Build a World

Today’s post gets music, enjoy (and put it on repeat while you read this one). As has been mentioned, I’m in progress with edits and rewrites for Drawful, and the big first piece of that is world building. The first few parts of the story, having never been intended to be more than quick spoofing of fairy tale tropes, so there was a joke about Smaug and social media in the first part.

However, as the story built, a world took form. There would be no social media in this world (although there is a Prince with an enchanted tablet that’s essentially a smart phone). What I’m endeavoring to do now is to build that world:

Where does the Alabaster Kingdom sit in that world? What is its history? How do other cultures in the world differ from the Alabaster Kingdom? How do they interact?

I always say to friends about Fantasy/Supernatural/Sci-Fi: if you’re going outside the realm of what’s grounded and real, then have the laws and rules of your universe understood and work within them. Don’t break the rules and upend things just because it’s the only way you can reach the ending you want.

Time travel stories are especially guilty of this: Back to the Future II ends up being the weakest of the trilogy because it completely upends its own rules of time travel that first established and displayed so effectively.

So, I’m starting by asking myself what the laws of my world are first. My answer came pretty quickly with the foundational premise of this new world: magic is a real and repeatable force. It requires study, intelligence, practice and focus, but it is a real and demonstrable science- not a mystic art relegated to eccentrics and shady mystics.

I established the whiff of this notion early on when I introduced Haverly Lockwatch as an educated wizard, and not as an eccentric for his study than a respected and accomplished young man who earns a seat in the King’s cabinet. From a section of Drawful the Awful that I don’t believe will be posted in full on the blog:

Magic, as has been covered in a number of other books, sagas and series you’re very likely familiar with, is more of a science than its name immediately lends credit to. Like any science, it has fixed and immutable laws as well as theorems being studied and tested by experts in the field. Also like science, it is routinely denied with vitriol by morons who ignore all plain evidence to the contrary of its existence.

The “law” is the only the foundation though. From there, I need to consider and build the world and its history through the impact “magic as science” has on developing societies and cultures, history and tradition, even economy and trade. I explained to my illustrator that the society should look pre-industrial, since with magic there is no need for industry or machinery like factories and cars.

If you’ve heard of steampunk, then perhaps it will make sense that what I’m trying to create is a world that can be called “magicpunk.” Wherein society, trade, and culture are shaped by magic being a driving scientific force. How do different cultures leverage that? Train it? Regulate it?

It all begins with a question. Once we have the question, we have a path to walk forward on. You know what comes next:

We move forward.

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