May 12, 2017

Julia Ember's tips for building a SFF World || The Seafarer's Kiss Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hello bookworms!

Welcome to today's stop on the Seafarer's Kiss blog tour! This f/f retelling of the Little Mermaid is fresh, amazing and a must read! Wonderfully diverse and beautifully written, I can't recommend the book enough! Today we have it's lovely author Julia Ember over at the blog, sharing some tips for building a believable SFF world, as part of the blog tour!

P. S - I shared my review on GR today, do make sure to check it out here!

Title : The Seafarer's Kiss
Author: Julia Ember
Publisher : Interlude Press/Duet Books
Release Date : May 4th 2017
Synopsis : 

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Tips for Building a Believable SFF World

            World-building: simultaneously the best and the worst part of writing SFF. Most SFF writers write SFF for the places they can create, the magic they can weave and the monsters they can set lose. Plus, you get to invent your own rules and physics doesn’t necessarily apply.

When I’ve gone on school visits or talked to aspiring writers, I get a lot of questions about how I build worlds in my books. In this post, I’m going to share a couple of tips!

   Eliminate the info-dumps! 

Most SFF writers know too much about their world rather than not enough. The desire to show-off every minute aspect of the world and its history often makes writers drop lengthy paragraphs of history throughout their introductory chapters. Doing this both bores the crap out of your reader and interrupts the narrative flow of your story.

It’s hard to connect with a character if their story is constantly being interrupted by three pages of their grandmother’s genealogy or the history of a space battle that happened before they were born. Your readers need details, but they need them spaced out. Give your reader snippets of information as they are required by the story.

  It’s the small details that matter.

In my opinion, the best way to build a world that feels real is to focus on the mundane details. Instead of describing sweeping landscapes and battles that don’t affect your character, focus on what she’s eating, what’s wearing, where she’s sleeping. These little details often get overlooked, but they are the things that really immerse readers into a new world.

  Sight is only one of the senses.

I used to intern for a literary agency, and during that time, I read quite a large number of SFF manuscripts. Something that struck me then, and I’ve tried to be better about it in my own writing, is how little attention many writers give to senses outside of sight. Describing what your character touches, tastes and smells is essential to add texture to your world-building. What does the air smell like on your space station? If you’re making up new fruits, what do they taste like? It’s not enough to say: Karinda bit into a daggafruit. We need to know what it is!

   Don’t break your own rules.

Nothing drives me out of an SFF story faster than a writer who breaks their own rules. When you’re creating a world, you get to set the parameters, but once they’re set, your reader will expect you to follow them. If you setup a world where your character needs to speak a spell to use their magic, but then on page 192, your character can suddenly do silent incantations, your reader will be confused and will no longer trust your writing. Make sure you know what your own parameters are! 

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.


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