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Posts Tagged ‘Inara Scott’

Today we welcome YA author Inara Scott.  Steamed is playing host to her today as part of her blog tour for her new release THE MARKED.

Inara Scott is a writer, lawyer, teacher, mother, and coffee-addict currently growing mold in the beautiful (but rainy) Pacific Northwest. Inara writes for teens in her paranormal young adult series The Talents, and also writes paranormal and contemporary adult romance. You can find her latest release, THE MARKED (book 2 of the Talents series) on Amazon or at her favorite indie bookstore, Powell’s. Inara firmly believes in magic and fairy tales, and doesn’t think happily ever after is the least bit unrealistic.

Inara loves to hear from readers; you can find her on Twitter (@inarascott) or Facebook far more than is healthy. For contact information, event schedules, her blog, and much more, check out www.inarascott.com.

Something Old, Something New…World-Building in Fantasy/Sci-Fic

By Inara Scott

If you were to ask me what the essential components of a great fantasy/science fiction story were, I’d say 1) world-building, 2) world-building, 3) characters, and 4) world-building.

Okay, that might be a bit of exaggeration, sort of like a realtor saying that the key to real estate is location, location, location. But honestly, I think it’s true.

Every novel needs great characters and a compelling conflict/plot. I take that as a given. But fantasy/sci-fi readers (and I throw steampunk and paranormal readers under that heading) are looking for something beyond that. If they just wanted conflict and characters, they’d go read contemporary fiction.

They want more. They want a new world.

So what does great world-building entail? Here are my essential elements to building a compelling world in fiction: something old, something new, something borrowed, something true.

(Ha! Bet you didn’t see that last one coming!)

1) Something Old: Great world building often starts with something familiar. It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you are asking people to come with you on a journey to a new world, you’ve got to give them something to hang onto. As readers, we need to empathize with characters and imagine ourselves in the middle of the story. If writers don’t give us a hook we can grasp, feel, and emotionally connect to, they’re in big trouble.

This works in two ways. I talk about familiar tropes in (3) below, but here I’m talking about the world of the senses. In DRAGONFLIGHT, by Anne McCaffrey (my favorite book of all time), her characters drink a pungent, bracing, hot liquid called “klah” (which immediately reminds us of coffee). In Harry Potter, your journey to Hogwarts starts with a subway tunnel. Steampunk effortlessly combines real, familiar objects like goggles, wrenches, and airships, with all manner of fantastical elements.

2) Something New: Note to writers: if you simply recycle an old plot and familiar world, you’re finished. Great sci-fi/fantasy writers give their world something new and different. Harry Potter is a series of unexpected bits of creativity and complexity. Every book adds new creatures and new magic. Anne McCaffrey’s thread was something horrific falling from the skies—a threat to humanity that no one had ever seen. I loved Suzanne Lazear’s INNOCENT DARKNESS for all of her wonderful, creative details, including the inseparable connection between Human and Fey worlds.

3) Something Borrowed: Like “something old” this is the way you ground readers in something familiar, while you take them on a journey to somewhere new. Familiar tropes are essential to sci-fi and fantasy because they are an anchor for the reader while traveling in a new and strange world. If you don’t believe me, try this: how many books about an abandoned/abused/orphaned child, who discovers he/she is the savior of the world, can you name? (I’ll start you off with Harry Potter, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series). In sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal romance, how about the ordinary girl whose spunk and spark attracts the attention of the most beautiful/tormented/alpha male/powerful creature ever to live? (Can you say Twilight, Hush Hush, Shiver, every werewolf story ever written?).

Tropes aren’t evil or bad, though they can obviously become a crutch for a lazy writer. The key is combining the trope with something new, so the reader doesn’t feel like they’re treading the same road they’ve been down before. Take what’s old and make it new. A seemingly impossible task, but one writers have been working at for centuries.

4) Something True: Once you’ve got all the ingredients, you’ve got to mix them up right. The world must fit together seamlessly, in a way that feels natural, safe, and true to the reader. As a writer, you must demand absolute consistency. No cheating. You can’t solve a major plot bunny by creating a magical new gift for a character. The “rules” of the world must be internally accurate. If you’ve got magic, you’ve got to explain why and how people use it. If magic can be used to solve one problem, you’ve got to explain why it can’t be used to solve another problem. Push yourself to go beyond the convenient and easy answers to make sure you’ve created something true. If you do, readers will follow you anywhere you want to go.

~Inara Scott

www.inarascott.com

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Welcome back for day #3 of the Halloween Author Invasion. Come back every day for a new Halloween blog post and a new chance to win a great prize.

October 26 — Young Adult Author Inara Scott
October 27 — Paranormal Romance Author Jacquelyn Frank
October 28 — Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Today our blog is invaded by paranormal YA author Inara Scott. She’s talking about Kick-Ass Halloween Costumes and giving away a copy of her book Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

Inara Scott is the author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, a young adult paranormal mystery featuring a kick-ass heroine who would much rather be blowing things up than working on her makeup. You can find her at www.inarascott.com, and on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t worry, there aren’t other Inara Scotts out there. You’ll find her.

Kick Ass Halloween Costumes
by Inara Scott

If you’ve visited a costume shop recently, you’ve no doubt realized that adult women are supposed to be “sexy” on Halloween. Almost everything I saw on the rack took a seemingly normal outfit and added the word sexy in front of it to make it a Halloween costume. Sexy police officer! Sexy cheerleader! Sexy nurse! Sexy Eskimo! (Seriously, sexy Eskimo? Are you kidding me? When’s the last time whale blubber and long underwear were sexy?)

Now, here’s the thing: I love dressing up and I love costumes. Seeing the little girls dressed up like faeries and princesses is one of my favorite parts of Halloween. I even enjoy getting a little princess-ey myself when the occasion presents itself. I don’t have a tiara, but I have been known to wear high heels and show a little cleavage when I’m going out with the hubby on date night. So I have nothing against pretty, sexy costumes. But sexy without creativity doesn’t do it for me. And I’d like a little variety, okay? And if it isn’t too much to ask, I’d like to see some “kick-ass” in front of some of those outfits, instead of just sexy.

I think this must appeal to all you steampunkers, because if one thing defines steampunk, it is definitely kick-ass.

Am I right?

I thought so. 🙂

I’d like us all to muse for a moment on what it would mean if Halloween costumes for women were all about the kick-ass. Kick-ass nurse. Kick-ass cheerleader. Kick-ass Eskimo. I think, first of all, you’d have to raise the neckline on these outfits, because it would be very hard to focus on ass kicking while falling out of your top.

Next step, let’s see some real weapons, okay? Give that Eskimo a nice long spear, the cheerleader could use a brass knuckle tucked into her pom-poms, and the nurse? Well, it makes me shudder, but there’s a lot of damage to be done with a syringe.

Now for footwear. You’ve got your boots ready, right? I want to see something stomp-worthy here. No slippers or heels (unless they are razor sharp and ready for action). I want to see Doc Martins, combat boots, and lots of leather and laces.

Finally, let’s talk for a minute about color. I’m okay with the occasional pink, but let’s mix it up a little. This Halloween let’s go bold; channel your inner Wonder Woman and find some red, blue and gold. While we’re on the subject, a pair of indestructible bracelets and lasso of truth might be in order. But make sure that leotard isn’t going fall off if you raise your arms above your head, okay? Thanks.

So, to repeat: this Halloween let’s just say no to sexy nurses and head straight for the superheroes. I want to see weapons, boots, and bold colors. No weenies need apply.

~Inara Scott
www.inarascott.com

What superhero would you like to dress up as one day? One lucky poster wins a copy of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

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Happy Monday.

First off, I’m going to be teaching an online class on writing Steampunk, November 1-30, 2010. Details here.

Second off, it’s time to announce the winner of the ARC of Arthur Slade’s The Dark Deeps.

Drumroll please….

~*~*~*MARIA BROWN*~*~*~

Maria, you have won the ARC.  Congrats!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

Now for today’s big news…

I have been busily planning a new event for you.

From October 24-October 31 Steamed! will be invaded.

That’s right, for eight days, eight fabulous non-steampunk authors will invade this blog to entertain you with Halloween-themed blog posts and plying you with treats. So join us for daily contests, tricks, treats, and spooky mayhem.

The lineup:

YA paranormal author Tera Lynn Childs
YA contemporary author Simone Elkeles
Paranormal Romance author Jacquelyn Frank
Contemporary Romance author Charlene Sands
Debut YA paranormal author Inara Scott
Paranormal romance author Maggie Shayne
Urban Fantasy author Jeanne Stein
Debut YA Fantasy Author Ednah Walters

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