Thursday, July 31, 2014

World Building in the Hellequin Chronicles Series by SteveB McHugh

It's not every day that you get a right n' proper Englishman on your blog (though I don't know how he'd feel about me calling him "right n' proper"!). 

I'm happy to have a guest post from fellow 47Norther Steve McHugh today! He's talking about world building in the Hellequin Chronicles series, which you can scope out here. Give him some 'merican love!


Book 3 of The Hellequin Chronicles
I’ve just finished writing the 4th book in the Hellequin Chronicles series. It’s called Prison of Hope, and settling in to write another story about Nate Garrett was simple. He’s been in my head for years, so at this point, I can switch him on and off without too many problems.

After I finished PoH I pondered what to do next. I need to write book 5 for my publisher, but I’ve had ideas for several other series in my head for some time. So I set about working on one of them, giving myself the month of July to get it at least started and the story resolved.

I should probably point out now, that the Hellequin books take place in our world, albeit one of magic and abilities. The book I began working on was different in a number of ways.

1. It wasn’t set on earth.
2. It was in 3rd person not 1st.
3. There were 5 main characters.

It was more than I’d done before, and I dove into it. I worked on the geography of the world, the people who lived there, why some countries didn’t like others, their history and religion. It was an enormous amount of work, and I’m still doing it, I still find something interesting that needs to be researched or worked on to ensure it fits in the world I’ve created.

The main characters were much easier to form, and my original story morphed over time as the characters began to live inside my head. This in turn would make me question even more about the world they lived in. It was world building on a level I’d never needed to do before, and it was brilliant fun.

Yes it was difficult, sometimes frustrating when I couldn’t figure out the exact thing I was trying discover, those tiny details that make the story come to life for the reader, and yes it mean lots of days pouring over research books. But as the world takes more and more shape, as those who live upon it become more and more real to me, the story is all the better for it.

World building is long, hard work. I’ve done it in Hellequin to various degrees, but never to the extent I needed to do it for this new series. And I have to say, it was worth every single second. And hopefully that work I put in will be recognised by people who one day read the book and enjoy their time in my newly created world.


Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel that was publishable, the results of which was the action-packed Urban Fantasy, Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexbrough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.


  1. Those details are important. That's what makes the setting like a character, something the readers can connect with. It is a balancing act as authors can put in so many details that the story stalls, but overall the story is enriched. The process of writing it can be frustrating but invigorating. Glad you're having fun with it!

    1. I am have fun, which is the most important part of writing. I agree it's a difficult balance to get the right amount of details, too much and it bogs down a story, too little and the world feels underdeveloped. Hopefully I've found that nice balance. We'll see.

  2. I've always admired authors who can pull off several main characters in one story- I have a hard enough time w/one! =) Nice to meet you and your books, Steve!

    1. Thanks very much. Writing multiple characters is a bit weird, but so far it's not been too hard as they're all quite different. Fingers crossed it stays not too hard. :)


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