I’m hard at work on my second book in this new Stud Club trilogy. At the moment, I think we’ve decided to call it TWICE TEMPTED BY A ROGUE. It’s been a mix of rough rough-drafting and research so far. I was joking on Twitter the other day that after four books, I’ve finally broken down and created a research binder, with color-coded tabs and everything. (Note: This is extremely unlike me.) I hadn’t expected to become so enthralled with the research for this book, and I’m a little worried that it’s partly procrastination…but I’ve been collecting and printing out all sorts of images and informational PDFs about the history, geology, climate, wildlife, and legends of Dartmoor.

Beautiful, isn’t it?  The area has such fascinating history (going all the way back to pre-history!) and folklore.  In addition to the tors–the craggy granite formations that pepper the area–Dartmoor boasts ancient stone circles and cairns (tombs), the ruins of medieval tinning operations, rivers and waterfalls, bogs and mires, and more.

“Worldbuilding” is a term most commonly associated with paranormals or sci-fi/fantasy.  It refers to the author’s creation of a fictional universe with its own unique rules, creatures, places and people.  In historicals, our “worldbuilding” is usually less about creating our own universe, and more about evoking a real-life historical setting.  However, every book in any genre involves a certain amount of worldbuilding–where do the characters come from, for one?   How do objects, people, fixtures, buildings relate to one another, spatially or otherwise?  Writing is a series of these tiny worldbuilding questions.

For this book, I’ve decided to draw on all my research and create a composite–a completely fictional village and surrounding area, with geologic and archeologic features arranged to suit my story.  And I’m having a great time doing it!  I even went so far today as to sketch out a little map of how these things relate to one another spatially.  Village here, tors there, bog here, stream there…. etc.

No, I will never post that map.  Let’s just say, a cartographer I am not.  But next summer, my fictional corner of Dartmoor will be open for visitors!

What sort of worldbuilding are you working on?  Creating a magical realm?  Mapping the floorplan of your dream house?

6 comments to “Worldbuilding…sorta”

  1. Tiffany
    · June 24th, 2009 at 2:34 am · Link

    But research is the best procrastination!

    I always liked making up places (I created the harem in my head for Hidden Beauty, the Estate in Brindisi and Florence too. All I did was get the climate, typical flora and fauna and rough land formations for the area, and away my fingers typed to create something that doesn’t actually exist. I want to do that again. It was so much fun.

    Writing settings in London actually scares me, ’cause I’m afraid I’ll get something wrong and have a million people yell at me for it once it’s in print. So I prefer country houses.

    I’m using a real setting in my newest book—Bakewell’s (Haddon Hall) But I’ve changed the name of the estate of course.

    I can’t decide what I like more. I had great fun world building for Jinan’s book. But even more fun finding information and researching a real place.

    You’re fictional village is going to be great! I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Janga
    · June 24th, 2009 at 8:00 am · Link

    Hurray for more of the Stud Club! And Dartmoor–lovely. Just the word summons memories of Hound of the Baskervilles, Judith Ivory’s The Indiscretion, and that wondrous description of Loretta Chase’s Dain: “His was a Dartmoor soul.”

    I have a town map, floor plans for four houses, and a garden graph. I never expected to do so much world building to write a contemporary.

  3. Tessa
    · June 24th, 2009 at 6:53 pm · Link

    Great point, Tiff – you don’t have to worry so much about accuracy when you’re making up your own places! I’m with you on that.

    Janga, I confess, there’s probably a bit of Dain in Rhys. A very little bit. I think the two of them would…hm. Probably not really like each other, but maybe beat one another up in the courtyard and then go in and have drinks. 🙂

  4. Maggie Robinson
    · June 25th, 2009 at 4:22 pm · Link

    Oh, sounds intriguing! I’m working on two things sort of simultaneously, where the settings are virtually a character in themselves—a fictional island in the Outer Hebrides, and a Yorkshire castle. I’ve LOVED doing the research for both (kicking books underneath the desk right now—my feet will never be the same).

    I am in awe of your organization. I write things on post-its and then can’t read my handwriting. Must sit at the feet of the Goddess. 🙂

  5. terrio
    · June 29th, 2009 at 8:39 am · Link

    When I first started my Contemp I was going to set it in a real place and did some research on landmarks and such. Lucky for me, there was a website for the town that gave a virtual historical tour. But then I drove around the real area and realized it didn’t serve my purposes at all. LOL!

    I decided to make up a town out of my imagination and it’s so much more fun. At least for me the “I hate research!” gal. I know, I’m weird.

    Can’t wait to get a better look at your studs. LOL! The books, of course. *w*

  6. Lady Leigh
    · June 29th, 2009 at 9:42 am · Link

    I love doing research. It is a great way to procrastinate, but it can also give me a lot of great ideas for my story. I’m not organized enough to use a binder (yet 😉