“World-Building Wednesdays” is a feature where guest authors drop by once or twice a month to share insight into their world-building strategies. I thought up this idea because I am a freak for world-building, as you may well know. Whether or not someone else has come up with the idea “World-building Wednesdays” before, I do not know. However, I did come up with the idea myself, it just might not be original. That being said, WELCOME TO WORLD-BUILDING WEDNESDAYS!
For previous world-building guest posts, please visit the Author Spotlight page.
Kendall Grey is a rockstar in the indie publishing arena. Her Just Breathe trilogy has been a truly unique experience and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her creative world-building, steamy interactions, poignant characterization and epic villains! She is also a whale supporter and educator and is donating ALL of the proceeds of the trilogy to educating people about whales and the dangers they face.
How I Dreamed up the Dreaming
Thanks to Smash for inviting me to hang out on her kickass blog for this week’s installment of World-Building Wednesday.
My JUST BREATHE trilogy required a LOT of world-building, especially in the first book, INHALE. I created an entire social, religious, and political system for my Elementals and Sentinels, along with a parallel dream world where the main characters spend a big hunk of the story.
One of my biggest challenges in writing this series was providing enough details to keep the reader informed and interested without executing a massive info dump. That’s a tough balancing act! There’s so much to digest, and INHALE is very different from other urban fantasies, which makes it even harder for readers to “get.” The book’s world-building is nowhere near perfect, but I did the best I could to convey the setting and its “rules.” In the event of information overload, I also added a glossary of terms in the back of all three books—just in case.
The Dreaming is the parallel realm where about half of the action in INHALE takes place. It’s a lot like you’d expect—the place people go when they fall asleep. But it also has a spiritual/metaphysical aspect too.
While planning the JUST BREATHE trilogy, I read a lot of Aboriginal Australian stories. I fell in love with their concept of “The Dreaming” or “Dreamtime.” The idea of Ancestral Beings creating the land, plants, animals, and geographic features fascinated me. These stories are a rich source of inspiration for my world.
I also got into Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and worked that into the story. Who’s to say there isn’t some kind of stockpiled human wisdom, innate to every human being, that passes from generation to generation? I envision the Dreaming as the place where all of that collective knowledge, creativity, and intuition evolve. A person can be whoever or whatever they want in the Dreaming, but reality shines through too.
For example, if an Elemental were to get a hold of a person in the Dreaming, the intensity of exposure to the Element could impact the “dream body” in negative ways and cause problems (maybe even death) for the physical body back home in Realis—the real world. A reader once said going into the Dreaming is similar to the human characters from the movie Avatar shifting into Na’vi bodies, and I agree to some extent. The biggest difference is that Realis is a physical place whereas the Dreaming is a metaphysical one.
So, that’s the quick and dirty about where my Dreaming came from. What do you think? Is there a collective wisdom we humans subconsciously share? If so, how does it get passed along—embedded in DNA, or is there a metaphysical component? I’d love to hear your opinions.
Meet Kendall Grey
Kendall Grey is a whale educator and urban fantasy writer. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her ghost husband, a random rainbow, a gossamer-winged fairy, a wild imp, and a ferocious miniature long-haired Dachshund who keeps them all in line. INHALE is the first book in the “Just Breathe” trilogy.
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