Indie Author Weekly

110: How to create a world around your story

May 04, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 111
Indie Author Weekly
110: How to create a world around your story
Chapters
Indie Author Weekly
110: How to create a world around your story
May 04, 2021 Episode 111
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wondered how to create a whole world around your story, beyond the novel itself? That’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to find out 5 ideas for how to create an entire WORLD around your story (beyond the novel itself)...  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:

Let's chat about this episode:

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered how to create a whole world around your story, beyond the novel itself? That’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to find out 5 ideas for how to create an entire WORLD around your story (beyond the novel itself)...  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:

Let's chat about this episode:

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow (or @Saganlives on Twitter & Instagram), and I am a productivity strategist and an author of polyamorous romcoms.

Now, have you ever wondered how to create a whole world around your story, beyond the novel itself? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share a few ways to make your story bigger than the novel itself.

When I first began writing the Polyamorous Passions romantic comedy series, I knew right away that I didn’t want to “just” write a 9-book series. I wanted to build an entire world around it. The ideas that I’m sharing here are all concepts that I’ve had since before the first book in the series was even published. 

Because… Why not think bigger? This way, your readers can get more of what they already love from you, and you get to hang out with your favourite characters and inside this incredible world you’ve built for as long as you like. Win-win!

Okay. So here are 5 different elements to creating the world around your story: 

First, you start with the core story: characters, places, concept of your story, and the general world and environment it’s set in. Basically, you start with the actual novel itself.

Then, second, you might want to consider writing spin-off stories: these could be other stories set in the world, such as full-length novels and/or short stories. For example, my upcoming romcom, Small Town Stilettos, is a spin-off from the Polyamorous Passions series. Small Town Stilettos features the main characters from Polyamorous Passions in just a couple of the chapters, and otherwise, it is its own story. 

I love the idea of writing a wide variety of books that are all set in the same universe, with some overlap of characters dipping in and out. So you can definitely expect to get a lot more of that in the future!

By the way—you can get details on what all of those stories are about and choose whichever plot interests you the most at SaganMorrow.com/books.

Third, you might want to design real-life products: for example, books and t-shirts mentioned in the world. In one of my Polyamorous Passions books, Scarlett gives Emma a t-shirt that says “Relationship Rebel” on it. And I created that shirt in real life! I actually wear mine all the time. I love it. It’s a great shirt, and in a way, it also helps me feel closer to my characters. It makes their stories that much more REAL, to have something in real life that comes straight from the books themselves.

Fourth, building on that last one, you could create merch: for example, pens, tote bags, t-shirts, and so on. These could be things mentioned in your novels, or they could simply feature the title of your book or a quote from your story. You can then sell these to people. So, the “Relationship Rebel” shirt that I wrote into a story and then created for myself to wear is actually available for you to buy, too! You can get the shirt at SaganMorrow.com/shop

By the way, you can get other merch there, including pens that say “Make your own rules,” which is the tagline of the Polyamorous Passions series. When you visit SaganMorrow.com/shop, you can also get mugs that say “Opportunist,” shirts that say “Miss Time Management” and “Dancer Darling,” and a few other slogans which are all directly based on scenes from the Polyamorous Passions series. 

So you can see how, even though these examples of merchandise don’t actually appear directly in the books, they’re all inspired by the books—and in that way, readers will totally get the inside jokes, PLUS it’s a cool way to embody the elements of the stories and the ones that resonate most with you.

For example, if you love dancing or are a professional burlesque dancer like Scarlett, then you might want the “Dancer Darling” shirt. Or, if you are a total queen of time management like Emma, then you might want the “Miss Time Management” shirt.

And fifth, expansion: In this instance, you’re expanding even bigger. This could be something like working on turning your novel into a radio show, a play, a movie, or a TV show… or it could be something like creating a teaching webinar or doing speaking engagements at conferences, which would be a good fit for a non-fiction book… or it could be something like creating a community like a Facebook group for readers of your story… or it could involve creating playlists for your novel, which I’ve done for all of my books (you can actually check out the complete Polyamorous Passions playlist on Spotify at SaganMorrow.com/polypassionsplaylist), or it could be something like documenting your author journey on a podcast, like Indie Author Weekly. 

So, there you go: 5 different aspects you can try for creating a world for your story. To recap: 

  1. The core story in your novel
  2. Spin-off books and short stories
  3. Real-life products based on products that are mentioned in your story
  4. Merchandise promoting your books
  5. Expansion and behind-the-scenes options

I’m sure there are many other options for crafting a whole world and making your story bigger than the novel itself, but those are a few starting points. Have fun with it! 

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.