Jeffrey is on tour for his scifi book, The End Begins: The Nine, and will be talking with us about world building and how he created the wonderful world in which this story takes place.
Author: Jeffrey Zweig
Title: The End Begins: The Nine
Series: The Trinity Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Alternate History
Published: September, 2011
Available from: Amazon, Smashwords, and Createspace
The Nine. Once an academy for training students in the ways of wizards and alchemists, has become a facility for harvesting the powers of students for study.
Cassarah Telmar escaped the Nine, vowing to bring it down.
But is the choice to live as a slave or to die with freedom one she can make alone?
Guest Post by Jeffrey Zweig
How I came up with the world for The End Begins: The Nine
Thanks Kristine for having me on your blog today!
World building is an essential part of any novel creation. You’re creating the stage for your characters to play in. Out of that can come new ways to evolve your characters and plot in ways you could never imagine! It is your Eden, as it were. Without it, your characters float about in substance-less void.
My situation was a bit unique however. As I state in the forward to my book, The End Begins: The Nine, my story is roughly based on a previous work from my high school days created with a creative writing club. However the world the story was set in was just like I said – a void. You had “The castle” in “the field” with a town or two sprinkled between point A to B. Most of what we had was character driven back story leading up to this McGuffin mission to a castle with no established rules for the kind of characters one could have (and there was A LOT of them, from a wizard, a paladin, a rock giant, a vampire, a half angel/half demon, a jedi, and a green lantern crossed with a thundercat.)
There was no way it would’ve worked. I can't be too harsh though, it was high school fantasies almost a decade old. So I started from scratch and build a new world while holding onto an echo of its predecessor.
• I decided on a parallel world to ours instead of making a world from the ground up. With a base as far as government, laws of physics, etc. to work from the reader didn't have to work as hard to visualize the world and the scenario.
• I am a fan of the Final Fantasy video games (and a. lLot of other games from that 1997 time period) so my fascination with that kind of urban fantasy setting has always intrigued me.
• I used the skeleton of the McGuffin chase but established the various subplots with the Nine and the Coalition to drive the book’s plot.
• I kept to one main character with two supporting: Cass (main character), James, and Caleb. They would serve as the anchors for the different aspects of the world I would create and have to relay to the reader. Gone went the polarizing demi-gods/non-human character types because it didn’t fit. Although I have nods to the base story's original characters woven in I ended up writing almost all original characters (I got limited permission to use some of the characters from the original authors thought I still ended up writing my own material because of how the story took shape).
• When all was said and done, it took about two years development before I had my first draft. And that was just as a novel – I won’t get into trying to make it into a movie and a TV series while in college.
I built the details of the parallel world based on ideas and research of “What ifs?”, like “What if World War II went longer because a certain battle was lost instead of won?”. Another I had was “What would the United States be like be like if independent communities sprouting up in the USA took on much larger roles countrywide?” Sure some of it is my own political/social commentary though honestly I’m not knee deep in that stuff. I observed things of interest and incorporated them into my work. A lot of ideas for expanding and enriching my characters came from this and helped raised it to that fantasy setting.
The question, Iin the end, was “was it worth pulling from decade old material to use to a new book?” Some might say it is, to not waste what was produced. Some would have scrapped it all and started fresh. What I would have to say, which was part of the weight that kept me down, was not to be too reliant on keeping to the past. In the end I had to make 95% of the world and it’s characters myself. I’ll say this much – it’s not for the faint of heart and not for everyone.
Jeffrey Zweig II is the author of the sci/fi urban fantasy novel The End Begins: The Nine and short story anthology Project Nine: A Road of Fate now available online at many fine digital retailers.
What follows in an excerpt from Chapter Nine of The End Begins: The Nine. Cass has already escaped the academy to a small town called Jurgin where she’s taken in as a wanderer. Not long after being given a job, however, some of the locals take the wrong kind of interest in her and her cover is blown.
Excerpt of The End Begins: The Nine
The early morning light of Cass’s fourth day in Jurgin almost blinded her. It was the second day having taken on an overnight shift and the hours were worn on her face. Children with large backpacks passed her, smiling and waving. Some of her other neighbors acknowledged her with a wave, though they seemed to still avoid her despite having blended into their population quite well.
From the street, Cass entered a small diner, very homely and inviting even with a small layer of noticeable dust. Once inside she noticed her other co-workers sat in a booth not far from the front door. She quickly turned away and sat in her own booth. The waitress was quick to come by to take her order. The male co-workers from the other side of the room tried to grab her attention, but she paid little attention and was thankful when her food arrived.
This diner she’d visited since coming to Jurgin specialized in hearty meals of bacon, eggs, and sausage, though she defied the usual for hash browns and eggs. The food was quick to come and she enjoyed the taste and though she only nibbled at the meat, she gorged herself on eggs, potatoes, and toast. Already the feeling crept in that she was losing herself in the local community’s filth at times.
As she tore into a strip of bacon, her glance shifted to the floor, a discarded newspaper sat under her feet. She brought it up to the table when a long article on the side of the newspaper’s face with an image of Skylar and some other Tro-Dey’s greeting the locals of that area the picture was taken, that had a name she had a hard time saying.
Cass scanned the plain-faced type font of the article, which at first caught her off guard to how similar it was to her own. She learned it was an interview given by Skylar, their acting representative, during the Nine’s first visit to Washington. They were interested in expanding their influence to the country in light of the issues the ravaged country had.
The young woman sank in her chair in anguish as one of her co-workers, a six-foot-something rotund man with large, black, and round glasses came and sat at her booth. She didn’t respond to his presence.
“What you readin’?” he asked.
“Nothing in particular,” she lied. He leaned on the table toward her.
“Look, Jass. Let’s face it. No one around here has taken to you too well. I know you’re not from around here and so do most of us. All I’m saying is, you hang with the right people, and things will go easier for you. Just trying to make your life a little easier. I’m sure you can appreciate that, can’t you?”
Dwelling in her personal hell, her vision locked on the paper until the fat man swiped the newspaper from her.
“Are you listening, Jass?” he asked.
Cass shot up from the table. “My name is Cass! C-A-double-S!” Her diamond blue eyes narrowed at him. “I’ve had enough of your insistent meddling in my affairs. I am not going to,” she searched her mind a second for the right word, “fuck? You? Okay? Get found? Lost? Go away! Leave me be,” she threw down some flamboyant currency on the table and left for the door.
The man, with the paper in hand, stood from the booth. Before she made it to the door, two men, the fat man’s lapdogs from his booth, had the door blocked.
“Let me pass.”
“Jass,” the fat man gingerly called to her, “It would be in your best interests if you…”
The moment the fat man put a hand on her shoulder, she kicked into the side of his knee. He yelped an octave higher while his mass crashed to the ground with a loud thud. As the young alchemist’s attention returned to the two men at the door, her face connected with the fist of one of the lapdogs. Disoriented, the other shoved her into the diner’s counter.
As they advanced on her, she groped the counter for a weapon.
Steak knife. Dirty but sharp, she thought, but the lap dog’s greedy hands pinned her against the counter with their strength.
The fat man wobbled to his feet with a face red with anger. She felt his next course of action was going to be a violent one.
There were no options now; she had got in over her head.
Cass willed energy into her hands until they were a hint of red, then grabbed the closest man that held an arm and burned them. He released her, cursing while the skin on his forearm blistered instantly.
When the other tried to restrain her, she landed a quick jab that left knuckle marks in their skin, then released the energy housed in her hand and shot a small fireball into his face. The second lackey was down for the count, their skin was red, blistered and cracked.
But the fat man would not be detoured, and lumbered after her. She brushed her hands as they turned blue against her clothes. Energy crackled along the veins of her hands as she drew it from her torso and double-fisted him in the chest.
The sudden impact knocked the glasses off the large man’s face as he stumbled across the room and crashed into a table while he went into cardiac arrest. The other lackey, with forearms burnt, backed away. Cass stood, bleeding with her power, triumphant.
Then came the stares and shocked faces of the witnesses around her.
Author Bullet Points
• Graduate of Indiana State University Yr. 2008
• Degree in Film Production, emphasis on Creative Writing.
• Interned at Escape Artists (SONY Entertainment) and other Companies
• Provided Screenwriting coverage
• He’s placed in the Semi-Finals for the 13th Annual Fade In Screenplay Competition and made Official Selection for the Cinema City Film Festival.
• Born and Raised in Gary/Merrillville, Indiana. Currently living in Indianapolis.
• Genre focus is Science Fiction/Fantasy with various subgenres.
• Author Influences: China Miéville, Robert A. Heinlein, and Mira Grant.
• A voice over volunteer for the non-profit Reading and Radio Resource.
Born and Raised in the state of Indiana, Jeffrey Zweig II is a self published author of Epic Science Fiction/Fantasy. His degree from Indiana State University, with a background in DIY film production, and internships with various production companies laid the foundation for his creative career and for living life on his terms. He resides in Indianapolis, Indiana living the dream, as they say.
When not writing he volunteers his time remotely with the Dallas based non-profit Reading and Radio Resource, a company specializing in aiding those with disabilities to enjoy literature.
Contact Information and Finding Jeff on the Web
• His Blog: Stories of the Sleepless Mind (www.storiesofthesleeplessmind.blogspot.com)
• His Wiki: Zweig Independent Publications (http://zweigpublications.wikispaces.com/)
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/jzweigii
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jzweigii
• Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jzwegii
The End Begins: The Nine
Book One of the Trinity Trilogy
Can be found on:
Kristine: Thank you, Jeffrey for being here today and sharing your wonderful story with us. I really enjoyed learning about your world-building techniques. The Trinity Trilogy sounds fascinating! Most authors, regardless of the genre they write, need to do some world building. Some do it far more successfully than others.
Readers - What book to you think has the best world building? What did you like about it the most?
Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts :)