Today I’m excited to share my spot on the blog tour for Rise to Glory the brilliant new epic litRPG fantasy novel that’s out now and exclusive to audible! I want to say a quick thank you to Anne Choudhary from Midas for the chance to listen to the book and be a part of this blog tour. I’ll be sharing my review of this book in the future when I’ve finished listening to it, although I have to say it’s already got me hooked! 😀 But today, as part of the blog tour, I am delighted to be able to share with you a guest post from the author Alex Knight about how he builds the worlds in his books.
Tell Stories Through Your World-Building
World-building is a super personal thing and there’s no wrong way to do it. I do have a preferred way to do it, though:
Seriously, that’s it.
Crafting entire worlds, vast continents, deep cultures — and varied peoples to inhabit them all — is a lot of work. It’s not gonna be easy, but it can be fun. And if you enjoy the process, the end product is going to be better.
That’s why when I world-build, I focus on bringing in as many elements that speak to me as possible. They might be ideological, geographical, thematic, anything! All that matters is they have a relevance that interests and excites me.
Rise to Glory is a good example of this. The book itself is set in 2035 in Boston, USA. There’s some detail on changes our planet has undergone in that time, but the real (in-text) world wasn’t my focus so much as the in-game world. The fantasy realms the characters encounter while playing the story’s central game: Exalt Online.
In the story, the characters compete in a virtual reality gaming tournament called The Glory. This tournament has three rounds and for each, competitors are dropped into a new land, or arena. These arenas are several square miles in size, and were where I focused most on telling stories through world-building.
I’m only going to cover round one for now, but it does sound fun to explain my logic for the other two at some point. Anyway…
Round one takes place in a Sahel-inspired region. The geographical inspiration for this was pretty simple: I wanted to focus on a lesser-known biome. This way, I got to learn more about it while researching and I could share some of that with readers.
As defined by Wikipedia, Sahel is: “the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.” Put simply, it’s an area where desert is turning into savanna. I found that transition interesting. So interesting, in fact, it inspired the whole story of round one’s arena.
In our real world, the Sahara is expanding south, furthering the desertification of Africa. Envisioning a continent overtaken by desert is a rough image, and it’s what I tried to create in round one’s arena.
The arena’s central point is a (now dried up) oasis and a town that had thrived around it. With the oasis drying and increasingly desert-like conditions setting in, the entire region has been thrown into tumult. The locals have tried to find solutions, ranging from outrunning the expanding desert, trying to trek through it to the rumored paradise beyond, or, for some, turning to dark magic to forcefully adapt everyone to survive in their altered home.
The result of all this is the world the characters are dropped into. A mostly dry, deserted region with a crumbling town at its center, populated only by those who were left behind when the rest of the population moved on. And, of course, one particularly desiccated sorcerer and his army of “converted.”
I won’t spoil how everything plays out, or the exact nature of the “converted,” but I think this sort of set up is a fun way to tell stories through world-building. Most of what I wrote above isn’t explicitly stated in Rise to Glory. It’s delivered in observations, snippets of local history, and, of course, a string of clues the characters follow.
The Sahel being in the process of transitioning from savanna to desert was a chilling though to me, but also one interesting enough to inspire a whole arena in Rise to Glory.
When you do your world-building, have fun with it. Find something that fascinates you, and chase it. There’s no telling where you’ll end up… and that’s the best part!
About the book
RISE TO GLORY is LitRPG meets HUNGER GAMES and CBS’s SURVIVOR, featuring powerful classes and in-depth game mechanics in a brutal, survival-based fantasy world.
Welcome to The Glory – the world’s biggest VR tournament.
In front of millions of viewers, teams compete in a battle royale where they clear dungeons, complete quests and slay other players in a race to score the most points.
The winners are instant celebrities, and it’s time Bash the Berserker joined their ranks. One win away from going pro, his dreams of fame, fortune and that iced coffee sponsorship are finally coming true…until he’s kicked off his team mere hours before registrations close.
With everything on the line, Bash manages to cobble together a new rag-tag team. A washed-up semi-pro who hates his guts, a talented analyst who’s never actually competed and a streamer whose ego is only surpassed by her love of throwing swords.
Oh, and if they want to earn their glory, Bash will have to trade in his war hammer and play as a three-foot-tall, tree-hugging elf….
About the Author
Alex Knight grew up a sun-baked, outdoorsy Floridian and has lived in several places around the world. As an author of LitRPG and Fantasy his work includes the Nova Online Trilogy. In the past Alex has worked as everything from a dish washer at Busch Gardens to the Communications Coordinator at the Florida Attractions Association. After deciding he didn’t like stability or predictable pay checks he made the jump to being a freelance writer. Soon that turned into ghost-writing romance novellas, then ghost-writing full-blown science fiction novels, and finally, writing his own books.
Thank you Alex for a wonderful look into how you build the in-game worlds of your books, and I do hope you have all enjoyed this stop on the blog tour for Rise to Glory. Please do check out the book, it’s got a brilliant narrator and several chapters in I’m already hooked! 😀 And don’t forget to check out the earlier stops on the tour too! 🙂
What do you think of this book? Do you like litRPG? What about fantasy stories in general? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂