Guest Posts

Guest Post from Emily Victoria on Worldbuilding

One of my favorite elements of This Golden Flame was the world building. So when I contacted Victoria and her and she wanted to do a post on WORLD BUILDING. It was a match made! Keep reading if you want to read an interesting and wonderful post on World Building!


An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible?she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father?their nation’s greatest traitor?once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Guest Post

Hello everyone! My name is Emily Victoria and I’m so excited to be doing a guest post for Utopia State of Mind. I’m going to be talking about my favorite component of writing: world-building.

As a bit of background, my debut novel This Golden Flame just came out this past February. The story is set in a world of automatons, Script magic, and rebellion. As such, I knew there would be quite a bit of world-building that needed to be done in order to make it feel like a well-built, fully cohesive world.

For me, whenever I first begin to build my story world from the ground up, I always like to start with some brainstorming sessions. I usually do this long-hand in a notebook and I will write down whatever comes to mind, with no real rhyme or reason. Anything interesting or cool or practical that I think I might use goes into the notebook. I’ll do this until I believe I have a critical mass of ideas to work with (which is usually pages and pages). From there I’ll start paring down to what’s actually pertinent to the story and what I think I’ll actually end up using.

For This Golden Flame I knew right from the beginning that there were some components that I wanted to include. I knew the setting was going to be loosely inspired by by Ancient Greece (and I say loosely because I did want quite a bit of leeway to build the world as I wanted). I knew I wanted inhuman creatures included in the story, since the character arc of one of the central characters was going to be based around him figuring out exactly who and what he was. I also knew I wanted a writing- and book-based magic system (because, let’s be honest, books are magic).

It was these ideas that gave birth to the land of Eratia, an archipelago of islands with a deadly history, to automatons, and to the Scriptoriums and the magic system of the Script itself (and yes, I did lift the concept of the Scriptoriums from medieval Europe).

These were the basic building blocks of my story that I wanted included, but it was really the brainstorming that made everything work together. Because that is the big challenge in worldbuilding. Pieces of a story’s world cannot stand on their own. Either the world makes sense as a whole, or it doesn’t make sense at all.

In my book, this led to questions like, how did the Scriptorium use the Script to control the automatons? What did the Script actually look like? What would automatons be used for in a world of islands and ships? Would the Script look different from country to country? The answers to these questions had to fit together like puzzle pieces, which is one of the reasons why I love worldbuilding so much. Figuring out that puzzle is just so fun and rewarding.

And, of course, that doesn’t happen all at once. Though I got the bulk of my worldbuilding ideas from my initial brainstorming sessions, the world of Eratia was something that was changing up until the very last round of edits. Even as the author, I was discovering new shades and flavors to the world right until the end.

For anyone who reads This Golden Flame, I hope you enjoy my story of automatons and magic. And thank you again to Utopia State of Mind for hosting me!

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About Emily Victoria

Credit: Rebecca Orr

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

Author website:

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale


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