Sunday, October 2, 2011

Alberta Ross Talks About Not Following Rule One and Giveaway

Gladiator's Pen welcomes guest Alberta Ross to the ludus. Thanks to parents who gave her a love for reading, music, and a curiosity of the world around her she became a world traveler for the first part of her life. For the second stage of her life she found a thirst of knowledge, and  the time has come for Alberta to share all of that though her pen with prose.

Alberta has penned the first two books of The Sefuly Chronicles, Ellen's Tale and The Storyteller's Tale. Today she will be sharing some of the wisdom she has gleamed from her writing experience.

So pour a cuppa and enjoy your reading then be sure to comment for your chance to win one or both books of The Sefuly Chronicles. Details will follow Albert's post.

How I didn’t follow rule one
By Alberta Ross

Rule One
 There is a right way to plan a new world, whether on this planet or another, in this time or some other, making sure there is a logic which works for that world.  If it be magical, fantastical or horrific there must be an underlying logic to be able to suspend our reader’s belief.  Some plan it out for months, with complicated notes and graphs.  Having to plot not only the geography of a place but its history, customs and legends as well is hard work but done well is an amazing achievement.  Everything melds and connects and is satisfactory, no holes, no gaps, seamlessly created the right way.

The Wrong Way!! 
 I will tell you about the world I created and the numerous problems that arose, many self-inflicted.  The Sefuty Chronicles are not set in a fantasy world; there is no magic to contend with, no strange beasts to accommodate.  This world is not set on a strange planet that has evolved its own ways.  My world is Earth projected into the future.  The southern part of this world dried up and burnt, whole starving populations began to move north.

We all know about this world, Earth, so logic must be applied even more ruthlessly.  My lack of forward planning became apparent very quickly in the writing.  It wasn’t so much that I was building a world, I was destroying one.

I took away fossil fuel.  We think we know what that would mean: no petrol, so no cars, no gas/electricity for heating and cooling – very unpleasant.  For a short story I might just have got away with it!

Ellen Tale was, of course, meant to be a short story!

However, when we think it through then we can see that the world loses the ability, overnight, to feed the population, well the Western world anyway. 
No man-made fertilisers, no tractors, lorries, ships or planes, no refrigeration. 
How to sow, tend and harvest crops?  How to process foodstuffs?
What would happen then?

I had caused Earth to suffer catastrophic climate change.  My thinking was that very quickly there would be major wars over dwindling resources.  I made all the defenders of land and water make extensive use of landmines.  I was basing the Great Climate Change Wars of my invented world’s history on the wars I have witnessed in 60+ years and projecting them only a little further into the future.  2060 is not so far away!

So now I have a starving world, wrecked by war, and a decimated population.  Everything, as I said before, is connected.  I removed one aspect of our life, fossil fuel, and added one, climate change; but one thing cannot be changed without a cascading fall of domino-like consequences.

In Ellen’s Tale, Ellen was the link between the City and a village.  As the short story expanded I found I was in trouble again because I did not know what to expect in each place.  Back to drawing board big time.  I had to stop halfway through and have a major rethink.

Because of the back history, these two places had been separated by major warfare and isolated from each other for fifty years.  I then had to consider how each would have changed socially and culturally.  How much of what we know now would change by 2111?  Without the planning at the beginning I had painted myself into various corners which proved difficult to get away from. 

For instance
 A village is imprisoned within a ring of landmines and there is no escape for fifty years.  Food is grown but the harvests are completely reliant on external circumstance such as pests, weather and local expertise.
How would our present day social obligations and rules change? 
How would population numbers be controlled?
How would those who cannot contribute to survival be dealt with?
Without contact with any government (remember those dominos, there is no radio, no computer, no communications) who rules the roost? 
How do those in the cities manage?
 There is no fossil fuel to run the infrastructure.  Warmth, food, security at the moment all rely on fuel, and so the list of cascading dominoes goes on.
Food supplies to large urban areas rely on transport links.
Enormous populations crowded into small areas are a sneeze away from pandemics – our healthcare services rely on fossil fuel.

By the time The Storyteller’s Tale, the sequel, was started I had made my plans, organised my histories, started the different cultures and begun to really think through the consequences of my actions.  I know my world well now but I have had to untangle myself in the process. 

 Moral of this tale?  Think it through in great depth before you start and
 Apply rule 1) at all times!

Now for some Giveaway fun!
Here are the details for Alberta's Book Tour Give away
 Every comment to her blog tour gives you one chance to win, so find all her tour stops and make sure you say hello. You can get EXTRA entries by mentioning the tour on Twitter, Facebook or your own blog. Just let Alberta know where you've spread the word

At the end of the tour she'll draw 2 winners for the complete series so far and 3 runners up to pick the book of their choice.

Where can you find Alberta Ross and The Sefuty Chronicles?

Alberta’s official website 
where Alberta blogs about writing and self publishing
blogging about anything she fancies
Alberta can be followed on Twitter at

1 comment:

Eden Baylee said...

Love that two of my blog hopping buddies are together on Elise's great site. Good tips for world building Alberta, and congrats on your ongoing book tour.