The A-Zs of Worldbuilding – An Interview with Rebekah!

Rebekah LoperToday at the Ferret blog, we have the distinct pleasure of interviewing one of our own! Rebekah has just published her first book: The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, based on a blog series that she did back in 2014.

You can already get the ebook (currently on sale for 99 cents!), but the fancy paperback copy will be coming out on September 30!

What is The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, you ask? From Rebekah herself:

Worldbuilding is the ultimate act of creation for speculative fiction writers, but how exactly do you worldbuild? You ask ‘what if’ and use each answer as a springboard to more questions and answers about your fictional world.

In The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, that ‘what if’ process is broken down into 26 themed chapters, covering topics ranging from architecture to zoology. Each chapter includes a corresponding set of guided exercises to help you find the ‘what if’ questions relevant to your story’s world.

Fair warning, though: worldbuilding is addictive. Once you get started, you might never put your pen down again.

So, for such an amazing and wonderfully auspicious occasion, Ferrets Michelle, Serena, and Eris sat down to put together a few questions to pester ask Rebekah, and she very graciously allowed us to do so.

Without further ado, here’s the interview!

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The Ferrets’ Fantasy Cover Flashfiction Challenge . . . Continued!

Well . . . in a manner of speaking, anyway! We’re not writing another series of our own interpretations (yet), no. (Although of course we Ferrets are always open to inspiration. . .) However, we absolutely invite you to do so – and let us know if you do! In service to that, here are a few more covers – and Ferret commentary – from the shortlist we voted over for the focus of this last one!

This first one was actually tied for Ferret votes with Song of the Saurials, which was of course our final choice for the flashfiction challenge – at least this time.

grabbing lightning, disapproving sorceress

The Temptation of Elminster

In the assortment I presented for voting, it was captioned “Righteous sorceress stalks moron who touched something he shouldn’t have.” (As agreed by Michelle: ‘I mean if that’s not an “oh shit what have I done” look, I don’t know what is.’ It really is, complete with a background ‘oh yes, your ass is toast‘ look from the sorceress, don’t you think?)

The above cover was also my personal favourite from the voting list, to be honest, and I may well write something from this cover (as well as one that did not make this shortlist) in future!

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Serena’s Tale – The Sun’s Sorceress – Flashfiction Challenge

Song of the Saurials
(Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.)

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Title: The Sun’s Sorceress
Word Count: 900
Cover Challenge: Song of the Saurials

 

 

 

 

“Why do you insist on carrying that thing about when you cannot even play it?”

“Why do you insist on wearing that glamour all the time when you aren’t even remotely some sort of . . . saurial sorcerer hybrid?”

“This is my true form!”

Why, thought Solana as Errinal protested about his ridiculous triple-flute and Vissander continued to huff and snort, did I ever agree to travel with these idiots? Continue reading

Eris’ Tale – The Usefulness of Bards – Flashfiction Challenge

 

Song of the Saurials

Song of the Saurials (Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.)

Flash Fiction Title: The Usefulness of Bards
Word Count: 420
Cover Challenge: The Song of the Saurials

 

As soon as the bandits leapt out of their hiding places in the thick underbrush, Gregory the Bard knew he had inadvertently broken the first rule of combat: never bring a clarinet to a swordfight.

“Poop,” he said to no one in particular. He immediately had to duck to avoid a wild swing of a claymore from a bandit.

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Michelle’s Tale – The Sacred One – Flashfiction Challenge

Flash Fiction Title: The Sacred One
Word Count: 600
Cover Challenge: The Song of the Saurials

Song of the Saurials
(Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.)

 

The Council of Five stood before the three who had been chosen. They had sought dozens for this most hallowed duty, and after months of deliberation, these three were all that remained.

Malachi, the leader, addressed the young huntress first. “Tell me, Leda, daughter of Amelia, why should you be chosen to host the Sacred One?”

Leda lifted her head defiantly. “I am the most skilled hunter of my generation. My knowledge of fields and forests exceeds that of everyone in my family. I have tamed dozens of beasts and slain hundreds. I can protect the Sacred One.”

Malachi nodded and turned his attention to the elder mage. “Tell me, Harcourt, son of Ema, why should you be chosen to host the Sacred One?”

“For decades, I have studied both music and the arcane,” said Harcourt. “Only the High Mage of Dunforth himself knows more than I. My intellect and magical knowledge will be vital for the Sacred One to have.”

Malachi acknowledged the answer before he turned to the final candidate, the Saurial priest. “And you, Vikla, offspring of Ekmar, why should you be chosen?”

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Rebekah’s Tale – A Matter of Arrogance – Flashfiction Challenge

Flash Fiction Title: A Matter of Arrogance
Wordcount: 750ish
Cover Challenge: The Song of the Sauriels

Song of the Saurials
(Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.)

The Saurial Priestess was not sure how she’d been roped into this… ridiculousness. It was supposed to be a simple Spring Sowing Ceremony, and then these two humans (at least, she thought they were humans. They were some of the ugliest ones she’d ever seen, so who knew for sure) showed up out of nowhere spouting off something about a quest and a prophecy and…  Continue reading

The Ferrets’ Fantasy Cover Flashfiction Challenge!

You know the feeling of finding a really awesome cover on a fantasy novel – or an incredibly mad-looking one? Especially if you’ve been reading fantasy for a while, or have ever wandered into the shelves of a secondhand book store or library where the ‘70s speculative fiction novels dwell . . . I’m sure you’ve seen more than your share.

You know when you find one of those covers, either insane or fascinating or both, and you read the book, and somehow nothing on the cover even remotely happens in the book? (Or when you look at a book and just know . . . there’s no way that scene is in the novel itself.)

Rebekah and I were having a conversation about such books as we sorted through them at a secondhand book sale a few years ago, and hit upon the idea of this challenge. Take one such cover, study the art, and write a short story that shows or fits that scene.

The other Ferrets were equally tickled by the idea, and we decided to take it to our blog! On our last Ferrets on the Town excursion we visited Boarding House Books in Claremore (which is really a lovely place) and while we shopped, we also looked around for some wonderfully crazy book covers and snapped photos.

Over the next few weeks, we Ferrets will be writing short stories inspired by this, our chosen (by popular, internal Ferret vote) cover!

Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.

Flashfiction pieces will be no more than 2k words.
Probably they will remain in the fantasy genre, but if one of my fellow Ferrets can make that into another genre, more power to her for it!

I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what I’m going to do with this cover as inspiration myself, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the others do with it! We hope you enjoy the results.

(And if you have any really fun, crazy, or intriguing book covers to show us . . . we’d love to see them!)

Required Reading – The Rants: Grendel by John Gardner

I didn’t exactly love every book I read for ‘school’ purposes, no, but it was rare I was left with the ‘I want to set this book on fire’ reaction.

Required Reading, book rants, Grendel, John Gardner, Serena Saint-Marceaux, classic books

The book for my Required Reading Rave came to me immediately when we Ferrets were discussing this series. As it happened, a few minutes later when I was trying to think of required reading books I utterly loathed . . . this one came to mind almost as quickly.

 

A Classic I Loathe:
Grendel, by John Gardner

Grendel, classics, required reading, John Gardner, book rant

Grendel, by John Gardner

. . .oh, the irony. I actually wasn’t going to choose this book for this post, much as I hate the dratted thing, but . . . well, among other things, Michelle encouraged me to do so. After the third time since our Ferret Meeting in January that she has heard parts of my rant about this bloody godsforsaken book

Okay, deep breaths. It’s okay – I’m calm. Continue reading

Required Reading – The Rants: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Required Reading, book rants, The Lord of the Flies, William Golding, Eris O'Reilly, classic books

(A/N: I had this written before I saw Rebekah’s blog post. XD Looks this is going to be just a continuation of why she’ll never read this book.)

LordOfTheFliesBookCover

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

Like a lot of kids taking public education in America, I first had to read Lord of the Flies in high school. And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t even finish it. I managed to get just far enough in it that I could fake it for a C on the essay test. (I don’t even know how I accomplished that, but I did. Read only about two-thirds of it, still managed a C. I wonder if this says more about me than the book, or vice versa.) I have no idea what the ending is. I’m pretty sure they murder a kid? And possibly eat him? I have no idea.

Anyway, the reason I couldn’t stomach it is still very clear to me. It’s a bunch of entitled white boys doing terrible, horrible things to each other. And frankly, I could see that every day—my high school was full of entitled dudes doing awful things to each other and everyone else. I really didn’t need to read a book about it, even if the backdrop was an island paradise.

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Required Reading – The Rants: Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn by Mark Twain

First off, Happy Independence Day to all our fellow Americans! Please be safe, and don’t blow any fingers off if you’re playing with fireworks. It makes writing a tad difficult.

Required Reading: The Rants, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, classics we love to hate, Mark Twain, Rebekah Loper

My pick for my classics rant is… probably a tad controversial (similar to Lissa’s pick with Invisible Man).

A Classic I Loathe:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I’ve heard great things over the years about Mark Twain’s stories. Some of his books are still on my ‘want to read’ list, such as The Prince and the Pauper. I picked up The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn years ago because I’d heard that they were some of the best American literature (and Wishbone made it sound like a neat story!)

I didn’t make it very far, and what I came away with was a lasting impression of:

Mark Twain is why the rules about dialogue tags, and using dialect and colloquialism in fiction, exist. 

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