Inspiration through conversation: why you should get excited about your books

I just finished writing an enormously long email to my critique partner. We ‘met’ on Twitter about six weeks ago and she has gone from being one of a number of people I chat to online to my best friend in the writerverse. We share our dreams, our hopes and our goals for the future. When I am feeling ambivalent about my writing and my chances of publication I can tell her and she cheerleads me back onto the rails again. And I do the same for her. In short, we give each other encouragement from a writer’s point of view. Something which no one who isn’t a writer can do, no matter how much they love you.

The point is that in this incredibly long missive I talked myself round to realise that future trilogies I had envisaged for the worlds I am building in my current WIP could actually become ongoing series’, rather than just be limited to three books. After all, I am building up a planet’s worth of characters, times two (two worlds), so I should be able to get more out of them than just a trilogy each.

This is something I have wanted to do ever since I decided that I wanted to be a writer (bear in mind this decision is about fifteen years old) but I knew I needed to come up with a world on which to base the series. Terry Pratchett and the Discworld, Anne McCaffrey and Pern or Frank Herbert and Dune (where the series actually outlived its creator, thanks to his son) – and NO, I’m not comparing myself to any of them except in the sense of having a world on which to base a number of stories – these are worlds with such a large number of societies, social hierarchies and individual characters that the possibilities for books are almost limitless.

When I came up with my idea for the Wormworlds (two worlds linked by a wormhole) I wasn’t consciously basing it on the Discworld and Pern. Of course, I can’t discount the possibility that my subconscious was at work because let’s face it, I lived in those worlds throughout my teens. Even now Terry Pratchett’s books are the only ones I buy in hardback because I simply can’t get enough of the Discworld. My adoration is absolute. Pern comes in a close second only because it doesn’t make me laugh quite as much.

I hadn’t even thought I could get an ongoing series out of my worlds until I was talking it through in the email I wrote today. This is why it is good to get excited about your books. Because once you have that small number of people who will give you the opening to think things through in the form of a conversation (for some reason this works far better for me than on my own with a pencil and paper) you will find yourself considering all sorts of options that you hadn’t even imagined were possible. And therein can lie your best ideas.

About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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10 Responses to Inspiration through conversation: why you should get excited about your books

  1. It’s so good to have other writers (and non-writers) who you can bounce off of and talk to and plot with, isn’t it? I’m so glad you have someone like that!

    And how awesome that you have done such massive world-building that you can see all this potential! My co-author and I started out together to write one book, and soon after, that turned into a twelve book series. I’ve found, as we write each book, that it becomes easier to see all the future storylines. And the more the world is established, the easier it is to write in it. It’s funny how the worlds we create become so real to us.

    Sounds like you will have a lot of fun in the future!

    • Thanks. I’m so looking forward to it! 😀

      Congratulations on the twelve book series – that’s a huge accomplishment!!

      • Thanks! We still have 8 and 2/3 books left to write, LOL. They’ll get there, one at a time. We’re just trying to stay ahead of our publisher, and as they’re currently working on our cover for book 2, we’re still doing okay. 😉

        Your idea of two worlds connected by a wormhole sounds SO COOL.

      • Wow. That’s fantastic! What’s the name of the series and the book which has been published so far? Go on, do a little self-promotion 🙂

        And thank you 🙂 Happily my critique partner agrees with you. The hard part is working out both magical and non-magical politics on both worlds. I’ve barely scratched the surface so far… 😀

      • The series is Restoration and the first book is “Awakenings.” (The series info is at our website here: Twelve Speakers and my book projects are on my blog here: My Books) 🙂 The co-written series is YA inspirational fantasy, which has meant SO MUCH world-building, so I feel you there! It seems like the deeper you dig, the more you find to keep building. Fortunately, my co-writer and I have been writing together for almost nine years and working on this series for over seven, so we have some idea of what we’re doing and how our writing fits together. 😉

        Most of what I write is fantasy (with the occasional slice-of-life story) and world-building can be so hard. The two books I’m currently working on (without a co-writer) are kind of fantasy with a steampunk influence, but no magic. It’s been exhausting (though rewarding) trying to develop the world, the cultures, the technology, etc.

        Can I ask–are you writing it so that one world has magic and one world doesn’t, or do both have magic? (If you don’t want to get into details, I totally understand. I’m just fascinated by the different ways other authors build their worlds.)

      • Thanks for the information 😀

        Both worlds have hereditary magic, but it manifests in different ways. My heroine has inherited both types as her witch-mother found a way to get to the other world before the wormhole appeared. Suffice to say, she is the most feared person on either world. People either want to use her or kill her and it’s only going to get worse as the books progress 😀

      • Oooh, that sounds awesome! There are so many places you could go with that. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your progress along the way! 😀

  2. alberta ross says:

    well done on the world building – it’s fun isn’t it? I set out to write a short story once and now I’m on the third of the series it’s turned into with at least two more almost worked out in my head – Like you I can see it stretching ahead – have fun and well doen in your critic partner – I have one who is like a right hand to me – worth their weight in gold.

    • It is fun. Hard work, especially keeping your cast straight once you get above a certain number of characters. But it is very rewarding. As Laura said, once you get to a certain point in the development of the world, you can have any number of stories.

      For the record, I would turn down the combined weight of me and my critique partner in gold if accepting it meant I had to give her up. She’s amazing.

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