I remember when I first discovered Patricia Wrede’s work. I was browsing through our local used bookstore, McKay Used Books, and I came across her book Dealing with Dragons. I was beginning to dabble in my own original fiction at the time and was enchanted with anything that had dragons. I was particularly interested in stories where dragons were sentient and good guys rather than evil.
I loved the book. Her characters were intriguing (the idea of a princess as a dragon’s chef amused me quite a lot) and the world building was excellent. It charmed me.
After I finished it, I was curious what other books she had written. I searched on Google and I found her world building guide. My eyes bulged. It was a comprehensive list of everything that the aspiring writer needed to create a living fictional world. I had never seen such a detailed guide before. I remember looking over the lengthy list of questions about building a world. I wondered how I could ever measure up. All I originally was interested in was the section on magic and magical system creation, but even that was far more detailed than I expected. I printed out a copy of the guide and put it in a yellow folder. I thought the brightness of the folder would help keep me from losing it as easily as I lose everything else.
It worked for awhile.
Then I lost it and reprinted. And found the old one eventually. I finally figured out that having it on paper wasn’t really necessary, but that having it saved in a file I could easily refer to was much better. So that’s where it is now.
From Ms. Wrede, I learned just how much thought, time, and effort goes into building the setting for the plot when more often than not, the plot receives the bulk of attention. I’m sure I’m not the only author she’s influenced.
Wishing you a happy birthday, Ms. Wrede! I hope it’s a great one!