Discovery, part I

November 28, 2007

I have an idea for a new series.  

I’ve written two books of my current trilogy and will begin the final volume in another couple of months.  But before then I want to have this new project mapped out, so that I can hit the ground running when I’m ready to give it my full attention.  I might even write a few chapters of the first book before I go back to write volume three of Blood of the Southlands.  We’ll see.  I’m a good distance away from that right now.

But today I get to start worldbuilding.  I’ve already done a bunch of this in my mind.  I know a good deal about what the world will look like physically, on a map; I’ve started to think about its politics and religions, it’s economics and its history; its customs and, of course, its magic.  I’ve jotted down notes and started some research.  Before now, though, I’ve done these things on the side, in between more pressing projects and responsibilites.  Now I can concentrate on learning about this new place.

This will probably sound strange, but I feel the way I do before leaving on a trip to somewhere new.  Worldbuilding for me is a process of discovery as much as it is a process of creation.  Just as my characters often surprise me as I write, taking my narrative in directions I hadn’t expected, my fledgling worlds often surprise me as I begin to delve into them.

It’s been a while since I did this last, and I’ve missed it.  I created the Forelands universe nearly seven years ago, and though the Southlands are different from the Forelands, and so demanded that I do some worldbuilding before starting the trilogy, it was still the same universe, the same magic, the same basic rules. 

Today I sit before a blank page.  I can take this world anywhere I want.  

I love this part of my job.

Today’s music:  Jerry Douglas (The Best Kept Secret)


2 Responses to “Discovery, part I”

  1. I’m an aspiring writer myself (same “genre”; I have a hard time accepting a strict classification for any sort of artwork), and I, too, can’t get enough of the planning process. I spent this past summer designing the world for the project I’m currently working on, and it was a great experience. I’m curious as to what programs, aids, tools, etc. you utilize.

    I’ve learned a lot from another writer about this (Holly Lisle), but it’s always nice to learn more ideas for the creative process.

    I also cannot wait for the first Southlands book. I loved the Forelands series. And I anticipate another great read in the Southlands.

    Thanks for the great books and inspiration!

    – Alex

  2. davidbcoe said

    Thanks for the comment, Alex. I have to admit that I use few programs or tools in the creation of my maps for the world’s I create. I use paintshop pro to “draw” my map outline on the screen, mostly because this is the first thing I do and I erase and start over so much that using paper would be wasteful. You certainly wouldn’t have to use paintshop for this — any “art” program or graphics program would work, so long as it has a “paint brush” or “pen” function. After that I print the thing out and use colored pencils for the rest. For me at least, it’s not a technologically intensive process. I don’t play with any of the rendering programs that allow you to make realistic mountains and the like. I’m sure they’d be fun to use, but for me it would be a waste of money and time.

    I have a Ph.D. in environmental history, so I have a pretty good sense of how geological systems work and how maps look. But I still spend a good deal of time looking at real life maps, to make certain that what I’m doing passes the “realism” test.

    Thanks for the kind words about my books, and good luck with your writing and worldbuilding.



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