and the possibilities are endless.

And I gotta tell you, it’s kind of hard. And scary. 

World building is daunting. I’d forgotten how much, after one series with seven books and one series with three books. Granted, it took me a bit to hit my stride with Cat About Town, the first in the Cat Cafe series, but it was still a bit easier. Mostly because I could picture the town and the people – and of course the cats! – really well, and it was a real-life scenario I was familiar with. This new book, and this series, has some different elements that take a lot of imagination and creativity. 

Some days I’m sitting here wondering if I can do it. On the days when I feel like my creativity is sapped and I have absolutely no imagination left, I start to panic and think about what will happen if I screw this up. Like if I make a mistake in the first one that will make my life difficult in the next books. Or pick a direction and later realize it wasn’t the best direction, and be stuck with it. Those are usually the days when the day job is draining me, or the to-dos are piling up, and the doubt that I can get it all done and done well creeps in. 

But then I remember what drew me to writing in the first place. I longed to create new worlds and people that filled those worlds. I remember when I was a kid, transforming the woods behind my house into a witches’ lair. Reimagining the swamp across the street as the headquarters for my space team’s spaceship activation as we went off to fight the other planets. My entire neighborhood became a plethora of different worlds, depending on my mood, my mode of transportation, and which friends were around to play with. If I was by myself, I solved mysteries like Nancy Drew. If my neighbors were home, we acted out Battle of the Planets or some other favorite cartoon. Or we made up our own places, people and stories. 

I’ve always had the imagination. I just have to remember to stop doubting myself long enough to tap into it again. 

And I think I’m going to build a pretty awesome world. I hope you all think so too once the book is done! 

Readers, what do you need to feel pulled into a new world when you start a series?

35 Thoughts

  1. Liz, I can’t wait. Now you’ve got me in a track stance.

    What do I need to draw me into a series? A likable protagonist and good writing will draw me into a new book. A tight plot and a resolved mystery will draw me into a new series. Having read your novels, I’d say you have nothing to worry about. Keep writing.

  2. A characther with a problem, really, that’s all it takes! But, please, no graphic violence or sexual content in the first ten pages. Have you considered story maps to keep everything in each new world straight?

  3. It’s fun and scary at the same time, isn’t it? I live in fear of recreating an existing character without meaning to. But it’s also like finding new friends and getting to know them.

  4. When I pick up a new series, I need clarity about the spatial layout of the place (Yes, I’m a map person!); a small cast of distinct likable regulars; humor; and, scattered among the lead characters as they encounter challenges, good thinking founded on good values. Then: Let the stories flow. 🙂 Can’t wait the hear more, Liz!!

  5. If the book is by an author I enjoy reading all I need is some peace and quiet. My chores done and my lounge chair waiting for me to snuggle down with that book and crack open the cover. This usually occurs at about 11pm in the evening when my other half has gone to bed. LOL

  6. Love when I can start a new series. It’s like actually picking up and moving yourself because there is a whole new town to explore and tons of people to meet. There’s always that warm glow, that feeling of familiarity, when we read a continuing series sort of how we get happy in our own lives when we get comfortable in our own surroundings. But like life itself, it’s good to shake it up every once in a while just to enjoy life more like taking that new job or making a new friend out of the gal that just moved to town.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. Wishing you so much joy, peace and success with the new series! I was inspired with a new series idea recently, and, yes, it’s energizing and challenging! Reading about your childhood activities—similar to mine—is motivating. Can’t wait to hear about your new series! Keep us posted!

  8. I’m excited about your new series. I have no doubt that it will be great.

  9. Liz, I have been going through this exact process with my new series. I get terrified I’m not good enough. But I love you taking it back to your childhood because that’s what I did too. One day we’d be pioneers the next pirates.

  10. I need enough description to “see” the location. I’m very visual and see all places, people and actions in my head. If I can’t “see” what is going on, I lose interest quickly. Best of luck with the new series. How exciting to create a new world.

  11. I get it completely. All the possibilities are fun, but once you commit it is scary. I think part of that comes from my indecisiveness. Maybe.

  12. I’m looking forward to your new series, Liz. Everything you write is wonderful! I hope you’ll have pets in the story. 😊💕🐩🐈 When I was a kid, we played Land of the Giants or Star Trek! Otherwise, my nose was stuck in a book❣️

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