#SomethingWickedTour @StaciTroilo @StoryEmpire

Hello everyone. Today is the fifth and final day of the Story Empire Team’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. I hope you’ve all enjoyed following us for the week and seeing what we have to offer.

Today, it gives me great pleasure to host author Staci Troilo, who talks about book 1 in The Astral Conspiracy Series, The Gate.

Writing in a Shared World

Thanks for welcoming me here today, Harmony.

Ciao, amici! Yesterday in the Story Empire Something Wicked tour, I discussed macro- and micro-level details to use when developing a story world.

For me, the next logical progression is to talk about existing story worlds, and how to write in them.

Let me explain.

Most of the time when we write, we create everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Not just the plot and the characters, but the world in which everything happens. Each decision—from the overarching theme to the most minute detail—is ours and ours alone. It can be a bit daunting, especially to a beginning writer, but we get used to it. In fact, much of it becomes second nature and we lose sight of the mechanics behind the scenes. We become blind to both the power of world creation and the responsibility of it. We just do it. (And, hopefully, do it well.)





But there is actually another way to write. One that takes away a lot of the decisions that need to be made, freeing the author to focus solely on plot and character.

That’s writing in a shared world.

Perhaps you’ve heard of author Richard A. Knaak. No? You may have heard of the Diablo books or the Dragonlance Chronicles. I’m sure you’ve heard of World of Warcraft. I heard Knaak speak at a conference in 2012, and it was my first introduction to shared worlds. He said he got his start not by writing a novel in a world he conceived of, but by writing a novel in a world that already existed. He advocated beginning writers try that path if they couldn’t break into publishing otherwise, saying once writers have some titles under their belts, they will find it easier to get a publisher interested in their original works.

It’s actually the path I chose. My first published novel was written in a shared world.

There are pros and cons to doing this.


  • The world already exists, so there’s a built-in fanbase.
  • Many of the details have already been established, so you have far fewer decisions to make.


  • The fans are likely more knowledgeable of the world than you, so mistakes will be noticeable (and likely pointed out in a very public and emphatic way).
  • Many of the details have already been established, so you can’t do whatever you want and have to stick with established canon.

My Astral Conspiracy series takes place in a shared universe. I already know what the aliens look like, how they behave, what their agenda is, and what is going to happen on the grand scale. It was nice having these decisions taken off my shoulders. But there were also times when I really wanted to do something but I couldn’t because an alternative was already established.

The Invasion Universe is rich with lore and characters and settings—far richer than a standalone novel (or even a series) could ever be on its own. It’s been a challenge to create the story I wanted to tell within pre-established constructs, but it was challenging in a fun way. It’s forcing me to flex different writing muscles, which I always enjoy in a project. If you’re interested in seeing how I merged my stories into the existing universe, I invite you to check out all the offerings in the series, and my opening novel, The Gate.

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

About the Author:

Suspense, Passion…Fiction That Flutters The Heart

Troilo Color Photo RT

Romance, Suspense, Paranormal, Mystery, and Mainstream

Quirky fact I don’t want anyone to know:
The socks in my sock drawer and some books on my shelf are arranged in rainbow order.

I grew up knowing family is paramount. I was blessed to spend time with extended family daily, not just on holidays or weekends. Because of those close-knit familial bonds, every day was full of love and laughter, food and fun.

Life has taken me a thousand miles away from that extended family, but those ties remain. And so do the traditions, which I now share with my husband, son, and daughter… even my two dogs. And through my fiction, I share those traditions and the importance of relationships with you. Mystery or suspense, romance or mainstream—in my stories, family is paramount.

To learn more about me, visit me at http://stacitroilo.com or connect with me on social media.

Relevant Links:
Blog | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads | Newsletter
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Here are the rest of the tour stops for you:

41 Comments on “#SomethingWickedTour @StaciTroilo @StoryEmpire

  1. Great to see Staci highlighted here, Harmony. Loved, The Gate! Great read! Looking forward to reading more from her… Have another on my kindle now. 😉

  2. This actually sounds like an interesting way to write. I might like it if I had the time to churn out the books on time. Just don’t have that luxury at the moment. Maybe someday.

    • It’s actually kind of good for people who don’t have much time. The world-building is done for you, so there’s a lot less pre-work to do.

  3. What an interesting blog today, Staci. I’ve never given much thought to shared worlds, but especially with sci-fi, I can see where that would be a plus. Thank you for hosting today, Harmony!

  4. Like Mae, I read a ton of Star Trek novels, and even a few Warhammer books. The idea of writing in a shared environment would drive me over the edge. It isn’t that I couldn’t read to get acquainted, I’d be afraid that someone else was writing something at the same time as me that would make one of us look bad. I’m learning there are smaller issues moving into series work, but they must pale in comparison to the shared environment. I’ve enjoyed our tour, and hope everyone else did too.

    • I’ve had a great tour week, Craig, and also hope all our visitors have too 😊

    • That never happened to me, but something else did. In my first book (not the Astral Conspiracy series, but my cozy mystery with another publisher), my outline was pre-approved. However, a writer who published before me killed two major characters crucial to my storyline. I had to cobble together different story threads to make it work and was not satisfied with the results. I said I’d never do another shared world again, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. So far, there haven’t been too many problems.

      Thanks, Craig.

  5. Not sure if I’d heard of shared worlds before, but then when I read your explanation, it was a “duh” moment for me. You’re right about those fans of popular worlds – they’ll bust you down to a pile of mush. Love that line about your sock drawer and book shelf, Staci!

  6. Staci, this is fascinating. I’ve never heard of shared worlds before. I fully appreciate how writers hone their craft. Thanks so much for sharing.
    And who doesn’t love rainbows? That’s pretty cool. 🙂
    Thanks for hosting, Harmony.
    Cheers to you both! 🙂

    • I first saw this done with Hugh Howey’s Silo series. It’s a lot of stuff you have to remember. Thanks, Natalie 😊

    • It has its challenges, to be sure, but it’s been fun. (Am I talking about shared worlds or sock drawer organization? It’s hard to say.)

      Thanks, Natalie.

    • You’re welcome here anytime, Staci. It’s always a treat having you visit 😊

  7. I have to agree with others. I think it would be difficult writing in a shared world. I’ve read books written with that concept and they worked. Just don’t know if I could do it.

    I’ve enjoyed all your posts this week!

    • It has been difficult in some ways. But I also think it’s had its benefits. It’s certainly been a challenge, and I think I might be a better writer because of it.

      Thanks, Joan.

  8. Fascinating idea, Staci. A shared world which is basically borrowing someone else’s ideas. I don’t think I could do this personally, I am to non-compliant, but I see the value. PS I can’t imagine arranging my socks in any kind of order. My sock drawer is a mess. Maybe you should come over …[giggle]

  9. For me, I think it would be harder writing for a shared world. You’d have to know what every other writer did with it and follow all of the existing rules, boundaries. Not so easy.

    • Yes, I’m doing it in my own fiction, but doing it from a pool of other authors would feel daunting. Thanks, Judi 🙂

    • That’s exactly the challenge, Judi. We have extensive discussions in meetings, shared documents with pages of details, and impromptu Q&A sessions in our Slack channel. So far, I don’t think anyone has gone off-script, so I consider that a win.

  10. I think it would be very challenging to write in a shared universe. I was a reader of the Dragonlance Chronicles back in the day and also read a ton of the original Star Trek novels when multiple authors were exploring that universe. Fan fiction is a bit like this but on a smaller scale.

    A very thought-provoking post, Staci, and a cool way to wind up the tour. I love that you’ve taken on this writing challenge and can’t wait for the next release in your shared universe!

    • I love this post too. I’m using a shared universe for the first time in setting my trilogy in the same planetary system as in Fallout. But I’ve cheated and jumped ahead about 500 years and found new planets, lol! Thanks, Mae 🙂

      • It’s a lot easier when you set all the rules, Harmony. Time jump or not.

        I started a spin-off series that’s a shared universe. Medici Protectorate already exists and I am working on the Nightforce series in the same world. Even with some recurring crossover characters. But it’s my world and I can do what I want. Have fun with yours!

    • Opps, sorry, John! I’ve tried to fix that but I’m stuck, lol. Dang WordPress! 🙂

    • Thanks, John.

      I’m being punished, too, if it makes you feel better. Not only do I always have to fill out the form, I sometimes have to write long, rambling comments just to get her site to accept them. Much like this one!