Wednesday, 10 December 2014

World-building in Short Fiction & Fantasy Rising

Yesterday was an important day for Untethered Realms. Cherie Reich's short story collection, People of Foxwick, and our first Untethered Realms boxset, Fantasy Rising, were launched. They're both amazing collections and well worth adding to your ebook reader or TBR list.

Firstly, over to Cherie.

5 Tips for World-building in Short Fiction
by Cherie Reich

World-building in short stories is as important as in novel-length stories, but with a limited number of words in short fiction, it’s hard to know how much is too much or too little. Here are five tips for building the world within your short fiction.

1. Be concise. You only have so many words to create characters, plot, and setting. Use them to your advantage.

2. Use dialogue to showcase the world. The way people speak says a lot about them. Do they have sayings that relate to their world or particular terms for things? Adding in dialect and the like can tell the reader not only who the character is but where they are.

3. Create powerful descriptions. Focus on strong nouns and verbs. Short fiction doesn’t allow many lengthy descriptions, but the ones you use should show the world around the characters.

4. Explore the world you’re creating. All of the world-building won’t show up in the story, but let your mind wander and learn about your characters, their history, and where they live.

5. Leave the backstory to behind the scenes. Just because you know what happened in your world fifty years ago doesn’t mean it belongs in the story. Focus more in the moment and sprinkle any backstory sparingly in short fiction.

Have you written a short story before?

The kingdom hangs in the balance.

War threatens Foxwick on all sides.

The dreaded Shadowlands gains more souls. From the shrouded trees in Greymist Forest to the arid Blackden Barrens, monsters roam in search of their next victim. Sirens lure ships beneath Merrilea Sea. In cold and snowy Wintermill, royals plot to claim Foxwick as their own, even if they must use dragons and sorcery. Marriage between Foxwick’s king and Lochhollow’s princess creates a perilous alliance. Although brave Valdale will come to Foxwick’s aid, the cost may be more than a true friend can stomach.

Set over a hundred years, these seventeen fantasy short stories explore the people, creatures, and lands in and around the Kingdom of Foxwick.

Add on Goodreads here.
Available in print and e-formats!

About the author:

Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Once upon a Nightmare, a science fantasy collection titled Fall of Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is the vice president of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.

Congratulations, Cherie. Short fiction is still my favourite form of writing, so your thoughts on world-building really resonated with me. I can't wait to lose myself in this collection. 

Fantasy Rising

A collection of nine fantastic, spine-tingling  stories. Magic. Mystery. Murder. Heartbreak and Hope. Defeat and Victory. The incredible and the Horrific. Fantasy Uprising delivers a heaping serving of the best in fantasy.

***On sale for a limited time!***

Available in ebook from:

iTunes / B&N / Kobo

Find it on Goodreads

Reborn by Cherie Reich: To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

Fireseed One by Catherine Stine: On a devastated Earth in 2089, the son of a famous marine biologist must travel to a lethal hotzone with his worst enemy who helped destroy the world’s food source, to search for Fireseed One, a mythical hybrid plant that may not even exist. 

Givin' Up the Ghost by Gwen Gardner: In the haunted modern day medieval village of Sabrina shores, indigo eady must help a ghost solve his murder before she And her gang become the next victims.

The Marquis by Christine Rains: A retired demon must become the beast he loathes to save the woman he loves.

The Alpha by Christine Rains: A werewolf hunted by her pack must find a way hide or fight a battle she believes she cannot win.

The Rifters by M. Pax: In a strange wilderness town, a misplaced city gal must deal with a secret organization, a man from 1888, and a head-stealing phantom to save her missing sister.

Neverlove by Angela Brown: A tormented suicide survivor must find the power in her pain or risk the Devourer robbing her of a second chance to live, a first chance at love, and her very soul.

The Fall of Shaylar by River Fairchild: Magic is real. So is betrayal. Rivalry, jealousy, a desperate attempt to grab the magic of Shaylar—all converge to bring about the end of the precarious balance between the Five Kingdoms.

Diamonds & Dust by River Fairchild: Magic is real. So is betrayal. Two heirs. A Kingdom of dust on a troubled world. One might resurrect it. One might destroy it all.


  1. Congratulations Cherie and to all in the anthology!
    Dialect isn't something I've good at.

    1. Thank you, Alex! Dialect can be hard. I don't like books that are really heavy in dialect because they can be harder to read, so I like sprinkling a little bit, like someone leaving off the H's at the beginning of a word or the G at the end of one.

  2. Your opening paragraph, Cherie, said it all for me. It is so difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out in a full-length novel, but even more so in a short work of fiction. You have less literary 'space' to work in, yet you must convey the full world. Great tips! I've heard lots about this a group of work. Can't wait to read!

    1. Thank you! It can be hard to build a world in a short space, but it can be done. Or at least give the reader a glimpse of the world.

  3. Yay for Cherie! Your world building skills are awesome. Excellent tips. And yes, I have written short stories before. ;)

    1. Aww, thank you, Christine! I keep trying to find ways to expand upon the world-building skills I do have to make them better. I do love thinking up new worlds.

  4. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Ellie!

  5. Great tips for short (and long stories)! :) --Oh that cover is gorgeous! Congrats to Cherie and to all the authors in the collection. That is one awesome collection too.

    1. Thank you! And the tips definitely work for long fiction too. :)

  6. Interesting post. The sign of a good short is that you cannot forget it. As for dialect, that is a tricky one. Irvine Welsh did a terrific job with his local accents because he lived there but, It is too easy to unwittingly stereotype. In fantasy it is easier because no one can hear the original but the author. The best accent writing I have ever seen was in a political cartoon where the Duke of Edinborough is saying trousers but, by spelling it trizers, you can plainly hear the D of E saying it.

    1. Dialect like that can really help clue a reader in on how a word is pronounced, although I must admit if I had read "trizers" for "trousers," I wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about without more description/images.

    2. That is the problem with the written word, 'You say tomato and I say tomato'. Makes no sense unless you sing the song. But how would you write the difference?

  7. Yeah, it's especially tough in a short story. I'm tinkering with that right now. It's sort of like seasoning. You need enough, but not too much and it has to all work together.

  8. Congratulations to all - looks like a very cool boxset. And some great writerly advice there, too. Thanks!


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