THE LOST SCROLLS
Deep within the crevice of night, there lies a place of naught.
Never seen in standing place, but felt so oft in times of grace
Some would spurn its treasured vaults heeding of the price to pay
Yet I chance to test the fates whose eye of dread I will embrace
-The Evernight approaches. These words no longer spoken and much of its essence lost to us. Fate is no friend I fear; her judgement bleeds us like a scythe. My time is short, but what was once a hope has become our doom. I pray that my words will hold the tide that comes.
Egatnaiht, All Father.
I often see questions about building a world in fantasy adventure stories.
World building can be fun but there are a few things to consider. This is how I built Ellaria.
First,build the skeleton. – What is the basic belief of the people, especially concerning the afterlife? Do they have multiple Gods or one God or something more basic, good vs evil for example? Most cultures revolve around the belief of this. From this you can add the next layer- a Celestial or a fae world, science vs magic. Take into account that magic can be just an explanation of something that is not understood. The belief system often includes the geography of the land. A harsh climate calls for a less forgiving law of the land. So take into account the topography and agricultural layout.
As far as magic is concerned, it can be subtle or a strong force. In The Mists of Avalon, Morgaine gives Lancelot a potion that makes his thoughts fuzzy. The lady who asks Morgaine for her help, is given the same perfume that Guinnevere uses thereby tricking Lancelot into thinking he was with Guinevere. Magic of a kind.
Next comes the organs.- Does your world have stories of heroes in its past? Hercules might have just been a very strong man. Hence a Demi-God. In The Dragonglass Bowl, I have a first king who founded the Dominion of Ellaria hence he depicted to be seven feet in height. I mean, he had to be right to do such a monumental task? Work out the customs of your world. In Ellaria, women are cherished so their chambers are always the most easily defended in a home, in the very center but they are also denied some things because of this coddling. The climate/geography of the country should also be considered here to meld with this level. So, around your basic belief, build your myths and legends. Stories that permeate the world.
Next the muscles. - What does the daily life consist of in your world. I created different groups of soldiers, each for specific purposes. In the Dragonglass Bowl, the Eternals are soldiers given to the temple at birth and raised to only be loyal to the crown. Unlike most Ellarians, who have their family records kept at the temple, Eternals have cut off their family ties. What is their reward for this? They have automatically ensured a place among the heroes upon their death. As a warring country, Ellaria hails their warriors cast. How does your nobility behave? What is the Hierarchy of your world like? Nobility, Armed forces, Temple or Church, Merchant class and lay people, how do they fit in? These are the muscles, doing the heavy lifting in your world.
Now the skin. - What customs do they have? I created a time of introspection called Al Majeid in The Dragonglass Bowl. At the end of this period is a celebration of the New Year. Al Majeid coincides with a hot uncomfortable time, where the rivers dry up and there is nothing much the people can do but wait for the rains to come. With the rain comes the planting season and life picks up again. What customs does your world entertain? Why did they evolve as such? The reasons for mine become apparent in the later books.
The Dress up. - I used stories of strange spirits that pop up here and there. Whispered tales that flirt around the outskirts giving a little treat to my story. Dragons are a legend and hence the very name inspires awe. A gauntlet of sorts, really a poisoned bear claw is called a Dragon’s Claw. These are the spurts of color that can sometimes have a deeper meaning than is first perceived. They can also mimic a subplot.
I used an organic plot based on a body and built my world around that. It helped me fill in the layers of my world. The world you dream up is the canvas for your story. Make it as colorful and vivid as you can, a 3D set for your story.
It's been a long journey getting here. Euphoria and a bout of nerves is how I would describe this moment. Beneath that is a joy that's been hidden. Stories helped me cope with life's ups and downs, like taking a roller-coaster ride into the unknown. An adventure from a padded seat. That's me and I built that into one of my characters. Someone very happy being rooted but ended up being thrown to the winds.
One never knows where life will take us but we can create mental footsteps. So that is what I did. I watched this movie in my head from beginning to end. What a ride. Then I began to sculpt the characters. It took a while but it was fun. I love the old world and I grew up wondering which stories were true and which were made up just so I would behave. Did the people telling those stories believe it? Embellish it? Or joyfully use it to get me to tow the line. I was certain that some of those storytellers were cheerfully laughing on the inside. Those are warm memories for me now and I hope that some of them watching from up above approve of the path I've taken.
Whatever the journey, there is always room for thought. What began as an idle scribble on a piece of paper slowly evolved into a world and questions. Always questions. How did things come to be? Why did things come to be? Questions help, but though you might like to shoot them at times they remain a good check list for me. They helped me structure Ellaria, her past, her secrets and of course what might be.
Thank you for visiting. May your journey be smooth and your joy boundless.