Today I’d like to welcome Dr Anay Ayarovu with her post about creating a world in seven days. First though, here’s what STAZR The World Of Z: The Dawn Of Athir is about
A strange and mystical prophecy was found in the city of Treebarad. On a piece of parchment, old long-forgotten events come back to life, the memory of which was intentionally erased. A mysterious prophecy now gives hope to the twisted ruling race that the power they seek lies behind an ancient gate. On the reverse side of the oracle are coordinates to the location of the Chosen One.
Lael is an introverted and naive writer who grew up with a book in one hand and a quill in the other. All his life, he has lived in a peaceful solitude, reading and writing his short stories and dreaming big of one day becoming a prestigious author. To his surprise and delight he must now become savior of the Star people and take the journey to find answers that do not exist in books.
Now over to Anay
Creating A World In Seven Days
As the creator of the World Of Z, I can firmly attest to the difficulty associated with creating a whole new universe. Contrary to God’s seven days of creation, there will be no day of rest, today. When I decided to write STAZR The World Of Z, I was forced to look at the world around me and decide some of the key factors we could not live without. Thankfully, I had a good amount of experience with culture, seeming as I had grown up in Russia before getting married and growing roots here in America. I was able to look at both cultures and find the similarities of functionality. All of which similarities, I have been able to sum up into seven very expansive categories.
I knew, I knew, I knew I needed a race that was completely different than ours. They needed to be exponentially unique; however, they still needed a high level of relatability. They needed moral compasses like ours, and a sense of purpose that we could understand. m
Making each character likeable and unlikeable in their own way is also incredibly important. Depending on their purpose, will the majority of readers find this person scummy, or magnificent? As humans, we are programmed to write what we know, so even if you are creating an enslaved talking pig who turns to magical dust when he dies, there is still a reason he is important enough to be loved by his master. The magical dust after he also dies also shows a level of power and important engrained inside his very being.
In a nutshell, we must try to imagine the farthest thing from reality, and then take your inspiration from life and weave this through the folds. Every single aspect of your new race must have a purpose. Do not make your character blue because it’s your favorite color, make him blue because his people were born outside the warmth of a mother’s love. Take the texture of our universe and allow your characters feel the same way outside the realm of reality.
1B. Race Relationships
The way races relate and respond to one another is your key to expanding your universe to an unlimited capacity. The easiest way for me to explain this is to use an example from STAZR: Humans came Stazr and started taking over the Stazrian households, so a magical being put a curse upon the humans that all those un-pure of heart would begin to mutate. All of the clean of heart stayed beautiful, so the mutated humans killed them all out of jealousy and misunderstanding. Then all of the Stazrians outcasted the mutated humans. Years later, the two groups started a war and the war ended with the gate to the Stazr star being eternally closed unless ‘The Chosen One’ took a journey to the gatekeepers to reopen them, and here starts the first book.
When two races have a substantial reason to hate one another, it becomes easier for you to create plot thickening conflicts. On the contrary, there are no women on Stazr, so the men began to procreate with the beautiful female animals and we now have a race called Semiss who hold the appearance of half animal and Stazrian, but these are intelligent animals who inherited the magical powers of their fathers. Their fathers were nervous about their powers and outcasted them. Conflict after conflict after conflict, and all character driven! A negative relationship was born out of a positive fascination of two races and now we have more conflict to open a new storyline.
Allow your story to venture beyond the molds of a happy little world, and get dirty with your characters!
EXPRESSION! Languages and dialects are wonderful forms of expression. As creators, we all know the mistake of taking an idea too far. There is a perfect line between too much of an accent and not enough, let’s start here.
When I think of a book with an extremely heavy accent, I think of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Amazing novel? Yes. Difficult to read? Yes. Because the story is so exciting, the heavy language is passable, but it’s far from being a relaxing book to enjoy of your day off from work. Mark Twain did do something amazing, he created a new world strictly through language. There is no raised curtain, or moment where reality seeps in, the extreme dialect is consistent and never makes the reader feel like they are just reading a book. On the other hand, it is a very long book, so if you put it down and come back to it, it will take a few pages to return to the world of white-washed picket fences.
When creating a new race, you want to give them identifiable qualities that are unmistakable. When a reader hears that dialect, they should know who is speaking simply by the word choice. Ultimately, you need to decide what kind of book you are trying to write. Are you working with everything inside you to bring authenticity to your novel, or are you simply trying to bring your readers into your world. Some authors believe it is enough to mention th language once and then hint at it a few more times as the book progresses, this route is perfectly fine, but however you choose to portray your dialects, stay consistent, and be the smartest guy in the room.
3. Society Structure
a. Society Structure works hand in hand with race relationships. However, I believe this is one of the most important world qualities on this list. The society structure will impact your plot in very different, but equally important, ways. The obvious one is hierarchy. What social ladder do your character climb to get to where they want to be? Who helps them? Do these helpers have a choice? If they don’t, is there any opportunity for them to leave that position? Answering all of these questions brings your plot up, down, right, and left because not only are your characters loving, hating, or outcasting, they are finding their place in the universe.
4A. Measurement System(time/scale)
In America, I am 10 years old, in Russia, I am 10 summers old. We rarely think about units of measure affecting our everyday lives, but they do. So will your characters say they are 10 sleeps away, 10 days away, or 10 cycles away? You don’t need to go overboard, but it MUST BE ESTABLISHED. Way back in the day, these units of measurement were based on something real. A carat originated from a carob seed, if your ecosystem is all new, do these seeds exist? Will it not matter, or perhaps, it was rumored. Does your land have summer, if so, the length of a year and season should be established.
The words do not need to be like ours, but for your readers to fully understand, they must have a unit of measurement to follow.
4B. Different Seasons
Remember that this genre is fantasy, and all things are possible. Readers understand fantasy as a limitless genre, so you cannot assume they will understand the four seasons as we have here on earth. You must establish your seasons and what comes with the season.
As fellow authors, you will agree that bringing environment into a scene makes it more powerful and consuming. I love reading a scene in a forest and being able to see the bright twinkling reflection of the rain as it drips from branch to branch. It portrays emotion, and completes the elements. If you don’t mention the environment, I will start making up a scene in my head and that doesn’t help anyone. So be sure to define the season, environment, and everything that comes with them.
5. Nature Laws
The ecosystem needs to make sense. A lot of fantasy writers think that because their world is imaginary, the rules of realism don’t apply, but they do. Our humanistic sense of realism does not matter, but your characters do. You must make sure everything that happens inside your universe fits together like a puzzle piece. In Stazr, there are volcanos that erupt a crazy amount of Stazrdust. When this dust is thrown across the sky in excessive amounts, it is called a sparkle storm. When the dust accumulates on the ground, it creates tunnels which my characters travel through at various parts of the story. See how one aspect of the Stazr ecosystem plays into others and enhances the story? No matter how unrealistic your environment feels to you, it is essential for your characters to believe as you would believe there is a hurricane coming during Florida September’s.
6. Afterlife/Belief System(Myths/Legends)
Have you ever used the expression, “What the hell?” Well you can go on as much as you want about not being religious, but the truth of the matter is, Hell is a place created by religion. If you characters do not have cultural beliefs or mythology, it may affect every word that comes out of their mouth. My characters tend to say “For Stazr Sake” a lot because for them, their land is the most sacred part of their belief system. From Stazr comes magic, and mystery, and all of the powers of their world, but there are no gods so it would be silly to mention the term ‘god’.
Humans tend to live their life around what will happen to them after they die, will your characters die? Are they reincarnated? Will they turn to dust and carry on through the ecosystem?
The motherload of all worlds. History is of such major importance, I am writing it last so it is fresh in your mind as you open up a word doc and start writing in a few minutes. Ask yourself this question: Why do you characters exist?
If you are able to create a history behind your universe before you start writing the narrative, you will feel like the smartest guy in the room, everything you write will have radiating confidence. One issue I had with writing a partial history before writing the story was the difficulty in changing the history later. As I started down the road of marketing Stazr as a universe versus a story, I had to start outlining my story, and realised that there were alot of holes and these gaps were very difficult to fill given the story i had already written. It felt like I was working backwards.
In sci-fi and fantasy, narrative is written in the past, so take the time, write the history and walk forwards, you will be happy you did.
Thanks very much for this comprehensive article, Anay.
Originally from Russia, Dr. Ayarovu left the medical field behind to focus all of her time on her true love: storytelling. She initially turned to artistic photography, but when she found herself writing backstories for each of her photoshoots, she knew the direction she needed to go. She claims that some of the short stories from those shoots made it into the STAZR – The World of Z Series!
Dr. Ayarovu hopes to bring reading back into the common household through multi-media portrayals. Her primary goal is to bring the Stazr universe to life through a video game series and scripted television opportunity. A journey through the stars, quests invaded with monsters and magical beings, and new languages and cultures have led readers of this adult fantasy book to call it a refreshing combination of writers like Neil Gaiman, Dostoevsky, Sholohov, Tolkien, and Dan Simmons.