Saturday, September 3, 2011

Skyship Academy Blog Tour: World Building & Giveaway

I'm so excited to have author Nick James here with us today. His book The Pearl Wars: Skyship Academy is out September 8th from Flux.

This debut is all kinds of awesome! Order a copy for yourself at: 

Or you can win an extra special below for details!

The Story: A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

Skyship Academy World Building: 

World-building was an enormous part of the writing process with SKYSHIP ACADEMY. I wanted a world that was completely different than our own, but with enough familiar elements to seem plausible and invite, rather than alienate, the reader. 

On my first draft, the world was not particularly developed. The basics were there, sure, but I really wanted to focus on story initially. Personally, I can get bogged down with too much world-building right off the bat. World-building is best when it serves the story. The vast majority of mine usually comes in a first revision, once I know what aspects of the world will best connect with the conflict and characters.

The most important thing that I discovered when I was building my world is that nothing is going to seem real without connections. You can have the coolest idea for a city or community or location, but if you don’t understand how it connects with everything else in the story’s world, it’s not going to mean anything. With this being said, I was really interested in having a “triangle of conflict,” so to speak. In the world of SKYSHIP, there are three major factions and they each interact with each other differently. I created the icon below to display this in a visual way. A rough doodle of this triangle existed in my notes throughout the revision process, always prompting me to think about how these three factions connected. This, above all, spurred the creation of my world.  Just as relationships between characters are important, so is the relationship between pieces of the world. 

Once the connections were established, it was time to get all the information across in the manuscript without the dreaded info dump. That’s where craft comes in, and it’s not easy. No reader wants to endure pages and pages about random inner workings of the world. Story is always more important. Yet, with SKYSHIP, there was so much to know! Luckily the story’s told through two different perspectives (and two different writing styles), which made info-weaving (rather than info-dumping) much easier. I think it’s always important to have a couple characters, preferably on opposing sides of a conflict, to narrate the workings of the world in a natural way.  Anytime I could get important information out in dialogue, action or entertaining narration, I knew I was doing well. I have pages of world details sitting in notebooks, but only about half of those details actually made it into the book. As an author, it’s important to know as much about your world as possible, but readers don’t want a blow-by-blow description. It’s all about creating an illusion and striking the balance: enough to make the world seem real but not so much that it bogs down the story.

To sum it up, the three golden rules I kept turning back to during my writing:

1. Connections, connections, connections!

2. The world should serve the story, not the other way around

3. Info-weaving rather than info-dumping

If you’re interested in learning more about the world of SKYSHIP, check out the On the Fringes blogs on the tour! The first was two days ago at Laura’s Review Bookshelf and the next will be on the 5th at Overflowing Shelf!

How it works: Throughout the tour's 15 stops, there will be 8 clues scattered on the blogs.  Make sure you go to every stop on the tour so you can find the clues. These clues spell out a secret coordinate and you need this coordinate so you can win on the last stop of the tour. That stop will be at Frenzy of Noise

What you can win: A supplemented copy of the book with a bonus Skyship diagram and bonus chapter or annotations. Trust me, you want this! 

I have Clue #3: Every Sunday on the Skyship Academy Facebook page, the Academy Database is updated with a new term from the book. On Sunday, July 10th, “The Chute” was featured. Each entry has a three digit number attached to it. Fill in the blank and that’s today’s piece of the coordinates! Academy Database: Entry 01_

 **Also, be sure to follow along for tomorrow's stop at Emily's Reading Room for more Skyship Academy awesomeness! 

And if you click on the banner below it will take you to the blog tour's site at Frenzy of Noise with all the fun details for this tour and giveaway. Have fun! 


  1. They are really making us work for this one aren't they!!?

  2. I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds amazing! I'm adding it to my TBR list!

    New Follower :-)



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