Monday, September 18, 2017

World building as its own reward.

I love world building. Be it a small town set in a fictitious version of our own, or be it a new world, as I am want to do, I love it.

Why? Because, to me, it's like playing in a room with unlimited toys. I get to set them up, I get to describe them, paint them and shape them. And, if I feel like it, I get to destroy them.

For me it's all of benefit. I love discovering a new place. There are sculptors who say that they do not create the sculpture so much as the reveal what is already there, waiting to be seen by many eyes.

I can believe that. There are natural flaws in stone or wood that will make themselves known to thew careful hand. A shape that comes forth when that flaw is touched in the marble becomes the curve of a neck or the twist of fabric. From this flaw, beauty.

For me writing is much the same. I know what I intend to say, but the words sometimes decide for themselves and it seems that is most often true when a character is suddenly revealed to me or a faction of the world I thought I was designing is unexpectedly changed. Listen, I get it. ALL of what I write is in my head, but my subconscious sometimes likes to surprise me. Sometimes I let thew words come and I get a mess of words that are useless. Sometimes that flaw is there and I can use it, shape it, smooth it into something new and wondrous. I almost always "Pants" my novels. I don't like outlines and only do them when I must and I can basically promise you that whatever I have written down in the outline will look little like what I come up with at the end.

Write, polish, shape, rewrite, edit, expunge and correct. By the time it's done, I'm not looking at a familiar world any longer, even if I thought I was. SERENITY FALLS and SUMMITVILLE exist in the same fictitious reflection of our world, but they are nothing alike.  One is small and insular, and the other is going through massive growing pains when the stories start. I love that. I especially love that I really didn't know that about either o them until they told me.

The Empire ofr Fellein in the SEVEN FORGES books looks nothing at all like the Five Kingdoms in THE TIDES OF WAR. They a e both similar concepts, mock medieval lands in their nature, but Fellein is pristine and clean and healthy and the Five Kingdoms are already depraved and broken and dirty when the story starts.

Fellein has mountains and valleys and clean rivers that curt across the land and leave plenty of room for towns and cities. The Five Kingdoms are covered by deserts and areas that are dangerous and diseased, where if people walk, they are likely to die from the equivalent of radiation poisoning, though there has never been a nuclear anything in that land. In Fellein the gods are distant and have almost faded away (Not so in the lands of the Seven Forges, where the gods have direct conversations with each and every person). In the five Kingdoms the gods are hungry and demand sacrifices and have, on ten seperate occasions punished the foolish mortals who refused to listen.

Just for grins, here's a story about those very gods and their punishments, done for fun. it's called THE SIXTH KINGDOM and is a bit of world building history for the series TIDES OF WAR. 

I have fun building worlds. It's a fascinating part of what makes a fantasy story (or any story) come alive for me.

But because I'm me, I also enjoy kicking down the sandcastles when I'm done creating them.

What can I say? I'm an angry little god. ;)

And yes, both of these covers deal with one small part of the world I built. See the crystals in the mountains and in the cave? They have a backstory, too, and it's integral the the tale I tell.

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