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Guest Post: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

The wonderful Jeyn Roberts is here today to share her"World Building and Inspiration" for her book Dark Inside.

The sequel, Rage Within, will be released September 4th from Simon & Schuster.

World Building and Inspiration
Dystopia ‘An imaginary place where everything is as bad as possible’ Concise Oxford Dictionary
As we draw closer to the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in December 2012, a surge of new Young Adult literature has taken the market by storm. Although dystopian is an existing genre, it’s newfound popularity has grown over the past year.

World building in dystopian can put forth new challenges to both the writer and the reader. Most dystopian is set in the future. The author has the ability to create a rich and dark reality based on how they perceive the future to be. Dystopian by nature is bleak. It’s the exact future people hope will never occur.

It is the world that sets the novel. The writer's ability is to invent history and create a turn of events that leads to the new future. Without these detailed descriptions, the genre would lose its intellectual interest for both writer and reader.

One of the particular challenges in writing YA fiction is the ability to keep the reader interested while building this invented history. Can a writer successfully create an world, rich in necessary detail, which will not bore the teenager? At what point does world building lose its plot tension and start sounding more like a history text?

When I created the world of Dark Inside, I wanted to create a world that was rich in detail and full of horror. But also a world that had hope and goodness. From the very first page I knew I wanted to focus on four characters. I didn't want to limit myself to just one corner of the world. This is how Michael, Mason, Clementine and Aries came into existence. Four characters from four separate parts of North America.

But I didn't want to end it there. In order to create a realistic story, I needed to go further. So I came up with Nothing who is able to fill the reader in on what's happening with the rest of the world. He knows what's going on. He may not always be clear about it but he gives away hints. People killing all over the world. In England. Europe. Asia. Mexico. Everywhere.
A global epidemic.

It starts with earthquakes. It hits the Pacific coast and most of Asia. Shortly after that, communications disappear and everyone is pretty much left in the dark. Then the Baggers appear in all areas around the globe and suddenly everyone is dying. That's how they succeed. They're in our military, our police force, schools, government--in short, they're everywhere. By attacking everything at once, they were able to keep us from getting organized.

I had to be careful. Destroying a world isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. People aren't fooled. I had to cover all areas. Did I succeed? I don't think so. haha There are always areas that could be improved on. Every now and then I'll come up with new ideas and wish I could go back and edit some more.
That's the problem with world building. No matter how much you work at it, there's always bound to be a few flaws.

As for inspiration, I was lucky. I was living in Daejeon, South Korea at the time and feeling very isolated. I didn't know many people. I only spoke a little Korean. I had a lot of free time on my hands. So I spent a lot of evenings in the coffee shop writing. I was able to draw on that isolation and use it in my book.

World building is a real challenge when it comes to writing. It's not just used in dystopian either. All novels are formed around this style. But creating something out of nothing is great fun and I encourage any new writer to take the challenge.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (November 1st, 2011)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 329 pages
Series: Dark Inside, book 1
Since the beginning of mankind, civilizations have fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs… and now us. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening: An ancient evil has been unleashed, and it’s turning everyday people into hunters, killers, and crazies.

This is the world Mason, Aries, Clementine, and Michael are living in—or rather, trying to survive. Each is fleeing unspeakable horror, from murderous chaos to brutal natural disasters, and each is traveling the same road in a world gone mad.

Amid the throes of the apocalypse and clinging to love and meaning wherever it can be found, these four teens are on a journey into the heart of darkness—and to find each other and a place of safety.

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Guest Post: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts + time