Book Title: Chameleon Assassin
Author Name: B.R. Kingsolver
Genre: Urban Fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic dystopian
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.
Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.
There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.
Blog post – world building
So you have an awesome idea for a story, and you even have a cast of characters to act it out for you. Next, you have to decide where the story takes place.
As long as man has told stories, they have always taken place in the here and now, the past, or someplace far away. Then, at some point, someone imagined a story in the future. That opened up endless possibilities.
If you set your story in the world we live in, then your world building is done. All you have to do is let your characters tell their story. If the story is set in the past, then there’s a certain amount of research you have to do. Everything from how people dressed, to how they addressed each other, to the technology of the time and events surrounding the story need to be understood. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a review that says, “This book takes place in 1637, but widgets weren’t invented until 1746, and the idiot author has widgets all over the place.”
Setting your story far away, especially really far away, like another dimension or another world, or a thousand years from now, gives you a lot more latitude. But even then, readers are going to catch things that are inconsistent. So, you have to be careful about the world you build.
Any kind of speculative fiction—whether it involves werewolf lovers or spaceships—assumes a suspension of disbelief. We all know werewolves aren’t real, but just for the sake of this story, let’s pretend they are. Of course, time vortexes don’t swallow accountants and take them to Elfland, where they suddenly have magical powers. But an author asks you to suspend your disbelief and takes you on a journey where that very thing happens.
As readers of such stories, we willingly agree. Take me someplace strange and wonderful, or weird and frightening, and tell me a story that enchants me. Play with my emotions. Fill me with dread and suspense as these characters—who I know aren’t real—become people that I care about, people that I like and wish I knew in real life. Tell me a story that makes me wish I could live it myself.
But throw in something out of place, something that pulls the reader out of the story and makes them say, “C’mon, man!”, and you’ve failed. The quiet, demure young girl does not find a sword larger than she is and slay the dragon. The bumbling stable boy does not suddenly develop magic and save the damsel in distress. The author has to set that sort of thing up well in advance and make it believable in the context of the story.
The world that you build has to have internal consistency. The author has to build the world and show it to his/her readers in such a way that the reader accepts it for real in that story. Don’t throw a jet plane into a steampunk setting because it’s convenient. Don’t give your character a type of magic that’s inconsistent with what you’ve told the reader that character, or type of character, can do.
In the back of all my Telepathic Clans books is a list of the Telepathic Gifts with an explanation for what each gift does. In that world, each character is limited to no more than fifteen of the twenty-five gifts (except for one very special girl). Most characters only have between one and five of the gifts. Readers of the series expect that a character in a tight spot won’t suddenly sprout wings and fly, because that isn’t one of the gifts.
The farther away in distance and time, and the more exotic the setting is, the more time an author needs to spend on world building. What is used for money? How is business conducted? What are the roles of men and women in the society? Children? Education? Do the street sweepers have magic, or only a select few? What level of civilization are we using? Electronics and horse-drawn carriages don’t mix very well.
I have a space opera idea in a world where magic exists. The main character’s society is feudal, women don’t have equal rights, and the technology is thousands of years ahead of the twenty-first century. There are aliens. There are also other human civilizations with their own systems of government. You have to work all of that out before you start writing if you’re going to make that world live for your readers.
I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, a teacher, and somehow found a career working with computers.
As to my other interests, I love the outdoors, especially the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied since high school, with one broken leg and one torn ACL to show for it. I’ve hiked and camped all my life. I love to travel, though I haven’t done enough of it. I’ve seen a lot of Russia and Mexico, not enough of England. Amsterdam is amazing, and the Romanian Alps are breathtaking. Lake Tahoe is a favorite, and someday I’d like to see Banff.
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